Ten years ago, Jaime’s pastor sent her to Camp Asbury as a guinea pig to see how the children of her congregation would respond to a week at camp. It was a successful experiment.
Jamie would have never described herself as the charismatic, outgoing, and unspoken leader of a group or cabin. She would have described herself as a very shy and quiet camper, a follower, afraid to step out of her comfort zone.
Jamie spent nearly ten years as a camper, and as soon as she was old enough, she became a Counselor in Training (CIT). Our CIT program allows campers to learn through a tailored version of staff training and work directly with camper groups to get hands-on experience as a counselor. Through the program, Jaime was encouraged to step outside of the comfort zone of a shy, quiet camper as she worked on team-building skills, understood Camp Asbury’s supervision policies, learned how to embrace different personalities, and unlocked leadership skills she did not know were within her. When a CIT finishes the program, they are invited to volunteer later that summer if they are interested in doing so. Not every CIT opts to come back and volunteer, but Jaime did. She remembers her volunteer week fondly as one of great fun and immense growth.
Jaime’s time as a CIT has been instrumental for her in many ways. “It gave me the skills to become a leader,” Jamie said, “something I would never describe myself as before. Those leadership skills paved the way for me to take on a much larger leadership role within the United Methodist Church, becoming the President of the Conference Council of Youth Ministries for the East Ohio Conference. In this role, I not only plan and execute the Youth Annual Conference but use my platform to ensure that the voices of the youth of the UMC are heard.” Jaime graduated high school in the spring and began her college journey in the fall. Her time in Asbury’s CIT program not only inspired her leadership but it also inspired her vocation, igniting a love of working with children and a passion for education.
Jaime is one of the many campers who participated in Camp Asbury’s CIT program and found its impact to last more than just the summer. It is shaping her life. Your generosity allows us to offer our CIT programs at Camp Asbury for the hundreds of campers who come here every summer. Thank you.