Being on staff at Camp Cedarbrook will change your life. These words I don’t say lightly.
I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t worked at camp for five summers in my late teens and early twenties. It was a time of becoming an adult and finding myself. Being surrounded by such strong and inspirational Christian women was the best thing that could have happened to me. And I’m about to fill you in on some of the other highlights, and some of the tougher parts, too.
It’s not always going to be laughter and singing and campers telling you how cool you are. But there will be plenty of that, too. I promise. Singing a camp song at the top of your lungs in the middle of the dining hall is a pure kind of joy that I’ve never experienced anywhere else.
You will meet so many fun and interesting people, campers and staff members alike, whose stories will open your eyes while simultaneously breaking and encouraging your hear
You will see the biggest smiles you’ve ever seen in your life when a camper finally accomplishes a challenge in high ropes or successfully rights her sailboat.
The campers are my sisters. I have always looked at them that way, and it makes it so special when they open up to me or when I get to see them succeed. I can
feel my heart swelling just thinking about them.
Another amazing thing about being on staff was the Christ-centeredness. Being in an environment where everyone was a follower of Christ was a new experience for me. I grew up going to public school and moving from church to church, so the idea of community was not something I was used to. Everything we do at camp is saturated with love and grace. It was at camp that I overcame my fear of praying aloud. Now, as a nurse for a faith-based organization, I can fearlessly ask my patients and their families if they want me to pray with them.
Now, for some of the less glamorous aspects:
- As a staff member, you will grow in time management, waking up early, and multi-tasking.
- You’ll learn the bare minimum amount of sleep you need to function. You will, probably, get hurt at some point – whether it’s a bruise from a kayak or a miscommunication with your peers.
- You’ll have to build a lot of fires, kill bugs, and swim in a lake where the color isn’t as crystal clear as the postcards make it seem.
- On some rainy days, you’ll feel like you don’t own a single piece of dry clothing.
- Your new perfume will be a mix of smoke, sweat, and lake water.
You may feel like a different person when you’re up there in the woods. That’s okay! I certainly did. In the real world:
- I won’t go outside if my clothes don’t match
- I have to shower every night before bed
- I’m pretty “indoorsy”
- You can find me at Sephora
But at camp…
- No one matches every day. Only crazy people match every day.
- Sometimes, I’m too tired to shower (okay, pretty frequently).
- Your life is outdoors. Even when you’re inside, you feel like you’re outside.
- Makeup? Nah, man. I just rolled out of bed and put on a hat. I need as much sleep as I can get.
Finding a new routine isn’t easy, but you have a great team around you. Lean on them, trust them, talk to them. Everyone around you will have a different hot take on the same situation, but they’ll all be striving for the same goal: to show the campers the love of Christ. Over the long summer weeks, you become each other’s confidantes, comic relief, shoulder to cry on, and family. We were built to live in community, and being on staff at camp is one of the best examples I could ever dream up.
Sarah “Skipper” Frueh is a life-long camp girl. Born and raised in New Jersey, she’s an avid lover of the Jersey Shore and good bagels. Currently, she’s living in Dayton, Ohio, working as an ICU nurse. While she’s not at work, she likes to drink lots of coffee and work on her New Year’s Resolution of reading 50 books this year. At camp, she started as a Camper in Leadership Training in 2012 and served as a Junior Counselor in the Pathfinder & Trailblazer divisions in 2013. She was a Challenger counselor for two years and loved every minute of it, enough to be the Challenger Division director for another two summers. She has also served as the sailing specialist and would spend absolutely all of her time off on the sailing dock…if only we were allowed to sleep out there.