This was Day Camp 2011. I was a senior counselor at the time, playing in the sand with campers, fellow counselors, and volunteers. I had a tough job, being a second year senior counselor with a group of about 25 seventh and eighth graders. I worked with a co-senior who was very patient with me and did exceptionally well in the areas that I was weak in.
This summer at Day Camp 2014, I’m a director, and my co-director is still very patient with me and doing exceptionally well in the areas that I am still weak in. As first year directors with 24 counselors and 62 campers to look after, we definitely feel the pressure. Liability issues have been emphasized more than ever, and during staff meetings, I just feel like I’m pounding in so many rules and structural components to these middle and high school students who have graciously volunteered their summer to work with kids. I need to get this done this way or I won’t be seen as a good director, I think to myself. Why can’t these kids just pay attention/listen to me for two seconds?
As a director, I’m thinking about so many things that need to get done, things that need to be planned, things that just need to work for the camp to function. But how often am I thinking about the wellbeing of my counselors and staff? How often am I really encouraging them and congratulating them on a job well done? How often am I telling the kids how much I love their handwriting, their love for art, their youthful spirit, their endless hours of energy, their boundless joy, their eloquent words, their impeccable manners, etc.?
How often am I doing, and how often am I loving?
I don’t want to be just another ruthless, all-work-no-fun kind of leader. But my mentality to “get things done” and “do things right” tend to overpower my desire to see my staff grow, flourish, thrive, and feel reassured and loved.
Why do I constantly resort to my Martha when I should follow my Mary?
As I reflect at the end of Week 3, I’m hoping to make a change in the last 3 weeks. God, teach me to love first and do second. Teach me to love the people I’m working with, love the kids I’m caring for, love the opportunities you’ve given me as director, before I think about what to do FOR you, FOR my counselors, FOR my campers.
1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.