The students of St. James School surprise me by how much they’re learning and how fast they are growing every summer. Three summers ago most of the students were kids at our camp that were disorientated, scared, and didn’t understand why we had to attend chapel time every day. In this little time they have all blossomed into preteens that argue over who’s going to read the Gospel and help Mr. Kellner with the sermon, amazing campers while camping, and students who are determined to make a name for themselves no matter their race or their street name.
This summer was my favorite by far. I got to connect and continue my relationship with the children from Camp St. James. I smile and become overwhelmed with happiness when I remember this summer. This summer I met Tamiyah, a girl that many classmates label mean and harsh but I got to see a completely different side to this beautiful little girl. I got to see the Tamiyah that was yearning for someone to take her hand and go on a hiking trip with her, I got to see the girl who was looking for someone to sing “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars with her during the talent show but was afraid of peoples’ comments, I got to see the girl that yelled out of fear at 2 AM for me when a thunderstorm caused her to wake up and get frightened while camping in tents. I got to see God’s beautiful creation through one girl that many had turned their backs on and just blamed it on her attitude. She taught me that everyone has to laugh during a thunderstorm and that a child’s prayer can go a long way. Many have said that I connected to Tamiyah’s life and even go as far to say that I have changed her life, but I would respectfully disagree and say she has changed mine.
To me, City Camp isn’t just a summer escape; it is home. It’s where I feel like I’m doing God’s work and where I get to see God’s work done through a group of unique campers that have forever impacted my life.
Maria Bautista Vargas is a biology major at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC. An avid musical lover, Maria was born in NYC and raised in the Dominican Republic. She served on City Camp staff as a Counselor at Camp St. James during the 2013 camping season.
Applications to work at City Camp during the summer of 2014 are now open. You can find more information on working at City Camp, including job descriptions and an application, under the "Summer" tab above. Questions can be directed to Victoria Hoppes, Associate for Youth & Camping Ministries, at firstname.lastname@example.org.