On this particular day, the counselors for Shrine Mont Camps arrive on the mountain. Though ahead of these young people lies a long week of consideration, exploration and preparation, as they arrive at camp they will feel nothing but pure and ecstatic joy. These counselors have been anticipating this day for months; they have been anxiously counting down until the moment when they could not only be reunited with dear friends (and forge new and lasting relationships) but also begin to actually consider the wonder, the challenge and the unexpected that awaits them this summer. In the same way that our campers often excitedly pack for camp long before their session begins, our counselors dream about the day when they can finally step into the role for which they have been making themselves ready. Whether these young people grew up attending Shrine Mont Camps or some equivalent thereof or whether this is their first foray into the world of camp counseling, each one of them will likely be changed forever by this summer. They have given up trips to the beach, music festivals, competitive internships or summers abroad to devote their time to the children who will be in their care throughout the summer. They have traded ‘real-world’ experience for low pay, long days and a lack of air-conditioning (despite the common misconception, however, that being a camp counselor does not necessarily qualify as ‘real work’, we would argue that time spent working at summer camp will prepare these young adults for the real world in ways that making coffee and sorting mail never could.).
It’s hard to imagine the ways in which we will all be changed by 2016 Shrine Mont Camps, but we hope that you will stick with us throughout the summer and revel in each moment, life-changing or not. There will certainly be ‘large’ moments which test us- our patience and our grace- and those which lift us higher than we thought possible; these pivotal instances will also be accompanied by ‘smaller’ moments of laughter, kindness and growth which are almost unrecognizable. Though these ‘large’ moments may define the summer, the ‘small’ ones will carry us through in the meantime. It is our hope that through the Shrine Mont Camps blog, you can experience a variety of these moments yourself, both large and small. It is our hope that you will share your personal experiences of largeness or smallness with us, as well. It is our hope that you feel the love of the mountain through our words, photos and prayers- whether you are able to join us on the mountain or not. And, ultimately, it is our hope that Shrine Mont Camps can offer to you what we have been so lucky to receive from y’all- a multitude of beautiful moments, both large and small.