By: Luke Ganger
“EAGLE LAKE CAMPS!” screamed my friend in response to hearing the camp mentioned—on the other side of a crowded, chatter-filled room of college students. I looked at her in surprise, and found myself thinking, “What an odd way to respond to a sweet hiking location.”
I’ve lived in Colorado all my life, and for me, Eagle Lake was little more than a great place to go hiking. But then I signed up to be a counselor, and things quickly changed. Riding in a bus full of new counselors “ooing” and “aahing” on the ride to orientation at Eagle Lake Camps reminded me of the wonder of God’s creation. When we arrived at the top of the mountain, I realized that Eagle Lake was more than a hiking destination. Eagle Lake Camps is a community of high-energy, friendly, Jesus-loving young adults with one purpose: spreading this enthusiasm for the gospel to all they encounter.
At Eagle Lake Camps staff orientation, for the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who didn’t focus on my imperfections, but authentically offered to help me in personal growth. As a child, I’d opt out of crafts because they were “childish” and not participate in games for fear that the spectators would realize my lack of skills. I realized that if I were a young camper today, I would be thrilled to be around this group of people and I would have fallen in love with the fact that the true source of all this authentic love is Jesus. I knew in that moment that I was exactly where I was supposed to be for the summer.
After orientation, I was part of an Eagle Lake Day Camp On Location team traveling to Missouri. We spent one week at each of nine churches connecting with kids from different backgrounds and telling them that they are loved so much more than they ever knew. Caring for these kids was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve experienced. I loved having the opportunity to teach kids that God sees each and every one of them as equal, loved, and cherished.
I sat down with an 8-year-old boy and affirmed that he doesn’t need to beat the highest score in a game or conquer the world to be important. He already is. I shared with a young girl that regardless of what the others in her class think of her, she is adored by her heavenly Father who thought her worthy of sending His perfect Son to die in her place.
Throughout the summer, I loved seeing kids’ faces light up with contagious joy at the idea of being able to go out into the world and tell others about how Jesus’ love saved them.
Now when I yell “EAGLE LAKE CAMPS!” across a room, I hope someone is wondering why I am yelling. Of course, once you understand the impact of Eagle Lake Camps, it’s not odd at all. The joy of sharing the love of God is worth screaming from the mountain tops for all to hear.
Pray for the 10,300 campers and 280 college students who will attend Eagle Lake Camps this summer, that they will find unconditional love in relationship with Jesus. Pray for the counselors and staff who work together to bring the hope of the gospel to kids each week.