Kyle’s green eyes faded into the setting sun.  His fingers dug further into the wet sand as he thought about my question.

KYLE: “I guess it’s what I’ve been talking about with you all week…”
ME: “Your friends at Perry Hall…”
KYLE: “I miss them… and the school year hasn’t even started.”

As dusk rained down, I prayed for Kyle there on the beach.  At first, Kyle uncomfortably shuffled his feet in the sand – clearly he wasn’t accustomed to someone actually saying a prayer out loud on his behalf – but at the end, he said quietly, “Thanks, I appreciate that.”

I’d known Kyle for a year – at least, I thought I knew him.  He had come to Campus Life since the fall, and had even come to our weekend conference.  But this week at camp had given me the opportunity to pull aside with Kyle and really hear his story.  Usually guarded at club meetings, Kyle opened up that week.  Something about being removed from his home life had disarmed Kyle, freeing him from his usual m.o. (keeping it inside and being the class clown)

Summer camp gives us space to really hear students’ stories – and to connect them to God’s story.  It gives students space to breathe, space to see their lives at home from “outside the fishbowl.”  Space… no other event throughout the year offers this gift.

And I remember… that this is why I gave my life to youth ministry.

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