So, when in the summer of 2015 I got the opportunity to work at a summer camp for the first time, I took a chance and went Not to my local camp (I’m originally from Connecticut), but to Illinois and Camp Akita. I became a camp counselor and an arts and crafts instructor. As a counselor, I wanted to make sure that the kids who came didn’t leave with the same fears I had when I was their age. I made it part of my mission to befriend the friendless and connect with those who seemed unconnected. It wasn’t just me, either. I was surrounded by staff who did the same. For the next four summers, that was my mission. Each week, I met campers where they were and, by the grace of God, they went home better than when they came. The best thing I saw was when a camper would return the next summer with a new friend who hadn’t been to camp before! The blessings multiplied.
At Camp Akita, every summer we make it our goal to build connections to campers. For many, this is the best week of their year because they can escape whatever is happening at home and meet God at camp. Campers come to Akita and find a smile and a counselor who is invested in them. They go to their activities and find staff members who are invested and excited in seeing them succeed. They go to meals and find kitchen staff invested in making good food (and it actually is good food!). They go to worship and find staff invested in showing them God. More importantly, all week long they find a God who is personally invested in each one of them, so much more than any staff can ever be. It’s a tradition to sing, “All Day Long I’ve Been With Jesus,” at the end of each day or week.
“All day long I’ve been with Jesus, and it has been a wonderful day.
I have climbed up one step higher in the good old gospel way.
I have spoken words of kindness and, Lord, You know where I’ve gone wrong.
I must go and make it right, so I can testify tonight, I’ve been with Jesus all day long.”
I may regret not going to camp as a child, but I’ll never regret becoming a camp staff member in the hills of Camp Akita.
Renae Cross is a recent graduate of Union College with major in Music Education and Music. This will be her fifth summer at Camp Akita, and she is currently serving as the Girls’ Director.
Camp Akita Dates:
Cubs camp (ages 7–9): June 16–23
Junior camp (ages 10–12): June 23–30
Tween camp (ages 11–14): June 30–July 7
Teen I (ages 14–17): July 7–14
Teen II & Specialty Camp (ages 14–17): July 14–21
Family Camp (all ages): July 28–August July 28–Aug:
1684 Knox Rd. 1200 N
Gilson, IL 61436
For more information, please call (630) 856-2857 or visit www.campakita.com