Thursday, April 17, 2014

Campus by the Sea

Happy Happy Thursday to everyone! Today’s blog is going to be about my home away from home, and my happy place, Campus by the Sea.

For those of you that do not know about Campus by the Sea (CBS), it is a year round Intervarsity Camp located on Catalina Island off the coast of Long Beach. It is located in a quiet, secluded cove near Avalon, California. Their goal is to invite guests to step away from the busyness of life and experience God’s rest. I was so fortunate to be able to work there last summer and I’m going to tell you a little bit about my experience.
Birds eye view of the cove

            Last year, only 6 hours after graduating high school I boarded a boat to Catalina Island and began a summer that I would never forget. During the summer, Campus by the Sea hosts family camp that lasts 6 weeks. Families from all over the United States come to CBS to get closer to God, grow as a family, swim, snorkel, hike, and get to know other people. Last summer was a life changing summer for me for four reasons: I got to experience God’s love in a new way, it was my first time living somewhere without my parents, I built relationships with people that I love so much, and I got to live ON the beach. What more could I ask for?
Now do you understand why I love this place?
I love them
  At Campus by the Sea, there are three different summer volunteer opportunities available: Kitchen, Crew, and Program. I was the opportunity to be a part of Crew! Crew is in charge of keeping camp clean, doing chores around camp, and keeping people safe down at the beach. My daily routine consisted of doing morning chores, bringing in boxes of groceries from Avalon, cleaning the bathrooms, taking out the trash, and lifeguarding. I am not going to lie, being on crew was hard sometimes. The days were very long, and doing chores all day gets boring. Although it wasn’t the ideal job, it helped me reflect on the reason why I was there: TO SERVE! Since I was unable to call home, I would write letters to my family. In one of my letters I said, “I just remember that I am serving people, and that’s how I would get through my days, and I LOVE the people”. This job required putting others before myself and spread God’s love through serving.  Although there were three different areas at camp to work, we still all had the common goal of serving others. Each job is equally as important as the next one. Although I was there to bless people, I ended up being blessed myself.
Me and my girls!
After a long day of work, standing on dry ice for a quick photo is necessary.
            One of the most unique things about working at a summer camp is living in community with so many different people. It is such a great opportunity to get to know everyone and learn from one another. The CBS staff truly impresses me, everyone has a heart to serve and that’s what makes this group so special. There are times when you miss your family but there is always someone there for you when you need to talk. People are constantly encouraging you to keep moving. Throughout my life, the only Christian community I have really been apart of was my church group. It was nice to actually live with people who are living their life the same way I am. When I am on the mainland, it is hard to find encouragement because there are many people who believe something different things. At my school, you are pushed into this melting pot of non-believers. Don’t get me wrong, there are Christians at my school but it’s hard to find them. When I went to Campus by the Sea, I was (for the first time) completely surrounded by a Christian community for a long period of time. I had the opportunity to relate with people on a completely different level, and for that I am thankful for.
This was taken after a shore line hike to Avalon!
My five mile hike to avalon

            I am excited to announce that I will be returning to Campus by the Sea this summer to be a part of program staff. I will be spending my summer teaching kids about Jesus, building relationships kids, and spreading God's love. Word cannot describe how excited I am to see how God is going to work in each person this summer. I am so grateful to be able to return to Campus by the Sea and be a part of such an amazing staff. If I know anything about this summer it is that GOD IS GOING TO MOVE!!
A gnarly swimsuit tan!

When I am on the island this summer I will be posting hopefully on a weekly basis. So keep an eye out for updates of my time at Campus by the Sea. COMING MID JUNE!
Hand in My Pocket by Alanis Morissette on Grooveshark