I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9

Every Sunday we welcome a new batch of campers to camp. Campers who are seasoned pros, waiting to to see their best buds, as well as brand new campers who are filled with awestruck wonder at what the week may hold. Whether it be the first time or the the umptieth time they have been at camp, leaving home for a week is an act of bravery.

A favorite responsibility of mine, is sitting at the registration table each week, and welcoming the campers. I love having the opportunity to welcome back campers from years previous, and to be there to provide positive reassurance to the new campers who may be apprehensive about their new environment.

One of the first things you learn while working at a camp, is how important it is to be welcoming and inclusive. The need to bring everyone together is so important, just as it is important to beware of any campers and staff on the peripheral who need to be brought in. This is a key factor that we focus on during staff training, and we try and live that out while welcoming summer staff, retreat guests, and of course our own campers weekly. We see this as our duty to the campers, and we try to ensure that at the weeks end, they feel as though they have a new home away from home. In the book of Joshua, the Lord commanded Joshua to be strong, and reminded him that wherever he goes the Lord is with him. While, campers going away for the week is not going into battle, it does require them to be strong and courageous. As a staff, it is our job to recognize that bravery does not always come with fearlessness, but instead it is courage in the face of fear! The most awesome thing of all, is that God is with us on all of our adventures. 

This mindset does not only apply to our campers, it also can apply to each and everyone of us every single day. In our daily life, how can we be strong and courageous? If we recognize that we are never truly alone and we do not have to fear rejection, how can we step outside our own comfort zone?Is there something that you have always wanted to do, but doubted your ability to do so? I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and do something courageous for yourself or for others, with the Lord by your side, nothing is out of reach.

Kathryn Schaefer

VLM Alumni 2013 and 2014