The Stick Ceremony
I had the privilege of serving a chaplain for Stone Week 2 this year at Stepping Stones Bible Camp. My camp name was Gimli. It is such a blessing to be able to be a part of this amazing camp. Teresa and Noah came up and stayed with me in the Maple Cabin.
Noah became a sort of mascot for the week, known as BamBam. Wifi (Teresa) mostly chased after BamBam all week; I don’t think it was as enjoyable for her 🙂
Both Kaitlyn and Meagan were campers this week, which presented a little bit of a challenge, as we had to act as we weren’t there as their parents…which is hard to do! You should have seen Kaitlyn’s face after we got home and I told her that she was related to her counsellour “Lilo” who is her second cousin once removed. I am not even sure Lilo realized that either.
If I could afford the time off (and nobody else wanted to serve), I would serve all 5 weeks. I love it that much. I wonder how my introversion would handle that much human interaction? Hmmm. Anyway, I digress.
Basically, the role of chaplain is to serve as the spiritual guidance for the week. We lead chapel, devotions, and open a few different ceremonies with Bible reading and prayer. If the staff have questions, or the counselors need advice, or even the campers, it is the chaplains role to bring the Word. We get to do a lot of praying with a lot of people. It is a truly wonderful experience.
At the end of the week is the “stick ceremony,” where we all sit around a campfire (which was just a couple of unlit logs this year due to the fire ban) and everyone gets to say one thing that they learned and what their favorite part of camp was. As I sat at the stick ceremony thinking about what my favorite part was, and listening to all the kids, staff, and counsellours, I realized very quickly, as emotions ran high and tears flowed (I fought back my own), that I was witnessing my favorite part. I was blown away by what I witnessed this week, as young people embraced their relationship with the saviour, and grew in their understanding of what that means for life. As the chaplain, it really made my week.
My second favorite part was the counsellour devotions, or “Devos” as we called them. At 7:45am each morning I was privileged to lead the staff and half of the sleepy counsellours in devotions. Of course everyone was barely awake (myself included) but it was so refreshing to start the day seeking the Lord in his Word with all these young people. For devotions I chose a text and chose a song or hymn related to it, to play with it. After listening to the song and reading the text, I spoke briefly about the text and then prayed. I also made a CD of the songs which I handed out to all the counsellours and staff. Since a couple people have asked about them, I have decided to post those devotions on the blog. Stay tuned for that.
If you have not considered serving at stepping stones, please do! There are still counsellours needed for this year. If you are a guy over the age of 20, please consider signing up to be a counsellour for Boulder week. It is blast. Just check out the craziness below!