New Perspectives on Leadership and Creation
Summertime reflections of a day camp staff member
By Theo Sorensen-Kurtz, A Rocha Manitoba Summer Day Camp Staff
August 3, 2022
“What was your favorite thing we did at camp today?”
Being a kid is a wonderful thing. Kids are full of curiosity. They have a capacity for wonder many of us lack – learning new things can fill them with awe at the complexity of creation. This summer, as I’ve worked at the A Rocha Manitoba day camps, simply showing up at work has shown me energy and excitement, and the diversity of active learning. The activities, games, and outings have helped campers learn in fun and engaging ways. With God’s creation there is always more than meets the eye. Learning about nature means learning about multiple perspectives and lots of new angles. What has struck me is how perspectives shift when we move into new roles, such as teaching, leading, or mentoring.
Camp staff have an incredible opportunity to impact campers. This influence on some of the campers seemed almost instantaneous. They were easy to get to know, and there were a few kids who quickly attached themselves to one leader and for the rest of the week wanted to spend time with them. While relationships like this are fun to see form as well as to experience, something else becomes clear. Forming a bond with someone at this age means that they are going to look up to you. Knowing this means that camp staff like myself get to show campers good ways to act and learn.
What I have seen is my fellow leaders treating every camper with grace and kindness, and handling every situation patiently. These actions have not always meant positive results, but some amazing moments have sprouted because of them. Being able to hear and listen to campers’ stories have left an impact on me, and are a driving force behind why I am excited to spend time with these kids every week. This is something that I will keep in mind in the coming weeks so that I can impact our campers positively.
This new perspective on leadership has been paired with new perspectives on creation. One of my favorite activities at camp has been nature-themed bingo. This is a simple, yet effective group game that appeals to a child’s senses of competition and discovery, with the added twist of informing them about the world they live in. A version of bingo we played with the campers focused on edible plants, and it was great to see the reactions from campers when they realized that a plant they already knew was something that they could eat. The sunflower in particular amazed them. Activities like this are terrific at finding a balance between education and entertainment.
These weeks have meant viewing God’s world in a new light, discovering its variety. These last two weeks have not only given me admiration for camp leaders and those in other positions of leadership, but also just an appreciation for camp itself. I hope that many others have the opportunity to open up to these kinds of experiences and appreciate what a gift they are.
Feature Photo: A Rocha Manitoba’s 2022 summer staff! Back left, Theo Sorensen-Kurtz