As another year of Camp Hutchison comes to a close, I have taken time to reflect on all that this program has given back to me over the years. Initially, I took advantage of the opportunity to serve as a junior counselor for three summers while I was in high school. This was when I first discovered what a blessing working with the children of Hutchison Elementary really is for me.

Serving in the classrooms with kids who were always excited to learn was my favorite part of every summer. Forming relationships with these incredible students helped me to feel connected to not only my church and community, but also to my faith, as I could see God at work in these children’s lives.

One of the most satisfying moments of this experience was the first time I watched a first grader who had never read in English before begin to truly associate words and letters after three weeks of practicing. Moments like this made me feel so proud of the kids and so glad to be part of a program that has such a great impact on the local community.

After graduating high school I had a busy summer preparing for college, working and saying goodbye to friends. I didn’t take time that summer to volunteer at Camp Hutchison. By September, I noticed that something was missing in my summer. I spent too much time with a negative attitude at work and not enough time around the positive attitudes of the kids that never fail to bring me closer to God.

As I began my first year away at college, I realized that I was aware of more of the negativity in the world around me and felt less connected to God. I was struggling to connect with the good in my life and my community, and it began to feel like the negativity in my life was far more prominent than the good. I realized that I needed to spend my summer in a positive place where I could reconnect with God. So, I applied for the Serve Ministries intern position at Floris UMC.

Interning for Serve Ministries proved to be exactly the opportunity that I needed. Being able to spend my summer coordinating with volunteers and creating the most interactive and exciting camp possible for the children brought a large positive influence back into my life.

The first day of Camp Hutchison 2015 was one of the most stressful days of my life, but the smiles on the kids’ faces and the joy they brought me made my stress and nervousness disappear. I realized that it didn’t matter what I did, because God was in control and was working through these kids.

Now at the close of my second year as a Floris UMC intern, I have a hard time putting into words the changes that these two summers at Camp Hutchison have had on my life. I was able to go into this past school year with a higher appreciation of the little blessings we experience every day in life and focus on the positive things in the world. I feel stronger in my faith and more confident than before, which I attribute directly to the Camp Hutchison students. They remind me every day that God is constantly at work in the world and in the lives of people around us.

Submitted by Mason Dickerson.

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