Friday, April 15, 2011

A timt for change: Part II

In January I began to explain what this next season of change is going to look like.  You can read that blog by clicking here.  For a few reasons, I wasn't able to fully write out the entire change that is happening.  But I feel like now is a good a time as any to do so.

When I first came to West Chester University I became friends with Chris Mullen who was an RA on the floor above me.  We got to know each other first through RHA (residence Hall Association) and then through the Friars' Society.  One night during an RHA meeting he asked me if I liked camping.  Yeah, I like camping.  It's fun.  I enjoy it.  So, he convinced me to take a job at this camp he was involved in called Haycock Camping Ministries.  I checked the place out when a few of us from the Friars' went to volunteer for a work day.  I thought it was pretty cool so I applied.  Finals ended and I found myself back at home.  Anyone who has been through freshman year of college can probably relate when I say that that first extended break back home (usually Christmas) can really be tough.  I was no exception.  I really didn't want to stay at home all summer.  I craved more of that freedom I was experiencing at college.  But, I hadn't heard from camp.  So I did the next natural thing.  I answered some junk mail and took a job working for Cutco selling kitchen cutlery!  I made it through the training and managed one sale.  To my mom.  And by that I mean that I bought her a set.  It's safe to say that this was not the job for me.  Thankfully, around that time the current director Greg Rudder and program director Chris Hendrickson called me and set up an interview.  Good thing too, because selling knives was not going to work out for me.  A few months ago Chris had shared with me that he and Greg didn't think that I would last at camp more than 1 summer.  But, I did.  And a few summers later I was running the summer program during a transition time as Greg was leaving.  That summer Chris also decided to move on from camp.  Chris' job was split between myself and another guy, Will.  I took that fall semester off of school and took classes while working there weekends in the spring.  By May, I had realized that it was also my time to move on.  Now, to be fair, a lot of things had happened.  But the number one thing was that I was pretty full of myself.  I was about as prideful as can be.  And I was sure to let people know my accomplishments as fast as I was to let them know of others' shortcomings.  I had allowed an atmosphere of gossip and disrespect at camp.  Still, at the time I couldn't see any of that.  So when I left camp I thought that I would never step foot back there again and I came back to WC and began working full time at my current job.

A few months later, Chris had returned and was now the camp director.  I was sitting in Blacksburg, VA at VTech doing a buyback when Chris called me out of the blue one winter to get together.  I figured, okay, why not.  We were pretty good friends.  Little by little I was finding myself back at camp.  Then I was helping with weekend rentals.  While I took the Elijah House course I started to see a lot more clearly what had led to me leaving camp that year.  And I took the necessary steps to med relationships.  And I really believe that that has been honored.  By last summer I had the chance to lead some staff devotional times and I got to know a few of the new summer staff.  And I was so blessed to be around them!

All of that back story to share this.  When I got back from Kenya in October, I met Chris for dinner.  I shared how I really want to go back for much longer.  And that to do so I would probably need to quit my job.  Chris looked at me and asked if I could leave work in May, run the camp program and go to Kenya in the fall.  I thought he was kidding.  He apparently was not.  On June 1st, I will be moving back to camp as the summer program director!  I am really looking forward to this in a brand new way.  It is such an awesome opportunity that I never thought I would get again.  I feel so much more prepared now to lead in a more mature manner.  I look forward to having the chance to mentor and disciple the staff this summer.  I feel like this is a 2nd chance for me and I am not taking that lightly.  Sometimes it doesn't feel real, but it is.  And I am beyond excited.

In addition to running a summer camp program, this summer will be a time of preparation as well.  It will be a slower, less stressed way of life as I prepare my heart for what awaits me in Kenya.  There will be times of great fellowship as well as times of needed solitude.  The next few months are going to be very busy as I leave my WC on May 31st and start camp on June 1.  I end camp at the end of August and get right on a plane to Kenya.  Yet I feel like this busyness will be accompanied by times of rest and peace.  And I can't wait!

So, if anyone is looking to hang out over the summer, you can find me in Bucks County at Haycock Camping Ministries!  I will not have my cell phone, but you will be able to reach me via email at raydsmith84@gmail.com.


As of today, I have 6 weeks left until this adventure begins!

No comments:

Post a Comment