It’s a rite of passage. You’re too old to pay to be a camper, but too young to get paid to be on staff. Oh, that magical summer before your senior year in high school known as your crew summer.
All work. No pay.
In the old days, they guys and gals all pitched in doing kitchen duty together, but things look much different now. Crew has evolved into Work Crew for the girls (mostly pulling kitchen duty) and Program Crew for the dudes (mostly taking out trash, filling up water coolers and setting up/breaking down everything for everything).
But the crew summer is so much more than that. Something magical happens when you sweat and grow spiritually alongside another. We caught up with two former rock star Work Crew Bosses to hear their thoughts on the whole crew experience.
Danielle Jamison Lochte did her summer of Work Crew service back in 2001, after working her way up through LLYC, summer after summer, as a camper at Singing Hills, then Echo Valley.
“My summer on Work Crew was an absolute shock,” says Lochte. “I showed up thinking I had experience “working hard” but quickly found out I was wrong. in all my years as a camper, i had never stopped to think about how much work went into preparing, setting up, and cleaning up after each meal. Being asked to work diligently for over 9 hours a day, 6 days a week, showed me that I could work even when no one was watching or said thank you. The verse “…as in working for the LORD and not for men” began to take on flesh as i sweated and washed and carried endlessly. It may have been one of the single most influential experiences as I went on to marry and have three children, endlessly sweating, washing and carrying once more.”
Danielle went on to be a counselor the following few summers, then returned to the Singing Hills kitchen as a Work Crew Boss in 2005.
“I experienced joy in work and in working together. That the LORD sees us in all of our toils, that they are good in his sight, and that using time wisely to accomplish mammoth tasks, like washing hundreds of dishes after a meal, is not that far off from what I must do today, tackling daily tasks around my house and disciplining my own time.” Lochte continues, ” I am forever grateful for the time i spent in the SH kitchen and i look forward to my own children returning from their crew summers one day changed as well.”
Faith Danielson was on camp staff 2013-2016. She spent her final summer as a Work Crew Boss at LLFC’s Headwaters.
Faith shares, “I believe Work Crew is essential to the camp experience because it is a big, humbling step of actually practicing the faith in Jesus that we sing and talk about at camp. To be poured into at camp is wonderful; to pour out and serve in a sometimes monotonous and thankless role is beautiful, good and difficult. Work Crew is a summer for exposing areas in our hearts where we think we are self-sufficient and reminding us that we need so much grace, and a Christlike community around us, to do Kingdom work well. We, as the body of Christ, are created to be a family and worship God and love each other sacrificially with our heart, soul, mind and body. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, that looks like finding joy in trash runs or a meticulously set Ranch House, believing He is cultivating a heart inside us that is more like His.”