As I type, Tom and I are en route to Camp CUMCITO for a week of fun, sweat and bugs. Camp CUMCITO (City Union Mission’s Camp In The Ozarks) has been operating for 70+ years, taking low income children out of Kansas City for a week of fun in the country. For this year I will be working as chapel assistant. My duties are varied, but consist mainly of helping the chapel teacher for the week in whatever capacity he/she may require. In past years, I’ve done motions for songs, led relay races, helped groups brainstorm word pictures, played an extra in a skit, ran the sound system, made a PowerPoint presentation, and even acted as time-keeper so we wouldn’t run over the session.
This is my sixth year to volunteer at CUMCITO since we moved to Missouri. In previous years I’ve also been craft assistant, craft director, and counselor. The thing I love about camp is that there are positions for everyone interested, from the in-the-trenches, very intense cabin staff to kitchen staff who work hard but have very limited interaction with the campers – and everything in between.
The whole point is the campers.
We are here, all roughly 60 staffers per week, because of the campers. Recognizing how precious each child’s life is, how much of an impact one week of camp experience can have in a person, we willingly, excitedly take a week of our summer to pour in these campers. We pour out our hearts, sharing a love that doesn’t ask for something in return; we pour out patience, helping to teach table manners and hygiene habits that are not often taught at home; we pour out creativity & flexibility, adapting the schedule when it rains or the ovens suddenly stop working; we pour out the gospel, looking for “teachable moments” to share about God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice for us; and we pour out sweat – lots and lots of sweat (we are thankful for both the pool and the lake where campers get plenty of time in the water).
And we pour out fun – there are water fights, s’mores, games, high-energy songs, chances to shaving-cream the counselors, and, the ultimate, Friday night’s carnival including a bounce house and dunk tank.
It is a fun week. It’s also a challenging week. Would you pray for us this week? Here are some things you can pray about:
We will be working hard every day, for long hours. There’s a heat advisory through Friday and we’ll be outside or in un-air conditioned buildings most of the day. The cabins only have attic fans & box fans, so it can be hard to sleep. The kitchen staff has it hard with the additional heat of the ovens or stoves. Pray that there are no serious injuries or illnesses. Sometimes a camper will be home-sick or not want to listen to their counselor. We deal with cultural differences and personality differences, as the cabin staff & campers are with each other for essentially 22 hours each day. Pray that the teacher will speak clearly and be understood (and heard) and then for the cabin staff as they go deeper with the gospel during their cabin devotions. Pray for unity among the staff and campers. Ultimately, pray that God will be glorified by what is said and done this week.