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How Camp Changed Me!

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The BC Conference has fully embraced the initiative of REACH. In this article you will learn of the transformation taking place every summer at Mountain View Summer Camp (MVSC).

While this is an interview of one person, it represents countless others who over the years met Jesus at Camp. We are seeking to impact every young person in British Columbia for Jesus. Here is one of those stories.

Interview with Pastor Brian Wahl, Youth Director, Mountain View Summer Camp Director and Amber Burgoyne, radiant young person, newest staff member at MVSC.

Pastor Brian (PB): “Amber, Thank you for your willingness to share your story.”

Amber: “I am excited. Life has changed so much for me.”

PB: “Let’s start with summer of 2013 when you came to summer camp as a S.I.T. – Staff in Training. Tell me about your experience as a SIT.”

Amber: “It was hard work, but it was so cool. At first I didn’t know what to expect, because as a camper you really don’t know all that a staff member does. I actually didn’t think I liked kids! I had not imagined myself working with children. But then I discovered, ‘Kids are Fun’. You can be whoever you want to be around kids and they don’t judge you. I found I was able to help kids. Then one day a camper came up to me and said, “Amber, I Love You!” I was so amazed. It felt great.”

PB: “Tell me about how being a SIT changed you.”

Amber: “At first I was hesitant. But I found that immediately the other staff accepted me.

They don’t mind if you are shy, outgoing, or what 

you look like. At camp you begin to build a family and it’s comfortable. When the week is over you don’t want to leave because you have become family.”

PB: “I noticed the amount of personal confidence you gained that first week as a SIT. You engaged with kids. The change from the beginning of the week was amazing. Tell me the difference between being a SIT and being a camper at MVSC.”

Amber: “Work crew- it was hot and shoveling dirt- but it really wasn’t that bad. The difference is as a camper you don’t realize how much work is involved to run the camp. You don’t get in on the family atmosphere of the staff and you don’t get to use the staff bathrooms.”

PB: “What contributed to you making the decision to be a SIT?”

Amber: ‘Kalyna.’ “To be honest, I just wanted to spend time with Kalyna. She kept telling me that I liked camp as a camper, so she thought I would enjoy it as a staff. She said, ‘What’s the harm, it’s only for a week. You can do it. Just try it.’ “I know that Kalyna knows what is best for me. I trust her and she is like an older sister for me. Kalyna kept telling me there is something else out there for me in life.” (Kalyna Lamberton, Elementary Ed Student at CUC, resident of Chilliwack, member of Aldergrove SDA church, and valued staff at MVSC the past 5 years.)

PB: “How did you get to know Kalyna?”

Amber: “I was a camper. I was not in her cabin, but friends of mine had her as their counselor. I was in her cabin visiting my friends and Kalyna was easy to talk to. From the start she showed she cared about me. I felt really comfortable. I felt I could talk to her about anything and that she was there for me.”

PB: “After that first week of SIT, you went back home. Tell me about that.”

Amber: “I went back home and had an alteration with someone. I made something big out of something little and it almost cost me my life, my future. I went back to be with my best friends.

For years we had been friends and had a lot of experience together. After camp, I realized, all of a sudden, they weren’t the type of people I wanted to hang around with. They were influencing my life to be weak. I was not listening to my Grandpa; we were always fighting. I realized my friends and my life was taking me the wrong direction. I was shaking my head, thinking, ‘All I want to do, is to be back at camp.’ I made the decision to not talk to these 2 friends. I went to work at Dairy Queen until I could come back for Youth Camp. My Grandpa noticed the change in me. My camp experience was starting to change my reactions.”

PB: “What was it like being a camper then, at Youth Camp.”

Amber: “It was nice. It was like being a kid again. No work crew!”

PB: “Camp is finished you are going home. You wonder about getting stuck back in the negative pressure. How did Deer Lake School come in to the picture for you? 

Amber: “I left camp knowing I didn’t want to repeat my last few years. I got accepted into an alternative school but I really wasn’t sure about the people who were going there. It felt like I was going back into the same environment.”

“I was talking a lot to Kalyna and she said, ‘Check out Deer Lake’. Kalyna made a lot of phone calls. It was basically Kalyna that made it happen.”

Pastor Brian: “What did your Grandpa say about you changing schools and maybe going to Deer Lake Adventist School?”

Amber: “I had a talk with my Grandpa. I told him that I really didn’t want to go back to my old school. I wanted to surround myself with different people. My Grandpa reminded me that I don’t like homework and asked me if it would it be too hard for me. ‘You are the one who doesn’t study!’ he said.”

“We went together to Deer Lake to see Miss Erickson. I was worried and I was nervous that I wouldn’t get accepted.”

Pastor Brian: “But you did get accepted. How was it fitting in?”

Amber: “The first day I was slightly overwhelmed. I had never gone to school the whole day, the first day of school! I made some friends right away. Kids asked me to come hang out and made me feel good about being at school.”

“There is way more accountability. I find that I actually study and do homework. I don’t even mind it because I don’t go out as much doing stupid things. I have a different perspective on life. I have goals now.”

“I got elected president of the grade 11 class – that was a surprise – and I started out running for social. But no one was running for VP, so I was talking to my friends and then I decided to run as president and I won. A recruiter came from CUC and I was amazed that I might be interested in college – I saw a new opportunity for my future. I may want to be an elementary major in college.”

Pastor Brian: “Tell me more about Deer Lake School.”

Amber: “I love Deer Lake. The teachers have taught me a lot. I am OK with going into Grade 12 this next year. I like the idea of another year at Deer Lake and graduating with extra classes.”

“I now realize that in my previous school I was trying to grow up fast. I was doing things that older people do. I went to 5 different schools before Deer Lake. I used to be mad at things that didn’t even matter. I kept anger in my head for no reason and thought I could control it. I am happy now. I am happier than I have been for years. God has a plan that I haven’t even discovered.”

Pastor Brian: “God put people in your life that set you on a whole different direction, a way that does not have a dead-end. The future is wide open.”

“I’d like to go back for a moment to 5 years ago when you first came to MVSC as a camper. How did you find out about MVSC?”

Amber: “My Grandpa said, ‘I am going to send you to camp’. I looked it up on the internet and found MVSC. Now I know that God led me to find this camp on the internet.””

Pastor Brian: “Four years ago, your second year of camp, you watched a friend get baptized. That same day you were under conviction that you, too, wanted to be baptized.”

“Do you remember how persistent you were with me? You were under so much conviction that you would not let me say ‘no’ to baptism that day.”

Amber: “Yes, and you baptized me that day. I was so happy. That was the start of this journey. I knew that God was real. I said at that time that there was ‘no other option but to be baptized that day’. I was drawn to the things that were positive and wanted to be a part of it.”

Pastor Brian: “Faith development is amazing. In the last four years there were setbacks in your life, but coming as a SIT laid a new layer of faith and look where you are now!”

Amber: “I am happy with my faith and realize I am growing. God has helped me a lot. Kalyna has helped me so much. Esmon Emmons is an awesome Bible teacher. Mr. E. said in Bible class that sometimes ‘the best sermon is when you don’t plan it’.”

“I had that experience with a good friend. I was telling my testimony for 15 minutes – talking about God and my faith. You know, Pastor Brian, I really meant it when I was baptized. My baptism was the start. I went back home and back to my old habits. I even had my doubts about God. But Kalyna didn’t give up on me. She got me back to camp and to God. Now I am in the rest of my journey.”

“God said to me, ‘I am here for you.’ Now I enjoy Bible class, I like going to church. I pray. I am a believer of God. I am a Christian now.”

Pastor Brian: “That is what I pray for, for every young person who comes to camp. I pray for a safe place for kids to make a decision for Jesus. I want camp to be a healthy church where young people grow and stay on their journey with Christ.”

“Amber, how do you feel about being on the MVSC camp staff?” member?”

Amber: “I love camp – camp saved me. There is a reason that I clicked on that web site years ago. Camp has changed my mind, the way I think. I have direction. I can share what I have learned with others. I want to be a part of the people, the environment and what camp teaches. I have a lot to offer to others and MVSC is my chance to share this summer.”

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