Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), there were never many young people in my local congregation. It has been my desire to create comradeship with my fellow young, like-minded Christians, supporting each other down this narrow path of life. Being a recent college graduate, I took it upon myself to venture off to the U.S., seeking my own 2018 adventure at Camp Cotubic. Right before my camp journey even began, doubt crept into my mind. Not knowing anyone at camp even as a young adult can be daunting. Also, leaving your home, whether it’s your state or country, can be intimidating as it forces you to move outside your comfort zone.
Questions arose in my mind about not fitting in, not knowing anyone and whether I could even perform the staff duties well. Soon I realized that these kinds of thoughts of hesitation were not of God’s will but that of the enemy. The focus of camp has always been to build love, joy and peace with God and your fellow brethren. Yet Satan can twist the goodness of an amazing opportunity into something negative. From there on, I made a more active effort to keep my mind focused on scriptures like Matthew 5:14-16 about being a light. Dwelling on being a light reminded me that our service like volunteering at camp should not be hidden under a basket but is in fact a real calling for each of us to do our part and share our talents. Beaming with an attitude of willingness to assist the youth of the Church is a chance I could not refuse.
So how was camp for me? One word: Awesome! The Cotubic campground was absolutely gorgeous with its expansive green landscape, the glassy lake and cozy sleeping quarters. Working with Mitch Moss on the team-building committee was a wonderful experience that involved planning activities centered on teamwork. My job at camp allowed us to showcase the importance of building trust among campers, strengthening their relationships with God and their teammates during and post-camp.
I also learned that being vulnerable has value as opposed to being harmful. Compass Check sessions evolved into precious moments where both staff and campers let down their barriers, insecurities and fears among each other, building up strength and encouragement rather than emphasizing the weaknesses of one’s struggle. Furthermore, I cannot believe I even stressed about whether I would make any friends because it turned out that this was the easiest part of camp. There was a diverse mix of individuals across the U.S., as well as individuals coming from across the world such as South Africa, Philippines, Brazil and Mexico.
The main lesson I learned from camp is to put the opportunity to serve others above my personal desires and to throw out discouraging thoughts that can separate you from God’s will for your life. How amazing is it that God challenges us to go beyond the horizon and explore unknown opportunities! Spiritual growth and the development of amazing friendships would not have happened if God had not moved me to attend Camp Cotubic in 2018.
I would urge any young person who is thinking about going to camp in 2019, and has the means to go, to just do it!