Why I Work at Camp
By Julia Erickson
I experienced camp for the first time as a staff member at age 17. I had heard stories of the adventures and life-changing experiences that happen at camp from people who had worked at InterVarsity Circle Square Ranch Wolf Creek. But what surprised me was how quickly I was welcomed as a member of the team and entrusted with responsibility. These are just some of the reasons why I have spent the past five summers at camp.
Connections Last Past Camp
The connections created through camp impact individuals beyond their time there. For me personally, my two closest friends remain people that I have met at camp. I would be a different person without their support in my life. I know someone who became connected with an InterVarsity campus group through working at camp. So, when they started university in a new city, they already had several people who they could call friends. This connection has provided them with a helping community in a time that could be very isolating.
Playing a small part in the physical, spiritual and mental growth of others is the biggest reason why I have kept coming back to camp each summer. As a Program Director at Circle Square Ranch, I’ve had the privilege of watching both children and staff become more confident and competent, especially in their interpersonal skills. The support that camp staff provide to each other and to campers gives everyone the strength and ability to step out of their limiting comfort zones. Time and time again, campers face their fears and win. And all the while, they become stronger individuals.
Leaders Who Are Self-Aware
Until I worked at Circle Square Ranch, I did not know that I could develop so many skills and establish such deep relationships in so little time. Through so many wonderful opportunities, I have learned how to be flexible and how to improvise in tricky situations. My confidence, as it has with so many who work at Circle Square Ranch, has grown alongside my communication and problem-solving skills. As an aspiring social worker, I am learning the value of these abilities and am extremely thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had to strengthen them.
At Camp, Kids Experience God
Numerous children have told me that they see camp as a place of consistency in their life. To them, it is a place where they are welcome, loved and safe from the chaos of the world around them. I have seen children experience God in ways that are personal, simple and impacting. I personally have learned more of who God is through the other staff members, the time we set aside for prayer and sharing testimonies, and the moments when he’s made his presence known in tangible ways. Ultimately, camp has taught me what it truly means to trust my Creator.
Serving a Greater Purpose
Volunteering at the Ranch isn’t always a breeze. It can be exhausting sometimes, but it is so worth it! I do need to say it is FUN, FUN, FUN, and I love it! Every little task serves a greater purpose of personal development or team building in one way or another. If you are on the fence about whether you should work at camp this summer or not, DO IT. There is a space for you. All you need to make a difference this summer in a child or youth’s life is to be present and willing. I chose to work at camp and it has changed my life.
Staff like Julia are getting ready to welcome thousands of campers to Pioneer Camps & Circle Square Ranches across Canada. We need more staff like Julia to help give children the chance to develop lifelong skills, make connections that go beyond their week at camp, and discover Jesus in real and impactful ways.
To find out more about volunteering at summer camp 2020, please click here.
Julia Erickson is a former camp counselor and program director. She works with pre-schoolers as the children’s coordinator at her church and is currently studying social work in Saskatoon, SK. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, walking with her dog, crocheting, drinking tea, and swing dancing. She may be 21, but her hobbies reveal that her inner granny is strong.