This past Saturday, fellow summer staffer, Luke Anderson, and I drove back home to Indianapolis, officially closing out our time as summer staffers this season. Between belting Taylor Swift and queuing up exceptionally sad songs to match our moods, we reflected on the summer. We discussed the hard parts, the good parts, the memorable parts, and the parts we could have changed. We talked about how summer staff has changed through the years and where summer staff is going currently. As we barrelled through the bland landscape of northern Indiana, Luke asked, “Why is it that staffers keep running back to camp?”
Working on staff at Camp is the best kind of busy you can be. There are very few places in which you can wake up each morning after an 18+ hour work day and be ready to do it all again. Sometimes one day feels like a week, yet each week somehow feels like a day. And that is fullness. It is our job as staff to empty ourselves for those we serve and in that we are filled. Each minute of every day at Camp is chock-full of opportunities. Opportunities to challenge ourselves, to connect with others, to see or hear God, and ultimately, to grow. Somehow, by the grace of God, we are sustained and strengthened to continue emptying ourselves. As a long-time camper, God often spoke to me in the stillness of Arcadia. But in my past few summers as a staffer, He has shown me that He speaks just as loudly through other people. The genuine relationships that are formed and the small moments of connection that each day is filled with are also what refill my spirit. That fullness is what keeps me running back to serving at Camp.
The way we live at Camp – taking hold of every opportunity from the minute we wake up to the minute we ‘get to be horizontal,’ as another fellow summer staffer, Emma Giger, often says – can be extended past the context of summer staff. What if we were intentional about filling every day of our lives with as much goodness as we are at Camp? What if we loved others the way we do at Camp – by constantly seeking deeper relationships because our time together is fleeting? The draw of summer staff is that it shows us a different way to live. It shows us how to live out our faith in service to others, and that satisfies our souls because it is what we are called to do.
– Kayla Nelsen, 2023 Summer Staffer
Check out the video below for a sneak peek into what a day looks like for staffers Kayla, Elyssa, and Luke!