Orientation is a ten day training period before the first week of camp where all of the summer’s counselors come together and learn the “How To’s” of being a camp counselor. The time is also used for the team members to grow as coworkers, and more importantly a community. The community that is formed during orientation week is often compared to that of a family. We learn to trust each other, love each other, and grow together as Christians. It is through this growth that we learn how to minister to the thousands of campers we see each summer.
Worship the first night of orientation lead by the Community UMC of Fruitland Park worship team
The week is set up with a number of training sessions taught by people who have either experienced the topic themselves, or have gone to school to learn of these topics and have extensive knowledge of these discussions. Some of these sessions include: How to care for exceptional campers, tough camper questions, worship etiquette, as well as a list of sessions that teach us how to adapt into counselor mode for 8 weeks. The week is designed to prepare team for whatever they may face in a summer at camp.
We also like to remind team of an old camp tradition by inviting Dr. Waite Willis to teach the leadership team how folk dancing looked back when he was working at camp. It is always a good reminder for team to know that camp existed before their time and that this ministry has existed for so long.
Bishop Ken Carter sharing a message of courage and creation with the Leadership Team
Every summer, leadership team is divided into a group of four or five individuals who become a small group for the summer. These small groups meet weekly where they discuss the previous week, the things they learned, and create goals for each week. It is a great way for team to continue growing in community and in their faith by encouraging each other, and learning from one another.
I like to compare team to a huge sports team or huge band. You wouldn’t put a band on stage or a team on the field without first giving them time to practice and form a certain chemistry. The same goes for team at camp. We all come to camp with different talents and different skills, but we learn how to put them together to form the best week possible for campers and ultimately lead campers to Christ for what could be the first time for many of them.