Every single day during the 100 days of our summer camping season, beginning with staff training, we’re serving and caring for some of our 25,000 campers and 1000 summer staff. As a result, every single day, for 100 straight days I make three specific requests to God. These requests not only reflect our organizational priorities and focus but they also reflect my own personal hopes and desires for those we serve and those serve alongside.
My first request, because it’s our most important responsibility, is that our campers and staff are safe spiritually, emotionally and physically. I ask God to protect each camper, staff member and all those who visit our camps. And I pray for all our lifeguards, activity staff, counselors and other staff with the responsibility for the direct care of our campers.
The second request I make is that God will, through the experiences we create, transform the lives of our campers and staff. I make this request because this is our mission, it’s why we exist, it’s what we’re to do (create experiences) and it’s the outcome (life transformation) we’re working and praying for. The answer to this request is when a camper or staff leaves SpringHill with new attitudes, behaviors and perspective on life that are more aligned with God than before they arrived.
My final request is simply that we fill every one of our camp spots, that we’re granted the opportunity to serve as many kids as we’re capable of providing an outstanding SpringHill Experience for. This request reflects our vision of never-resting until every young person has the opportunity to hear, see, and experience Jesus Christ in a life-transforming way.
So last week we crossed the half-way point of our camping sessions and God has been gracious in answering these prayers. It’s been a safe, powerfully transforming, and record-breaking summer at SpringHill. But the summer isn’t over; we still have more kids to serve and staff to lead, which means my work of making my three daily requests continues.
Denise and I hold two important, but at times conflicting, goals in raising our children. The first one’s simply to assure our kids have experiences that help them grow physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually. Secondly, we want to do all we can to keep our kids safe and to protect them from the consequences of evil.
It’s when we need to entrust our children and their safety to those who provide them life transforming experiences that we can feel conflicted. We want to provide our children these experiences and at the same time assure their safety.
The best way to achieve both is to verify that the organizations we entrust our children to have the following three qualities.
The organization and its staff are transparent. Transparency mean’s there’s nothing hidden about its history, operations, philosophies, track record and methods. Transparency also includes our child’s experience.
Related to transparency is accessibility. Organizations and staff are accessible to parents. In addition, if necessary, our kids are accessible when involved with the organization. We should expect our phone calls and emails to be returned timely as well as the opportunity to meet the staff when dropping off and picking up our child as well as any other time we want to interact with them.
Professionalism includes a broad range of key activities that we should expect from an organization and its staff including verifiable training, quality control, safety practices and policies that the staff know and demonstrate commitment to by their adherence to these policies.
These three qualities should permeate the entire culture of an organization as reflected in the staff, websites, promotional material and most importantly in their reputation.
With prayerful due diligence, we as parents, can reduce the possibility of any harm coming to our children and yet still provide them those formative experiences they so desperately need to reach their potential.43.928283-85.286682