So I spent two weeks at CYC again this year. Living, learning, growing with 45 teenagers who chose to come to us and the 43 staff who gathered to serve and guide them. Yes, we had an almost 1:1 ratio – counting spouses it was 1:1 plus 1. Part of the reason for that is that we were ready for more students and didn’t want to ask anyone to stay away. Also, thirteen of those staff were “in-training” and one was a support person for another staff member. But we do like a high staff to camper ratio. It helps us give the kids a really good experience and any support they need.
CYC was wonderful this year, as usual. Together, we faced challenges – our chaplain’s serious health concerns that kept him away at the last minute, our low numbers, constant rain for days. We enjoyed each other, cared for each other and grew closer to Jesus.
I had a great time, but God seemed to work with me differently this time around.
Usually I arrive in Ocean Park with a text for my graduation speech. Nothing came to me this year. Before I could get to that, I had to lead the Communion campfire. I usually have an idea for that early, too, but nothing. Finally, as the wood was being prepared, it popped into my head that I should talk about my first face to face encounter with one of my faculty members. I mentioned this to the counselor who was setting up the fire and he said, “Sounds like divine inspiration to me.” So off I went to the faculty member who thought it was fine and prayed with me. I told that story, even starting a song, an activity that is outside my comfort zone. I got good feedback on that. For most of that fire, the students share their own stories and that portion also went well.
I suppose at that point I should have relaxed about Graduation and figured that God would give me what I needed when I needed it. But I still didn’t have any clue what I was talking about. No text. Usually, I am working on the speech last minute but have an outline long before. Finally, I remembered a story about a young alum and myself that had been bouncing around in my head. I told a faculty member – a pastor-- that was all I had and she said, “That’s fine, start there. It’ll work because it’s about staying in touch.” And she was right. The rest of the speech, and even a text, came to me just in time. I doubt it was a perfect speech and it was certainly short, but it was good enough.
As I said, living, learning and growing with the campers and staff. I have been doing it for 33 years and I’m not tired of it yet.
Do you have a story to tell about a community you are part of?