Family Affair: Father and Sons as Camp Counselors

Last summer I worked for a week at BBC as a counselor. As a parent of three sons who have loved camp for a decade, I was excited to stick around past drop-off and get an insider’s look. When I arrived on Sunday afternoon Meatball handed me a grey staff shirt. The shirt had the summer’s theme – TOGETHER – written in block letters on the front. It has since become my favorite t-shirt because of the great memories connected to it, and also because that word “together”, says so much about what makes BBC special.

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Even before the campers arrived that day, I saw the staff intentionally cultivate togetherness amongst themselves. The final thing they do to prepare for campers is what they call “Prayer Hike”, in which they walk silently as a group to all of the cabins. They stop at each one and say personalized prayers for the cabin’s counselors. This togetherness amongst the counselors continues throughout the week. They have regular, brief staff meetings that are light on agenda, and heavy on affirmation. Every staff member I worked with that week was a tremendously talented and loving individual, and the extra steps they took to work and love together helped them serve the campers even better.

I also watched campers spontaneously come together to help each other and have more fun. At every chance they got, they ran to the gaga pit where there were always campers encouraging others to jump in and play. One night at Fireside, while singing songs after dinner, a few campers swung their arms around each others’ shoulders and swayed back and forth while they sang. It wasn’t long before every camper had their arms around another’s shoulders.

All this togetherness at camp is only possible because camp does it all together with God. The Gospel tells us, “Without me you can do nothing.” The Gospel tells us we have to – and get to – do everything together with God. Whenever I put on my favorite shirt, I think of campers and counselors being together, and I thank God for working together with BBC to do great things for kids.

-Andy “Gumby” Smith, Camp Dad and Volunteer Counselor

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