As a teacher, I spend an awful lot of time with children and young people. A scary amount some might say.
I’m also blessed with generous holidays (often taken up with planning and assessment, but at least they’re away from the kids!).
So why on earth would I voluntarily spend a week of my holiday hanging out with another bunch of young people (this year 11-14 year olds at Sibford School in Oxfordshire) and this time, rather than look after them for six and a half hours, be responsible for them round the clock?
It’s absolutely a fair question and one my teaching colleagues asked me as they prepared to jet off to sunnier climes and “get some space”.
And I guess it’s all to do with what I feel I am called to do as a Christian living in God’s world. After all, he has equipped me with certain skills and experiences that enable me to relate to young people and as a result I find it relatively easy to get alongside them.
What’s more, if telling people the good news about Jesus is the single most important thing I can do, then marrying these two is crucial.
Besides, camps are amazing fun! Anyone who grew up attending them or has helped out ought to be able to testify what a great joy they are. Highlights this year included pretending to be Sherlock Holmes, laughing away as my friend Joe attempted to extract jewellery from a metal bowl filled to the brim with baked beans and enjoying the immortal martial arts line of “I’ll bumble them” when Ellen sought to protect me.
Beyond that though, it is a real privilege to work through Bible passages with intelligent, engaged and interested young people who are asking genuine questions and won’t be satisfied with anything other than genuine answers.
And Christianity stands up to their interrogation and then some. It is awesome to see transformation of heart and character and be involved in helping shape the next generation of gospel warriors.
So next year, when making my summer plans, camp will certainly be part of them. And if you’re at all considering getting involved – let me urge you to do so. The team at Sibford camp are always looking for more!