As soon as I experienced the craziness and life-change of Pine Cove for the first time in the seventh grade, I knew I wanted to go back every summer. As I was going into my final year of camp, I decided, for my senior year, I wanted to do the two-week program at the Shores: Overflow. As soon as my parents signed me up, I started a countdown on my phone. Throughout the school year, I was constantly talking about camp to my friends on social media—so much so that I received the “Share-It Stick” in the mail from Pine Cove. I loved camp. It was a place I felt like I could be fully myself and was encouraged to grow in my relationship with the Lord.
Once I finally got to Overflow Session C in the summer of 2014, I jumped out of my mom’s SUV and sprinted into Momotombo 3. I remember our counselor came in and I screamed, “Are you kidding me, this is going to be the best two weeks EVER!” because it happened to be my counselor from Winterfest, “Ya Girl Mav Fairy.”
Over the next two weeks, I learned what it meant to surrender my anxieties and sin to the Lord. In high school, I tried to maintain the perfect image of “having it all together” and made sure everyone thought I didn’t struggle. During my two weeks at Overflow and in hangtimes with my counselor, I confessed the sin I was walking through. She reminded me of the truth that we serve a loving God who welcomes our brokenness and never forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5-6). I learned my worth is not in my accomplishments or an image I want to have—but in the work of the cross because, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8)
Those two weeks changed the trajectory of my life. The Lord used Overflow to teach me who He is and who that makes me. He showed me my strength isn’t enough. I need true grace, hope, and joy that comes from Him alone.
Since my first summer as a camper, I wanted to work at Pine Cove. After my freshman year of college, I joined the Shores summer staff as a counselor and had the opportunity to have an Overflow cabin during Session E. As soon as my sophomore campers got out of their cars, they were screaming, hugging each other, and telling me how excited they were to be back at camp. I saw so much of myself in each one of them.
Our director, Fish Face, always tells us, “Shared emotion builds trust,” and that’s exactly what going for Spirit Stick and Pit N’ Palace almost every single day for two weeks did for my cabin. Walls were broken down and I was able to invest in their lives and speak truth into them, just as my counselor had done for me two summers ago.
At the end of those two weeks, I was more exhausted, yet more fulfilled than I’ve ever been. Serving, praying, and jumping alongside those campers for two weeks was the greatest blessing I never saw coming.
Over the past three years, I watched the girls grow at camp, share the Gospel in Bible studies in their hometowns, and even make a meme page for me (@treatsyoselftosomememes). They coined the term the “Crusty Campers” and sold t-shirts to raise money for Pine Cove’s scholarship fund. These girls are the real deal! Just ask Fish Face. They made sure to give him a free “Christ, Crust, Camp” t-shirt as soon as they arrived this summer.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to be their senior counselor for their final session of Overflow. During those two weeks, these girls found freedom in Christ, went for the spirit-stick (every day, once again), and learned even more about who God calls them to be.
The Lord used the Overflow program to impact my life—not only as a camper but as a summer staffer for four summers. As a high school student, there is something unique about removing yourself from your daily routine for two weeks to dive into His word and be poured into by Pine Cove staff from all different backgrounds. As a summer staffer, it is an incredible blessing to walk alongside high school girls and share the life-changing truth of the Gospel. I am incredibly grateful the Lord allowed me to be poured into through this program, as well as have a front-row seat to the life-change happening in the lives of my campers.
Posted Aug 1, 2019