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Archives YCV: What a privilege and a blessing!

Aug. 29, 2012

By Rachel Daly
Contributing Writer

It comes with the territory that as a counselor at Camp Guggenheim, I have taken my share of general misunderstanding as to why I spend my summers the way I do. I have been criticized for not making enough money, for disappearing into the Adirondack cell service Bermuda triangle seven weeks a year, and for “falling behind” as my classmates at school get internships and do things that will advance their future careers.
I’ve had friends insinuate that going back to a summer camp is immature and childish and that I should be moving on to bigger and better things.

I’ve had friends knit their brow and look at me with bewilderment when I describe the sleep deprivation, the steady diet of camp food (you can draw your own conclusions about what that’s like), and the constant state of having a mysterious combination of sweat, sand, kitchen residue, sunscreen, and glitter all over me.

I am perfectly comfortable with the fact that no one who has never been to Camp Guggenheim will ever understand what is so special about it. And so, these criticisms more or less roll off my back.
Because I don’t hesitate to say that what I have the blessing and privilege to do each summer is far and away the most important thing I’ve ever done with my life.

It could be the most important thing anyone does with his or her life, and it’s only more magnified for me in the summertime because I have the chance to do it in such a condensed and intensive way, and that is to give of myself to others.

This summer, I often prayed St. Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer for generosity, in which there is a line, “Teach me…to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest….”
I can honestly say that this pretty much summed up my job description, when I was lending out my blankets to chilly campers, or losing my sanity scratching at bug bites, or really just wishing for a nap. I leaned on that prayer, knowing that I needed all the grace I could get. But I can also say that, with it all said and done and with a few weeks passed since the camp season ended, this was all absolutely and totally worth it. Jesus wanted us to be fishers of men, and being a Guggenheim counselor gave me the privileged position of one at a time, “hooking” each of our campers in the way that he or she needed most.

For some, this was just making that camper a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when he couldn’t eat the camp food, and doing it with love. For others it was being a shoulder to cry on. For most, it was, together with all the staff, providing an environment free from the pressures and negative influences of teenage life in which to just have FUN. And if I might say so, we at Camp Guggenheim know a thing or two about how to have fun!

So as my summer draws to a close, I want to say thank you to each and every person who made it possible for a camper to come to Guggenheim. Your kids are fantastic, and I will vouch that every dollar spent and every ounce of energy it took to get your kids to camp bore fruit a hundredfold. And not only that, but every ounce of energy you give throughout the year to keep ministering to these incredible young people is equally important.
I pray that until next camp season, we may continue to maintain and grow all of the beautiful gifts that these young people possess, because they are absolutely bursting to be shared with the world.

photo by colleen Miner
Rachel Daly, left, of Peru; Samantha Fazioli, Saranac Lake and Eliza Zalis of Plattsburgh are shown at the "camp store" during Sunday registration  July 29, beginning the final  week of the 2012 Guggenheim camp season.

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