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"Oh, Mrs. Wahl, do you know how much I am making an hour, by working at Mountain View Summer Camp (MVSC)?" Several times a summer, I hear this comment coming from a weary camp staff. "No," I reply with a twinkle, "How much do you make an hour, all summer long?" "$ 3.42" is the reply. "Three dollars and forty two cents an hour, when I count the 24/7 I am on duty."

"Yes, that is true," I say, "but think of the rewards." "What rewards?" with a sense of humor the camp staff retort. "Do you mean the dozens of mosquito bites? How about the aches and pains of new muscles used, a sprained ankle and a swollen knee? Do you mean the constant cleaning camp requires, or the hours of cooking in a hot kitchen?" "Do you count scrubbing the pool or being on work crew?"

"Those things may or may not bring satisfaction," I acknowledge, "But there are many rewards. At camp you meet strangers, who fast become your best friends. These are the friends you turn to all year round, texting and contacting through social media. They are the friends you turn to, especially when you are down."

"All summer you share, eat, and worship together. The outdoors is yours to explore. From mountain biking, to sumo-soccer, from wake boarding to outdoor survival, from the high ropes course to the pottery wheel, you are submerging yourself in trees, mud, water and fresh air. There are the hilarious times of acting in evening plays, of gut-wrenching laughs in the staff room, and the nightly Improv at the God's Appointed Place (GAP). Our cafeteria provides food unsurpassed across Canada: fresh fruits and vegetables and hardy, healthy food. (Occasionally they surprise us with bottomless fries, ketchup roast and chocolate drizzled cheesecake!) Stuart Mackie and his staff, although they work long hours on their feet, are appreciated as champions. Stuart and the kitchen staff know they are a key part of camp ministry."

"Through team building, the staff are aligned like the body of Christ. Through togetherness and support, there is a focus on the mission of reaching children through Camp Ministry. MVSC Staff are equipped to facilitate worship experiences, from outstanding music to sharing personal testimonies. The principles learned can be easily applied as they contribute to worship in the local church."

"As our staff build relationships with the children, trust develops and open questions are encouraged. This is purposeful evangelism unparalleled."

"If you are not hired in any given year, there is opportunity to be involved in the Staff In Training (SIT) program. The SIT, is a camper leadership program where one learns the responsibility of being a camp staff. An appointed regular staff mentors the SIT developing leadership skills and discipleship."

Mrs. Wahl continues, "One of the most amazing rewards is spending your summer with camp staff whose friendship changes the track of your entire life. Every so often that ends in a marriage."

Laura and Brandon Holland found all the above at summer camp and more! Laura reflects, "Camp offers the great opportunity to get to know people on a deeper level. You see each other at their best and definitely at their worst. I saw Brandon at 6:50 am worship with bed-head and he saw me full of sweat, mopping bathroom floors." Somewhere between Sergeant (the camp bus) and the office, between highly energized kids and homesick campers, Laura and Brandon's hearts found each other. Brandon continues the story, "Knowing that Laura was willing to give up a carefree summer to help kids develop confidence through activities made an impression on me. Watching Laura's positive, happy spirit, and seeing how committed she is to the spiritual growth of children, showed me a lot about her perspective on life." "For me," Brandon concludes, "I view working at MVSC as a sense of mission. It is a local mission trip each summer where I get to be one on one with kids and can share Jesus. I get to be a part of that first experience."For Brandon and Laura the rewards are Ever After! Even after wedding bells, Brandon is back this year again as Assistant Director.

What can one get from $3.42 an hour? A lifetime of tried and true friends, time-tested work ethic, leadership, resourcefulness, and initiative skills, an appreciation of the outdoors, the privilege of sharing Jesus with children and memories too amazing to be able to capture in any other environment. And most of all a closer relationship with Jesus.

By Pam Wahl, Camp Nurse