When I returned to the Serve Ministry Camp Hutchison Internship this summer, I did not expect many surprises. I spent almost four months last summer with an incredible group of people helping to run an enriching and inspiring program for rising first through third graders at Hutchison Elementary School in Herndon, VA. I was confident that with my fellow interns and the wonderful volunteers we would be able to put on a great camp once again. I did not foresee any surprises, but then his application came in.
A teenager in the Floris community interested in being a Junior Counselor for almost all of Camp Hutchison wrote a few short sentences in his application that blew me away. When asked why he was interested in being a Camp Hutchison Volunteer, he said that he hoped “to yet again be a leader to these kids, give them someone stable to trust and look up to for the duration of camp and give these kids something to look forward to and aspire to be so that they may excel past the standards set for them.” I read and re-read his application, letting his words sink in. Here was a high school student who just got it.
He got the fundamental message behind why we do Camp Hutchison every year: to provide these students with a safe place for a month of the summer, to help them continue learning even when class is not in session, and to follow through on Jesus’s call to love one another, especially focusing on children and the vulnerable.
I think about this student’s words as I plan for Camp Hutchison. This year, about 70% of our volunteers are returning from last year. This is the highest percentage of returning volunteers ever for Camp Hutchison and I am so grateful for the passion and commitment that drive each of our volunteers.
I know the feeling this student is talking about, the feeling of fulfilling something within ourselves and within our faith, that might not be tangible, but is seen in every smile of kids arriving everyday and heard when they say they never want Camp Hutchison to end. The first day of Camp is right around the corner, and I cannot wait for it to start.