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One of my greatest joys over the past 2 summers as a group camp counselor has been watching the line blur between being a counselor and being a friend.

There are few things more freeing and rewarding than having a camper come to you and tell you that they saw Jesus in you. I am in no way, shape, or form deserving of praise and admiration, but because of the work that the Lord did through me I was able to see lives changed for GOOD in my new friends. The way Jesus used my apathetic, suburban, midwestern story and turned it into something relatable for teenagers was completely beyond me.

If there is one thing I learned from this beautiful place filled with rocks and sunshine, it’s that camp could not exist without the Holy Spirit. The concept of 25 teenagers completely trusting and confiding in a stranger they’ve known for 3 days makes no logical sense. There’s no way to explain that unless it is the Lord’s specific and orchestrated plan to be that way.

Some of my sweetest memories shared with campers were through little moments of laughter, gibberish language, and childlike humor. I saw so much growth over the past 2 summers once I stopped seeing campers as my little projects, and began to see them for what they are…People. People with hearts who love to laugh. People who love to test your limits. People with personalities, aspirations, secrets and insecurities. People who invest so much into you that you are left feeling smaller each closing day because a little part of you leaves with them.

God specifically placed me in Rocksprings, Texas to meet these specific kids. To love these teenagers. To build authentic relationships. To pour into them so much that the only energy I have left is fueled by prayer (and sometimes coffee let’s be real). He didn’t call me there to fix them. He didn’t call me there to lead group development games. He called me there to make new friends and learn the hearts of His children. He called me to love His people the way that He loves me.

I don’t think it’s possible to look back on my summer and not see Jesus and the things that He did. Jesus was there in every little rock talk. Jesus was there the days when campers heard my story and opened up to me about their own struggles. Jesus was there when we watched hundreds of kids accept the salvation that is so freely given to them.

So yes, being a counselor is the best job you could ever have. But you know what’s even better than being a counselor? Being a friend.

-Meredith Gleason

Friendship is unnecessary…it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival. -C.S. Lewis