Wishing the World was more Like SpringHill
“I just want to say thank you. SpringHill has just been fantastic for my son. I only wish the rest of the world could be more like SpringHill.”
This statement to me and a small group of our year around staff during the closing day of camp by a father of a camper with special needs. The father went onto explain that his son has been coming to SpringHill for a number of summers and it’s always the high light of his son’s year. It’s the week when his son feels accepted and loved like a “normal” kid.
I believe it’s this acceptance and love that the dad was referring to when he said, almost to himself, “I only wish the rest of the world could be more like SpringHill”.
Of course it’s always great to hear this kind of unsolicited feedback from a parent. Our goal is that every kid will feel like this camper, to experience the love of Christ through our staff and in the small communities we create.
So with summer camp just ending (and I’m already starting to miss it), this father’s wish has had me thinking. I’ve realized his wish really isn’t a wish at all, but instead it’s our ultimate mission.
You see at SpringHill we exist to create experiences (we call them SpringHill Experience) where Christ can transform the lives of young people. These experiences include embracing all kinds of kids, regardless of who they are, what they’ve done or where they’ve come from. Yet, as powerful as this is, the SpringHill Experience isn’t an end unto itself; it is part of something bigger.
That something bigger is the Church’s work of bringing the values and reality of Christ’s Kingdom into the world. In other words, we haven’t thoroughly done our job unless our campers and staff are leaving SpringHill and bringing a little of it back into the world, making the world a little more like SpringHill, which really means making the world little more like Christ’s Kingdom.
As a former Special Needs Counselor at Springhill, I can’t help but recall my memories & times there frequently. Though it has been a few years since, I still can say it was the best summer of my life (and it helps that I also became engaged right beforehand as well).
I remember hearing statements similar to this father’s every week from the campers’ parents. The relationships that I established with my campers sometimes didn’t compare to what I was able to witness when that particular camper fit right in with the rest of the band of brothers & they took on mission after mission, including the physical and spiritual ones.
Thank you, Michael, for the work that you do. May our Father continue to use you and your staff to further His kingdom.
I have to say I agree 100% with this parents comment. My son has gone to daycamp for the last 4 years and overnight the last 2 years. I am so used to people telling me they will try to work with him only to send him home saying they can’t meet his needs. Springhill never did this the first year he was there I got a couple of phone calls followed by I am going to add a one to one to help him. Every year since then he has gone back with a one to one and last year we tried overnight camp he had such a great time that he went back again this year and loved it too. I wish there were more places for him like Springhill. If you ever feel like opening an summer childcare or after school care in my area I have 2 kids who’ll be the first to sign up.