I’m lucky enough to have spent my last two summers in St. Thomas working with Humbly I Serve. My second summer as a counselor was just as amazing as my first. I was able to build on relationships I had developed the year before and create a stronger bond with the campers. Camp is my favorite part of the year.
As soon as I left St. Thomas last summer I began counting down the days until I returned. When my plane landed back on the island this summer I was greeted with endless hugs and “I missed ya mon”.
Working with these kids is the greatest joy I have ever known. It’s an incredible feeling when you find the reason for which you were created. One of my favorite camp moments was a cabin devotion I was able to have with my campers. It was one of those conversations that are completely unexpected but so memorable.
The girls in my cabin were between the ages of 11-13, just at the stage when temptation really begins to take hold. I heard girl after girl say that they were already ashamed of their appearance because it did not look like a girl from a magazine. This broke my heart. These girls then began to tell me that they HAD to dress provocatively, flirt and throw themselves at boys to get noticed. I could not handle it. This conversation made me realize why I come to St. Thomas; it is because these girls need to feel like they are valued for more than their appearance and learn that their value is found in the Lord.
I have met some of the most amazing people I have ever known while in St Thomas, and most of them are under 17 years old. The kids crave to play and be loved. The cool thing about these kids is that after about 20 minutes they are your best friend and climbing all over you. These island children of St. Thomas are crazy, but that is what makes them so great; they don’t hold back and treat you like a new acquaintance. You are immediately family and the bonding does not end when your plane leaves the island. My phone lights up every single day with texts, pictures and even Skype calls from St. Thomas.