Summer Mission Intern Stories: A Fool For Christ

Nicole Cronin, one of our 2017 summer mission interns who served as a Day Camp Counselor, first heard about ARM after meeting Joe at a career fair held at her university.

Nicole gives us the 411 on her summer experience. Nicole says, “It was exciting and challenging to serve as a Day Camp Counselor at the Livingston, AL site. We took care of high school and middle school teams and led nightly worship for them every night. During the day, we ran a summer camp for underprivileged 5 to 10 year olds that live in the area.”

Like others, Nicole’s summer experience helped her to grow. She says, “I grew more confident in myself. There were plenty of times when I thought to myself that I needed to find an adult who knew what to do, but there wasn’t one. I was the adult, and it pushed me to step up and handle things that I didn’t think that I was capable of doing before. The experience also taught me to trust in God. He helped me with the things I couldn’t handle myself and gave me the faith to keep going.”

There are many memorable moments that Nicole enjoyed from the summer. Nicole says, ” I think some of my most memorable moments were with the kids. They’re sassy and most definitely a handful, but they are really good kids. My favorite days were Thursdays because it was water day. The kids were so excited to play with the sprinkler system in the park. One moment in particular I can think of was playing duck-duck-splash. It was basically duck-duck-goose, but the goose got a sponge full of water squeezed on his or her head. We were playing and this particular kid was pouting because he hadn’t been chosen yet, so I pointed this out to the girl who was it. She dunked the sponge deep in the bucket, and the pouting kid got drenched. But he was giggling and all smiles afterwards. It was adorable.”

As a Day Camp Counselor, Nicole had many duties. Some of her duties were:

  • Pray (A lot)
  • Create lesson plans for the summer (especially for weeks without teams)
  • Plan and buy snacks for snack time
  • Plan and put on a parents meeting before the summer starts
  • Get supplies and set up the classrooms with your supplies
  • Maintain the budget
  • Plan the schedule for Thursday water days
  • Run the Day Camp (You’d think this would be higher on the list)
  • Enforce the rules (Be responsible, Be respectful, Be safe, Be prepared)
  • Work with the teams to determine activities and plans for the week. (Some will be very prepared and some won’t. You’ll have to figure out how to make the best of every situation)
  • Make tons of adjustments to all of the above plans to suit your kids needs (You’ll find out pretty quick what works and doesn’t work)
  • Send out thank up cards to the sponsors for the Day Camp
  • Plan the field trip/ budget the field trip
  • Lead the field trip
  • Plan the summer celebration, get the kids ready for the summer celebration, and get supplies for the summer celebration
  • Write devotional(s)
  • Do morning devotional every morning with the middle/ high schoolers
  • Make sure they have their lunches (I was the lunch captain)
  • Plan out and participate in nightly worship
  • Supervise cleaning procedures every week
  • Supervise meal prep
  • Help out where needed

“This list looks pretty scary, but you won’t be doing all this on your own. You’re going to have an awesome team of amazing people working with you every step of the way.” When asked what her favorite duties were, Nicole says, “I enjoyed meal prep and worship time with the teams of middle schoolers and high schoolers because I felt that I really got to talk with them and see them grow in their relationship with God.”

Nicole also has some advice for future Day Camp Counselors:

Be patient. In training we talk about ways to work with kids and lead them down the right path when we need to, but it’s different talking about it than actually facing a teary child throwing a tantrum because so-and-so pushed him. Be flexible. Like I said before in the duties, you’re going to have to make tons of adjustments to suit your kids needs. Allergies? You have to prepare allergen-free snacks. ADHD? Don’t freak out when she can’t stay engaged. Better yet? Find ways to keep her attention. Running over schedule? Adjust. Be faithful. Pray for the kids. They really need it, like all of us do. Make sure that in all of the chaos that God is first.

When asked what her most valuable lesson was, Nicole says, ” The most valuable lesson learned was to be a “fool for Christ” and just trust that God can get me through even the most difficult times.”

Check out www.arm-al.org/summerstaff to find out more about our summer mission internships! Applications for summer 2018 are being accepted now!

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