To you, the camper at Pondo,

You'll be greeted by a sea of staff members in shirts that advertise themselves as "Door Holders." You'll be tempted to sign up for paintball, slide into the pool from a giant waterslide, and your counselor will follow you around encouraging you to do even more than just those. You'll see tempting Icees for sale in the store, you'll hear the kitchen staff singing worship songs as they plate up hot dogs, and you'll ask somebody at the soundbooth where exactly the mysterious climbing room is. You'll believe the emcees are celebrities.

That speech your counselor is giving you about meeting times and modesty is well-rehearsed, they said this speech 3 times before. The banner you're plastering with artwork and references to bible verses will be rated an hour from now in this very room by the people who hooked you up to your tree climbing harness and watched you ollie over a rock at the skatepark. The Nerds Rope you're buying was just restocked 8 minutes ago by the girl behind that counter. The people singing on the stage have worked countless hours preparing for each day. Those people have been praying for you since before you got here. The tables and chairs you sit at for all three meals have created many bruises in the process of being set up. The people that set up those tables and chairs have been praying for you since before you got here.

Somebody counsels you. Somebody switches the syrup for the soda fountain when the root beer runs low. Somebody prays over you during worship. Somebody sees that you're nervous to jump off the diving board, so they practice in their head 49 times what they'll say to encourage you. Somebody sets up the hot glue in the arts garage for you. Somebody lies awake on Tuesday night while thinking of ideas for your ultimate cheer. Somebody sends you down the zipline. Somebody listens to what you say in your buzz group and is so proud of you for sharing. Somebody wakes up early to make sure the hashbrowns you're going to eat are ready to be served.

These people know what it's like to be in your shoes. Some of these people came to camp just like you did. Some of these people had to kiss their families goodbye for the summer to work here. Some of these people live here all year and put blood sweat and tears into putting this program on. Some of these people worked here for the very first time. Some of these people have been here for very many years. All of these people love you. God loves every single one of them, God loves every single one of you.

You might not even want to leave after having the best of times this week, but it's ok. Camp is not forever, but the memories you make there are. Camp is not forever, but God's forgiveness is. Camp is not forever, but it will sure feel like it the moment that you come home and live out your purpose. I was right where you were 3 years ago. You have a purpose!

Sincerely,

Lucy Fields