You’ve heard the famous saying that camp friends make the best friends, right? Well, have you heard the saying that camp friends know no distance? This statement rings so true with this special staffer. Hailey comes to South Carolina in the summers from Minnesota to serve Asbury Hills.
We reached out to Hailey to share the meaning of Asbury Hills and her immediate response was, “I’D LOVE TO!” If you get nothing from this post, get this: Hailey’s eagerness to share what Asbury Hills has done for her should speak enough to the impact a summer camp experience can have on a young adult.
“I sat down to write this but I was at a loss for words–not necessarily because I didn’t know what to say, but because I believed I could not find the words that could sufficiently describe the impact Asbury Hills has had on my life over the past two years.
I sat down to read my last two journals from the past two summers, hoping that it would give me a good start to write this. I soon found myself sitting there, journals wide open, with a smile on my face and tears rolling down my cheeks.
Over two years ago when I told my friends and family that I was going to South Carolina for three months to work at a summer camp, I would get the following responses:
“YOU? YOU are going to work at a SUMMER CAMP?” (Okay, to be honest, this one was a valid concern. Pre-Asbury Hills Hailey was NOT a campin’ girl or an out doors girl or an above 85 degrees outside kind of girl. Don’t worry, I’ve changed!“
“But, you’re an introvert…” (oh, how encouraging!)
or my personal favorite:
“But aren’t there bugs there?” (As if there weren’t bugs in Minnesota? Or everywhere for that matter.)
But, regardless of any reservations, I decided to jump into the unknown because if there is one thing I’ve learned throughout this experience, it is this:
You experience God’s love and faithfulness the most when you are willing to put yourself into the uncomfortable.
You see…God worked in my life at Asbury Hills in ways that I never could’ve hoped for or imagined. When I was sitting in my comfortable dorm room in Minnesota at a place I loved so much, I had no idea what God had in store. I had no idea how much my life was going to change.
As I read story after story through my journals, I was once again blown away by God’s faithfulness. These stories, both heartbreaking and beautiful, brought me back to my most favorite days I’ve ever had; my days at Asbury Hills. They reminded me of the way God showed me grace when I made mistakes, gave me strength when I didn’t think I had an ounce of energy left, and filled my heart with more joy than I ever thought was possible here on Earth. I had campers who opened my eyes to more of who God is and the way He loves us by the way they showed love to others around them. I had campers who challenged me in my faith, taught me life lessons that I never knew I needed, and pushed me to become a better leader and better follower of Christ.
If you follow any Asbury Hills staffers or campers, you’ve most likely seen #CampFriendsAreTheBestFriends on all social media sites. Well, it’s true. It’s SO so true. Two years ago when I decided that I was picking up my life in Minnesota to spend three months at camp in South Carolina, my biggest prayer was that God would simply give me friends. GOOD friends. Genuine friends who would challenge me and bring me joy and in turn I could do the same for them. Christ-centered Friends. Oh, I desperately needed them and, of course, God came through.
I found my people at Asbury Hills. The people that I will have for the rest of my life.
People that will always be in my corner, encouraging me and supporting me and pushing me closer to God. For that, I am eternally grateful.
If you are thinking about working at Asbury Hills, jump in. Jump into the uncomfortable. Let God push you into the unknown. You will be challenged, stretched, and moved. You will have bad days and good days. You will laugh until you cry and you will play way too much gaga. You will grow closer to Jesus and you will have campers that will change your heart forever. You will make life-long, crazy, Jesus-loving friends.
For future campers and staffers: I pray that this place is as much of a blessing in your life as it has been, and forever will be, in mine. “