While many High School seniors were wrapping up their summer sitting poolside and preparing for senior year, seniors at Summit Christian Academy spent nine days serving at Camp Blessing in Brenham, Texas, for the school’s fourteenth annual Senior Mission Trip.
Camp Blessing is a Christian summer camp ministry designed to make a week-long barrier-free summer camp available to children with physical, developmental, or intellectual disabilities. For children seven and older, Camp Blessing offers all of the traditional summer camp activities- including horseback riding, canoeing, fishing, swimming, ropes course, and water games- all customized for full participation for all levels of abilities.
The Senior’s challenge for the week was to “Love Well”.
“No matter how concerned, or scared, or confused, or worried our students were about the job before them, to LOVE WELL was going to get them through,” shared chaperone Patty McWilliams.
Upon arrival at Camp Blessing, Seniors were able to review incoming campers’ applications and prayerfully consider one to “buddy” with for the week. After a training from Camp Blessing staff, the campers arrived and Seniors went on to spend the week one-on-one, devoting themselves to showing an amazing experience to their their new buddy. Even sharing a bunk bed at night, the Senior and camper were inseparable during every moment of the week.
“It was really important that we put our camper’s wants and needs before our own,” shared Senior Kyla Brown. “All week, we helped our campers do exactly what they wanted to do, which usually looked very different from what we had in mind. This was challenging and doesn’t come naturally so it really allowed for God to shine through us.”
Campers and Seniors got to share lots of special activities together, including silly songs before each meal, a “Messy War”, luau, and glow dance party.
“The demands of being a full-time caretaker of a special needs camper was quite unexpected,” shared McWilliams. “There were some sweet connections and some great challenges. But God works through the unexpected, and He promises if we keep our hearts and minds open, we will see Him at work. I know that each of our seniors were blessed in some way during this week and I am certain that the Lord was well pleased that they served the campers by loving well.”
In preparation for the Seniors to go beyond SCA after they graduate, the Senior Missions Trip is an opportunity to build class leadership and unity while also growing personally and spiritually. Seniors were able to share their experiences with their classmates recently at the annual Senior Chapel.