– John 15:5
In Jesus’ teaching on the Vine and the Branches, He talked about producing fruit that remains. Each year as campers board their buses to head home after a week at Promise Camp, the questions in the hearts of the counselors are, “Did we do enough to make Jesus real to Johnny or Jasmine? Did we plant fruit that will remain?” In some cases, the answer to that question may never be known. But sometimes we get to see the fruit! At Promise Camp 2016 two of our staff, serving as Co-Counselors, have been former campers!
Antoine is now 17 years old. He attended Promise Camp each summer from 2009 to 2013 and was in the Outpost leadership program for the past 2 years. Unlike many of our campers, Antoine’s life at home has been relatively stable and without trauma. Maybe because of that and also because of his familiarity with camp, he had developed a bit of a prideful, arrogant attitude. Having seen huge potential in this young man, Camp Director Brett pulled him aside as he arrived for Outpost last season and challenged him to address his attitude and prove that he had matured. As Brett later said, “he did not disappoint!” Even though he was assigned to the kitchen/cleaning team for his practicum week as a “real time” Camp staffer, he served well and with a joyful attitude. For that, he was invited to return this summer as a full time Co-Counselor!
At age 18, Angelina’s story has been quite different. She lives in a rough neighborhood and has suffered emotional abuse at home. She puts up a tough front, but when she lets her guard down, she has a big heart. Angelina was in the Outpost leadership program for the past two years. The first year she seemed to lack enthusiasm for the challenges that program presents to its young participants. But last year, she came ready for the two weeks of leadership training and showed that she was learning how to realize the potential others had seen in her. In her third week practicum, Angelina moved right into her place as a help to the Senior Counselor with grace and humility. She is definitely ready for her position as Co-Counselor this summer!
Learning to Lead and to Follow
Every year, Promise Camp is designed to give each camper (7 to 14 years old) the opportunity to have outrageous fun as well as learning some team- and trust-building skills, and, most of all, hearing about the love of God as shown in His Son Jesus. The Outpost campers (14 to 17) are challenged at higher levels. They learn how to articulate discipleship in their individual lives, how to become comfortable praying aloud and gaining a working knowledge of Scripture. They learn how to lead and how to follow a leader, as they set goals that will help them realize their strengths and weaknesses so they will know how they can individually be effective leaders – at camp, and in their day-to-day lives.
These, and many other stories, attest to Family Guidance’s ministry of giving Pittsburgh’s youth a hope and a future as they learn about their identity in Christ, the True Vine Who produces good fruit – fruit that remains. Your support helps to unlock the potential in teens like Antoine and Angelina as they experience the love and healing of Christ, and learn to abide and bear fruit for the Kingdom.