This is a common goal. The people come first, the program second. But now, after being much more involved in the creation of a program for an ongoing camp, I see how important the program can be. After all, the campers shouldn't be bored, and all of the activities ought to have more purpose to them. Or at least the majority should.
What I also find interesting is the constant cultural battles I personally face during an English Camp. Just examining my personal feelings, the week in which I worked with two people from the States felt much more "smooth sailing" than all the other weeks with non-States folk. Is it because we all have similar experiences in youth ministry?
Is it that I am not as flexible with the schedule as I should be?
Is it that I am forgetting the people come first?
Is it that I am not doing a proper comparison, because I must also take into account that there have been teen camps as well as kids camps in the mix?
Not to mention, that every week, the level of English changes, and from there we have to make the proper adjustments.
Some things I am learning. One, it's not always worth it to fight because in the end, the camp will go on. What's more important is that the students had fun (because then they'll want to come back and that means the business can keep going). Two, sometimes the higher level of English amongst the students isn't always the best, because then they don't feel the need to take advantage of the camp experience.
Third, sometimes you just have to let the students go. You can't please everyone. Instead of focusing on the troublemakers, correcting their mistakes, after awhile.. just focus on the good.
Or maybe, it's because those troublemakers are lacking love. And you know what love they need? Discipline. They actually love and respect you in the end for getting on their case. It reminded me of my dad, and how many people in our past church camps always left on him the burden of being the so-called "bad guy".
I believe, in the end, those troublemakers all loved him for it.
All of this is a crazy and complicated balance on how we treat the kids. I am trying to figure out how to love them best, and perhaps the worst realization of them all is realizing that I need to be more free with my love. Be patient with me, little ones, God will help me!!!
this was random. i don't know if you'll understand it all, but i needed to write it down.
love and chau!!