leadership lessons at camp

There are experiences in our lives where we are fully aware that we’re learning some big lessons and it’s going to make a change in who we are. I had one of those last week at Birchwood Camp.

I got to serve as the dean of our 4-6th grade camp for the week. It was extra meaningful for me since this was the first camp I attended in Alaska as a 9 year old almost twenty years ago. I had a staff of 17 counselors which included 6 summer interns, 7 counselors from my last church in Ohio and 4 local counselors. I learned some important things last week…

Trusting the Holy Spirit & the gifts in someone else
I quickly realized how capable the counselors were going to be. I inherently trusted them. I trusted the presence of the Holy Spirit in these people. I knew God could use them to love campers. It didn’t have to be me doing it all. There have been times earlier in my ministry where I didn’t always trust God in the people around me. I still felt the need to do things my way, which to me, is a sign of immaturity and childishness.

But it’s an amazing feeling to truly believe the gifts in other people will get the job done. What a freeing feeling! I think this one piece influenced the rest of the week because I was relaxed, flexible and adaptive to needs as they arose.

I still need to work on coaching when things could have gone better. I have difficulty finding the words for that sometimes.

I continue to learn the dirty little secret of leadership. Most people get into a field because they love getting their hands dirty and getting involved. But as the organization grows, leaders must emerge to lead others. That usually means you get removed from the day to day activities that you fell in love with in the first place. I didn’t like this lesson the first time I learned it. It didn’t seem fair.

Now I understand more and more how joyful it can be to watch others succeed.


Leaders let others lead.


Here’s a video from our week at camp…enjoy!

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