Camp Wrap Up

We had an amazing week at camp.  There were three main things that I feel I need to share with my church family about this week.  The first is an opportunity to brag on the leaders who went with me.  First of all, you have the people who do everything in their power to make me look good, a very full time job.  Amy and Dawn have been with me every step of my journey here at NorthRidge.  At camp, they handled every detail, and gave me insight on how to be efficient.  They also provided snacks and comfort to everyone who went to camp.  They also had some amazing conversations with some of our ladies that I would not have been able to have.  Pastor David has gone with us the last three years, and I value his leadership and friendship.  He was there for all our kids, and he was there for me when things got tough for me during the week.  I also should brag on my two youngest leaders.  Alyssa has been going with us since my first year, and has been a leader since last year.  This year, she stepped up and made some great connections with our students.  I observed her praying with kids and having some great conversations.  She took our middle school kids under her wing and made camp enjoyable for her.  Cameron was a first-year leader, as well as camper.  Even with the steep learning curve that comes with being a first-year leader, Cameron stepped up and helped me out in some amazing ways.  He made connections and really showed that he cared about them.  Also, he climbed the mountain every day so I didn’t have to, something that my legs and I will be forever grateful.

            The conversations that were had a camp this year were powerful.  One night, we had the chance to talk about our fears.  As the evening went on, we began to realize that we all had the same fears.  This proved to be very valuable.  Our students saw that they were not going to have to go through stuff alone and that they had people who are dealing with what they were dealing with, we were able to have some genuine and heart-felt conversations the rest of the week.  As a youth pastor, one of the greatest joys I have is when a student’s peers can do the job that I usually have to do.  These kids began to be a family again, which made me very happy when I needed it the most.

            Finally, I need to brag on the 25  people that came to camp with me.  Half-way through the week, I received a call from my dad saying that my mom was going to the hospital.  The night before camp, he called again to say things had gotten worse.  Then, as we were riding home on the bus, my dad called me to say that my mom was in a medically induced coma, and that things were not looking good.  My students pulled together and prayed for me.  All of them, and I mean all of them, came up to me individually to let me know that if I ever needed anything, that they were there for me.  My leaders hugged me and prayed for me.  They offered to take me to an airport or do whatever else they could do.  While I wanted to be with my dad and my mom, since I couldn’t, I could not imagine spending this tough time with a better group of people, people who really love and care about me. 

            This was the most painful, and yet most rewarding week of camp I have ever had.  I love that our group feels like a family, and based off of the love that I saw and felt, I really believe that our kids will continue to demonstrate this love as they go back to their homes and schools.

Pastor Derrick