When I signed up to attended youth camp last year, I wasn’t sure what to think. All of my friends told me it would be a blast and that my life would be changed forever. Unfortunately, reality was far different for me. Youth camp didn’t inspire me or radically transform me; it left me drained, discouraged, and with more questions than answers. Looking back, I realize that my horrible experience was no one’s fault but my own.
Here are 4 mistakes I made that caused me to feel this way:
I knew that plenty of kids my age had fun at youth camp. But I was still skeptical. The whole time, I was critical of every little thing. I complained about everything, from the quality of the food to the “lameness” of the games. Instead of looking forward to the day’s events, I dreaded getting out of bed each morning. I think a positive attitude could’ve drastically changed my experience.
I think one of the biggest mistakes I made was being unwilling to participate in activities. There were so many opportunities to get involved and make new friends. But instead of stepping outside my comfort zone, I kept to myself and ended up feeling lonely and disengaged – the opposite of what was supposed to happen.
At the time of registration, I didn’t fully know what I was getting into. From the way everyone talked, I thought youth camp was supposed to be a week of fun and games – kind of like a vacation. And so during the week, while the games were entertaining, I was bored and disappointed when it was time to actually learn about God. I didn’t realize that there was a bigger picture. Instead of coming for spiritual growth, I came expecting everyone to cater to me. And I was mistaken.
The whole time I was at youth camp, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the worries I had back at home. What if I didn’t pass my math class? What if my family kept fighting forever? What if I never find “the one?” All these things kept me from enjoying the here and now. I know now that these events are meant to ease those anxieties, not fuel them. If I would’ve just focused on God and not all my other problems, I might’ve had a better time.
If I could go back in time, I would definitely do all these things differently. It was my own stubborn heart that stopped from me enjoying youth camp. I’ve since learned that an event is what you make of it. So, if you ever go to youth camp, make the most of it. Be sure to learn from my mistakes, and I hope you have that awesome experience that everyone talks about!
Special thanks to Greenview Bible Camp for sponsoring this article.