Summers at Charis Hills Camp are a time in which lives can change. I have spent three summers in Sunset, Texas getting a prized Chaco tan, encouraging campers to try new foods, and to make sure the bathroom door was cracked just a little so the cabin wasn’t too dark at night for campers. Like the majority of the counselors who come to work at camp, I was a college student for my first two summers. When I graduated from college, had completed my second summer, and moved out of state, I had assumed my Charis Hills chapter was over. However, every summer following, my heart was home sick for camp. I’d made up excuses as to why I couldn’t go back. Fast forward a little and two full summers had come and gone and I hadn’t been there. I had lunch with a counselor friend of mine and we talked about camp. At that point, I started praying and seeking God’s guidance. God led me back to camp that following summer, back home. There were some new faces and familiar ones. Campers I had know during kids week a few summers back were now tall teenagers. One of the reasons I love camp, it is a place I can truly be myself. I believe the campers know this, too.
The biggest reason I returned to camp is because of the campers. Charis, in Greek, means Grace and Acceptance. Kids and teens who may feel out of place can be heard and accepted in camp. During my first summer as a counselor, we had a camper request to be baptized at camp. He had already made the decision to accept Christ at home. Our camp founder, Rand, explained to the camp, as we sat on the beach of the lake, that though we normally don’t baptize campers at camp because it is encouraged that they be baptized at there home church. This camper wanted to be baptized in front of his fellow campers because they were like his church family. He wanted to share the most important decision of his life with those he felt at home with. With the permission of his parents, he was baptized.
To conclude, Charis Hills is like a haven to campers and counselors, alike. This camp in the country shows us who God is, who we are, what we are capable of, and true friendships. I am thankful for Charis Hills.
Counselor Hope O 2013, 2014, and 2017
Charis Hills Camp is a place for children with HF Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD and other learning differences can find a place of encouragement where they can safely build skills for life. Located in Sunset, TX, Rand and Colleen Southard teach counselors and campers how to show grace and acceptance to all. For more information go to: http://www.charishills.org
Why I Continue to Be a Counselor at Charis Hills Camp February 5, 2018