Wednesday Words- on a Thursday!

Welcome to our June “Wednesday Words” Post!

    This month’s Guest Blogger is Rod Stilwell.  Every year Rod does a gazillion things  behind the scenes to help make Day Camps happen. He is our go-to Techie person for all sorts of audio-visual needs, he billets people and meets them at the airport, does a workshop during our Team Retreat, AND over the past number of Summers has generously “shared” at least one of his daughters with us for Travelling Team.
Here is his story, in his own words…….

 Reflections from a Day Camps Traveling Team Dad

As I write the blog post, I am reflecting upon the 18 years or so that have gone by as I watched my own children go from Scramblers to scrambling to get everything ready to begin another summer of Day Camps as a traveling team member. I remember my now 19 year old daughter as a scrambler (barely) coming home one day from our church Crosstalk day camp to announce that the kids at camp had told her that Santa Claus wasn’t real. I confess to being heartbroken, thinking that I had hoped that there might be still a few years left before the gentle world of childhood fantasy collided with the harsh world of reality. Still, I managed not to grimace too much as I asked what she had replied to her fellow campers. She stated, simply, “Well Dad, you know, it’s like believing in God. If you choose not to believe in God it doesn’t mean that there is no God, just that you don’t believe in Him. Everybody’s allowed to make a choice.” A rather astonishing observation from a sweet, little five year old.
Over the years I watched my daughters (3 out of 4 of them) grow through the camper years to become parish helpers and eventually traveling team members. As I watched them take on leadership roles, some of which were not very easy or pleasant, I realised that God was equipping them for the world around them. I have taught leadership skills on five continents and seen my share of great leaders and abysmal leaders, so watching my daughters take on leadership roles came with mixed emotions. I listened to the struggles they described as they were caught between their own traveling team members and local parish helpers, and I prayed that God would help them to filter their thoughts when they were with parish team members. I can only assume that God answered those prayers most of the time.
As a parent I have often told my children that some uncomfortable situation they were facing ultimately built character. And I still firmly believe that. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have watched three of my four daughters embrace various leadership roles in church and in day camps, and then in high school or in college or in university. And in each of those leadership roles, I could see the impact that learning to be a traveling team member had had on their leadership abilities. I have watched them jump in and take charge when everything seemed to be spiraling out of control. No different than speeding up the morning presentation when it looks like we might not get to devotions. Life will always have its challenges, and for the most part our biggest challenge ends up being people. Getting along with them. Learning to ignore some of them and embrace others. As a parent and leadership consultant, I know that my children will come face to face with all sorts of people in their lives, and the extent to which they manage those relationships in a God honouring way will set them apart from the crowd.


 I have witnessed tears of joy as a camper comes to know Jesus and tears of frustration as my daughters grew through their traveling team responsibilities and I believe that their experience as day camp traveling team members or leaders has given them more tools in their toolbox to navigate the choppy waters of relationships than any other experience they have had to date. Were they always happy leading day camps, of course not! Did they learn, grow, and discover more about themselves and life, absolutely!
And for that I give God the glory!
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