It was my turn in the circle of thirty-something to introduce myself, “Hello, my name is AJ, I am from Sandton Bible Church and one interesting fact about me is that I play the flute.” “Hi AJ,” the thirty-something enthusiastic teenagers and young adults replied. I remember thinking “If I had ever gone to pre-school, this is what it would have been like.” It was team building time at camp. After registration and dumping our stuff in our dorms, we had all been called to the field where we were split into 6 large groups: the people we would spend the majority of our time around for that week. This was the start of Summer Camp.
A large group
This year we had over 250 teenagers attend WOLZA Summer Camp (to put this into perspective, I think we had about 150 last year). With this many teenagers, we had to split ourselves over two of the campsites. Meetings were held in an overflowing room but meals had to be divided between two separate dining halls. We used 5 blocks of 10 dormitories in each of those camps, and often the tuck shop line was so long that there wasn’t enough time to serve everyone in the allotted time slot. As you can see, it was packed.
Because there was such a large group, the whole week was very loud. It was especially loud whenever there was competition involved; which was pretty much all the time. I have never been on such a competitive camp before. We were required to sit with our teams during meals and meetings. Each meal had a challenge that you were supposed to do with your table/team and often earned you points. There were war-cry competitions and two game sessions a day. There were even noise competitions! Towards the end of camp the 6 teams were merged into 3 to mix things up a bit. In the end, my team came last but I was happy for my friends from church because the vast majority of them were in the winning team.
Generally, it wasn’t even between teams but within teams. I unfortunately got a bit too competitive on the second night and had a fight with one of my dorm mates. It was not a very pleasant experience and it was wrong of me to react to her the way that I did but afterwards we were able to forgive each other and we are now good friends. God used the experience to remind me that true character shows in difficult situations and that I must check my heart. He also reminded me to humble myself after I have messed up and to go apologize. Through it I was able to learn a valuable lesson for which I am grateful.
The theme for camp was Survivor and our messages were based on this theme. A family friend, Francois Jardine, was our main speaker for the week and he spoke on five aspects of surviving: A True Survivor, Surviving Temptation, Surviving Peer Pressure, Surviving Friendships, and Surviving Parents and Siblings. The messages were challenging and helped me to think about the areas I need to work on in my own life.
Overall, the week was a successful one. I came back feeling challenged and encouraged to live for Christ in new and exciting ways. I can’t wait to see what He does in the lives of all 250 campers from last week.