Summer Staff Training Recap: Serving with Grace, Humility, Persistence and Excellence

“Our mission as the Delanco Camp Summer Staff team is to be servants in order to further the Kingdom and for all to experience God’s love by exemplifying unity, humility, persistence and grace.”

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a few days bonding, training, and fellowshipping with an incredible group of people who will be serving as the summer staff this season at Delanco Camp. And after this weekend, I can honestly say that we’re going to have a wonderful summer here on the grounds!

Staff Group

Friday was probably my favorite night of the training weekend. As a group, we sat around the retreat center and answered some questions about how camp fits into our lives: What was our first experience on the grounds of Delanco? What is your favorite memory? How long have you been coming to camp? What was the most impactful experience you’ve had here? How have you served at Delanco in the past? The coolest part was seeing that many of us have had similar experiences: coming to the grounds for the first time as a young kid while your Mom was serving as the craft lady, how some of the most impactful moments from camp happened while serving as counselors, and even sharing that our favorite memories happened while previously serving on summer staff. That night, I truly felt the spirit of camp in each of the answers that I heard: Delanco Camp changes lives.

One of the things we talked about on Saturday morning in one of our devotion times is the importance of unity, especially when it comes to serving on summer staff here at camp. We looked at the story of the Tower of Babel from Genesis 11. The story goes that the people were building a great city, and decided to construct a tower that could reach the heavens. To accomplish that goal, they worked together to create the materials themselves by baking bricks. Basically, the people had their own plan that they were working towards. And everyone knows how the story ends: God confuses their language so they could not understand each other and the project was left unfinished. As a staff, we may be united in a common goal, but without doing it for the glory of God, we are going to get nowhere. Having been on summer staff in the past, I know firsthand that this is the key to a great summer.

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Each of the members of this group come from different camp experiences: some of us are summer staff veterans, others served as counselors, maintenance, kitchen and other weekly staff roles before deciding to apply for staff. But as I looked around at the people around me on Sunday morning, I saw friendships continuing to grow and a unified team coming together for a common purpose of serving Delanco Camp this summer with grace, persistence, humility and excellence. Now, this is my fourth summer here at Delanco Camp, I can say that this year, we truly have a special group of young adults serving at Delanco this season, and I already feel blessed to be working alongside them!

Summer staff aims to ‘show the love, grace and excellence of Jesus’

Photo taken by Rachel Goss

Last weekend, Delanco Camp Summer Staff 2014 gathered at Lake Agape for staff training weekend. Our time began with icebreaker and “get to know you” games and quickly turned into an intense game of cards and much laughter. Saturday morning we began our day with prayer, which will be continued throughout the entire summer each morning. Starting the day before the Lord was a great reminder of why we are spending our summer at camp and set our eyes upward.

Saturday afternoon was full of staff devotions, the challenge course, and more staff bonding. Each day we gathered together and did devotions and dug deeper into why we are here and how we can work together as a team to perform our work duties with grace and excellence. In one of our last devotion times together, as a staff, we came up with a mission statement for the summer:

To show the love, grace and excellence of Jesus Christ through our actions to all who enter the grounds.”

The mission statement will be hung in various locations as a constant reminder of the goals we set during our training weekend.

We ventured off to the challenge course to further our training in teamwork and communication by working through the different obstacles and overcoming “handicaps” for failing challenges. We started the course with the all-to-familiar, trust fall. If you’re anything like me, your heart starts pounding at the mere thought of doing a trust fall and you instantly become short of breath. But nevertheless, each person climbed to the platform and fell backward into the arms of their fellow staff members. Next we went to the balance beam, where we had to rearrange ourselves oldest-youngest without stepping or falling off the beam. If one foot touched the ground, that person could not speak for the rest of the challenge. Those were two of the many challenges we faced, but through each activity, we learned to better communicate together and trust one another.

One of my personal favorite moments of the weekend was the prayer walk we went on Saturday afternoon. We dispersed all over camp and spent an hour praying for the summer, things going on in our personal lives, and whatever else the Lord placed on our hearts. This time spent in prayer proved to be quite powerful and was a simple foreshadow to the weeks ahead of weekly camps.

Our time together was incredible and filled with making memories, building friendship, growing closer together as a group, closer to God, and praying over this upcoming camp season. It would be an understatement to say we are all very excited for what the Lord has in store for camp this year and we cannot wait to see you there!

16 Reasons to Serve on Summer Staff

1) “Learning how to serve the Lord by serving others. Also, driving the truck!” – Rachel Goss, volunteer coordinator 2012 – 2013

2) “Being able to experience every single week of camp and the different groups of people who come along with them!” – Kaitlyn (Farrow) Dugan, kitchen staff 2009 – 2011

3) “Being around so many people with different life experience and their own unique relationship with Christ. Raking the lake is pretty fun too.” – Sarah Workman, maintenance 2011

4) “Committing to a service position at Delanco allows for a process of deep reflection and understanding. You become open and vulnerable to recognizing your purpose and the plan that God has in motion. You are filled with fellowship and God’s word not only daily but hour by hour. You gain an incredibly special sense of calling and community. And pretzel roll sandwiches.” – Bryanna Gederberg, kitchen staff 2006

5) “Forging friendships through acts service, ridiculous amounts of fun, and worship & Scripture daily!” – Sarah (Powell) Lee, lifeguard and outside roamer 2001 – 2005

6) “It’s an unforgettable experience. serving the Lord all summer at a camp in the middle of the Pine Barrens. Along with serving campers, staff, and parents who come and go every week for multiple weeks – you meet a lot of new people, hear different stories, learn new things, grow stronger in your faith, and you will not regret it.” – Andrew “Turtle” Robertson, kitchen and storekeeper 2006 – 2008, 2010, 2011

7) “Because some wise woman once said that sand is a natural exfoliator. So you get a pedicure all summer long!” – Sarah (Goss) Velazquez, assistant cook 2011

8)”Weekly pretzel roll sandwiches!” – CJ Caufield, wrangler 1988 – 1993

n1339650089_30003585_19169) “I always enjoyed the variety of worship services throughout the summer. It was amazing to see jr. campers jumping up and down to praise The Lord, teen campers raising their hands in worship, and everything in between.” – Becky (Jones) Wrentzel, kitchen staff 2002, 2005 – 2008

10) “It’s very challenging, and extremely rewarding, to be part of the team that does the behind the scenes work so students can hear God speaking to their hearts. On top of that, it’s so much fun getting to meet a bunch of great people and lifelong friends.” – Kevin Strauch, assistant cook 2010

11) “Being at camp all summer is a sure-fire way to hear from God. You (also) get to make lifelong friends that you otherwise wouldn’t have had.” – Dave Hallahan, outside supervisor 2010

12) “The ability to serve the Lord while being surrounded by like minded individuals who will strengthen and encourage you in your walk with Jesus. It’s a great experience. One that I will always treasure.” – Kevin Wolf, maintenance, outside roamer, 2005-2007, 2009, 2011

n747388453_541841_284813) “Unforgettable experiences, lifetime friendships. Challenging yet rewarding work” – Carlton Bodine III, storekeeper 2006

14) Being able to wake up each day and experience God’s love and grace in completely different ways. And to witness how he touches every heart without discriminating! – Colleen “Mama” McCullough, head cook 2010-2012

15) “Being stretched spiritually and physically more than you thought possible and finding God to be the most faithful provider and sustainer through it all.” – Jennifer (Tucker) Nieves, storekeeper, maintenance, lifeguard, wrangler 1995 – 2000

16) “Being apart of a community of people whose sole purpose is to serve the Lord, and building life long relationships with them. Weekly pretzel sandwiches are a bonus too.” – LeeAnn Dobbs, kitchen staff, 2011

Follow this link to download the application and enjoy pretzel roll sandwiches (and the community) all summer long!