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Why I Love Young Life Camp


Happy Saturday, my Besties!  I don’t have much time to write, as I’m headed off to lead a cabin of 14 high school girls for a week full of fun, adventure, and amazing conversations.  I just know I’m not going to be posting much in the next few days, and the reason why is too good not to share.  So forgive any typos as I manically tell you three reasons why I love Young Life camp (this will be my 11th time as a leader and my 13th time in total at camp!).  
For those of you who don’t know what Young Life is, you can find out more here.  For me, Young Life was life changing back in high school and instrumental in me making my faith my own.  I’m forever grateful…I guess that’s why they haven’t been able to get rid of me.  I also met my husband in high school and first told him I had a crush on him at a Young Life camp in Virginia.  The rest, as they say, is history.  I guess you could say Young Life changed my life in more ways than one!  
But this trip…this one I’m about to leave on (in just under 2 hours!) is going to be my last.  At least, for the foreseeable future.  My husband and I have been leading in the same high school for 9 years and this trip will be our finale, as we hope to start the foster care process in early 2018.  I guess that’s why I wanted to process through some things before we leave.
There are a zillion reasons to love Young Life, and specifically Young Life camp.  But here are the three that have got me thinking just what an incredible privilege it is to be taking these young ladies to camp for a week.
I’m a better person there.  When I’m at camp, and specifically when I’m hanging out with high school girls, I am just the most alive I can be.  Guys, they are so FUN!  They laugh, they play, they confide, they share, they are so INTERESTING.  And for some reason, they like me!  They tell me their stuff.  I get to be with them and hear their lives and sit with them when things are going well and when they’re not.  It’s an honor I do not take lightly.  I get to do crazy things with them at camp, like obstacle courses and dance parties and flash mobs and family style dinners and GOSH. It’s a blast.  I love who I am at Young Life camp.  I know I’m not alone when I say I wish I could bottle it up and bring it home and be that person 100% of the time.  The freedom I feel there is exactly the freedom I felt there as a high school camper way back when.  It’s the freedom you experience when you look around and think, “This.  This is how life was meant to be lived.”
Trust comes so easily to me at Young Life camp.  For some reason, I find it way easier to trust that things are working out the way they are supposed to at camp.  Even when things go wrong or bad things happen (yes, they do…it’s not a utopia, but it’s pretty darn close!), I find myself able to have a quiet peace that, again, I wish was my first response to life as it happens the other 51 weeks of the year.  Perhaps it’s the beautiful setting, or maybe the lack of cell phone service.  But probably, it’s that I just feel so close to God there because He has given me a front row seat to witness miracles for a week.  
Lives change at Young Life camp.  Plain and simple, people walk away different after Young Life camp.  Different, in the best way possible.  Every single year that I have brought kids home from camp, parents say things like “Wow, Jody won’t stop talking about camp!  She said it really was the best week of her life!”  and “Mark helped me with the dishes last night!” and “I can’t put my finger on it, but something amazing happened to my kid when they were at camp!”  No joke.  Lives really do change.  Campers, leaders, everrrryone.  Because for a week, people are so loved, so blissfully cared for, so immersed in freedom, so challenged to grow that they can’t help but change for the better afterwards.  
This may all sound super cray to you if you aren’t familiar with Young Life, but at the risk of that, I just had to share my thoughts.  Because it’s not easy for me to leave my kiddos for the week, it’s not easy to sleep on a bed on the floor in a room of 14 young ladies (I mean, I love them, but duuuude, they stay up late!).  It’s not easy to do these things, but it is a privilege.  It’s so much more than worth it.  I’m so excited for what is about to happen for me and these girls that I just couldn’t keep it to myself.  
If you’re a pray-er, would you mind remembering us in your prayers this week?  I’d be so grateful.  
And thanks for listening to a little piece of my heart.  You guys are the best.  Love you lots and see you soon…when I am recovered from a week of no sleep! 😉

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