Working At A Young Life Camp Will Change Your Life

Working At A Young Life Camp Will Change Your Life

How is it possible that an unpaid month full of hard work could be "fun"?

Young Life summer camp, aka the best week of your entire life.

There's no denying that.

But working at a camp for an entire month, doing extremely hard work and not getting paid? No thank you. That was my thought process when someone told me about applying for Summer Staff. There was no way that an entire month away from home (my family and friends), doing endless hours of "dirty work" behind the scenes at a camp could be "the best month of your life" like people advertised.

However, I couldn't have been more wrong.

It's been months since I got back from my month-long adventure serving at Carolina Point as a baker on Summer Staff, yet not a day goes by that I don't think about my experience and the profound impact it made on my life. I never would have dreamed that that month would change my personality and the direction of my life entirely.

It's like a different world at Young Life camp, no matter which one you go to. A world where people are kind to each other and celebrate each other's differences rather than pointing out each other's flaws. A place where we can openly talk about Jesus and not be judged for it, but be encouraged. A place where we can talk about the messy parts of our lives and find out we aren't the only ones facing those obstacles. A place where you will laugh and cry harder than you ever have before. A place where you will be loved unconditionally, by people you never would have thought you could connect with.

Yes, the work was hard. I got up at 5 a.m., running off of as little as four hours of sleep, stood on my feet baking bread and desserts for as many as 800 campers for ten hours a day but I wouldn't have traded the experience for the world. I met the BEST people in the world, people who will forever be in my life and will probably stand next to me on my wedding day.

I grew in my faith in ways I didn't even think imaginable. I realized that serving others can be such a joy, even if it is "behind the scenes" and you get no recognition for it. I found out how truly unconditionally loved I am by a God who never leaves my side. I learned so much about myself and what it means to walk with Jesus each and every day. I also made the decision to completely turn my life around, leaving behind what I thought was my dream school, and pursuing an entirely different school and path, because I felt God speak to me in a way that I never had before.

I could go on and on about the ways my life changed and the incredible things I experienced while on Summer Staff because the impact was that significant.

Even if the thought of leaving behind your friends and family for a month of the summer and serving endless hours of hard work makes you cringe, I would challenge you to apply because if I had listened to my thoughts of hesitation, I would have missed out on a truly life-changing experience that redirected the path of my life.

Cover Image Credit: Anna Parker

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An Open Letter To My Best Friend On Their Birthday

because your existence is something worth celebrating

An open letter to one of my best friends on their birthday...


First of all, I probably love your birthday more than you because it’s a day solely dedicated to your existence, and no one appreciates that more than me, and this is why.

You are always my number one. When I need someone to listen to my day, you’re there, offering a hug on a bad day, a shoulder to cry on when I’m upset, or just a few words to reassure me. Most importantly, you make me laugh. Even if I’m in a bad mood, you make me laugh. When I should be embarrassed, instead I just laugh. And when I do something ridiculous myself, you make me laugh with you about it as well. Nothing can go wrong with my partner in crime there to watch my back, and of course you know I’ve got yours too.

You never know where this next year will take you, but why should that stop you. I hope this is a year where you smile a lot, learn a lot, and love a lot. I hope you discover something new and exciting, hold on to what you’ve always loved before, and find something unexpected that will amaze you like nothing else, because honestly those are the best surprises. Just remember to take me with you if you are jumping on that bus, train, or plane to explore, because you’re not getting away from me that easily.

Not going to lie, some things will change. Nothing can stay exactly the same forever. But there will always be one fan cheering you on, a person to laugh with who loves you unconditionally, and a sarcastic friend who will keep you in your place while still supporting you to no end. And why is this? Look back at all those years (wow, you’re getting old), and look at the kind of person you’ve become. You’re pretty darn awesome if I do say so myself- you make the job of ‘proud friend’ easy for me. But then again, why do you think we’re friends in the first place? I knew you were amazing before, now you’re just old(er) and amazing. We’ll take every curve ball the world throws at us and throw it back even harder, once I actually learn how to throw.

Here’s to another year of adventures. Here’s to watching movies and videos that we will quote for months, to eating ice cream and having 5-hour phone conversations. Here’s to quoting songs and never being afraid to dance along (or have you laugh at me as I dance and sing along). Here’s to the board games that you may beat me at one day, but not today. Here’s to me being clumsy and stubborn and you being slightly less clumsy but just as stubborn. Here’s to playing would you rather and knowing random facts about each other because of it. Here’s to pizza at midnight, pancakes at noon, and cake on birthdays. Here’s to another year of having you as my best friend.

Happy Birthday!

Forever and Always,

Your person

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My Single Dad Raised Me As A Tomboy, And I'm So Glad He Did

Why I always choose sneakers and T-shirts over heels and a dress...


When I was younger, my parents got divorced. I lived with my mom half the time, and my dad half the time. Since my dad was a single father, and I was the only child he had ever raised, he stuck with what he knew best. He signed me up for sports when I turned three years old and bought me clothes from the boy's section at the store.

I obviously did not care because all the boys in my kindergarten class thought I had the coolest shoes.

Cover Image Credit:

Alex Camerlengo

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