Posted by Gene Justice on October 01
In honor of counselor applications going live today we have a special guest blog from a former camper and counselor!
Hey friends, I’m Audrey Peterson! I was a camper from 2010 until 2014, and I worked as a counselor in 2017. Looking back on everything, the most impactful part of my camp experience is the bond between campers and counselors.
Campers come to Skyline very excited about getting their cabin assignments. They’re eager to see if they have old and new friends in their cabin and who their counselors will be. I was always excited about this part of opening day. The anticipation every year was deafening. The counselors during my time at camp were incredible. They were the big sisters that I never had and the role models I needed.
Before my age out year, a lot of thoughts were swirling through my head. One of the biggest things I thought about was having a relationship with God. I went to Young Life and church every single week but did not fully get what having a relationship with God meant. My years at camp leading up to aging out were spent sitting at campfires confused. Yes, I knew God loved me. I found it hard to see God in my everyday life and understand what it meant to apply His lessons.
Coming to camp in 2014, I really needed a break from my life back in Chicago and wanted to figure out my relationship with Him. But I wasn’t sure where to start. Luckily for me, my age out year brought me my all-time favorite counselor to help me grow (Shout out to the one and the only Alyse Scott!). She still teaches me so much to this day. Not only did Alyse make everyone laugh, she actively showed me what it looked like to have God in my everyday life by hanging out with each other. She also made it a point to come into different camper rooms in Riverside, the cabin for the oldest campers, to play the guitar and sing Christian music to us as we fell asleep. That time during lights out also allowed her to check in on campers. I loved when both of those things would happen. The songs that I heard were incredibly calming and helped me think about how I saw Him in my day. A personal favorite of mine is definitely Ten Thousand Reasons by Matt Redman! You could hear a pin drop when these songs would float through Riverside. When Alyse would take time to check in, it really showed that she cared. There was one night during the session where I was perplexed and sad about aging out. She noticed that and took the time to talk to me about it before I fell asleep. I really appreciated that because it showed me that she cared about how her campers felt about what was going on. She also gave an incredible campfire in the middle of the session that I will never forget. It was emotionally touching. Because of her campfire, I started thinking about God in new ways and dove headfirst into a relationship with Him. One of my favorite verses that she shared is John 13:7.That verse came into my life at the perfect time. Coming into camp that year, I did not know what He was about to do in my life. But I quickly learned the purpose of coming was to finally find God through an incredible counselor.
As the eldest of two, I really needed someone to look up to away from camp. Alyse quickly filled that void. I knew that she’d be there for me no matter what. She has seriously taught me so much to this day. We have had many insightful and hard conversations. The growth I have experienced from age 16 until now is highly attributed to this epic friendship. There have been a couple visits, too! I got to go see her crush it on the soccer field for the Auburn Tigers (WAR EAGLE!) and she came up to Chicago for a week with her internship and we got to eat dinner one night! In fact, we are hoping to see each other in 2021! Facetime has also become a huge part of our friendship, as well as texting and calling. Social media also never fails to keep us in touch! Anytime we talk, I walk away feeling encouraged. Being able to look up to someone like Alyse really is THE most impactful thing camp gave me. During my time as a counselor, this bond influenced the way I approached working with campers. The most rewarding moment was when a camper came up to me and said my campfire changed how she thought about God and I was her favorite counselor. As counselors, our job is to pay it forward. Being a support for someone else is such a special part of being a counselor. One thing I encourage campers of every age is to get to know your counselors! They are not only at camp to help you have a good time, they are also around to help you grow! I know for a fact they will LOVE to get to know you.
Shoutout to counselors past, present, and future! The impact that you have on your kiddos every summer is incredible. Know that your impact does not go unnoticed.
Assistant Director and Critter Caretaker. Floridian and Seeker of Sunshine. You can find me kayaking down Little River, up in a tree, or where ever the animals are playing.