It happens in an instant. Your first major incident at summer camp. A collision of egos at midnight during your overnighter.
I remember a couple summers ago we had a summer camp student conflict escalate into a full blown fistfight. At the end of the day, nobody got sent home – because I’m quick to show grace at camp. Now, if there was a black eye, the students weren’t repentant, or it required a trip to the ER – maybe the punishment would be more severe. But two guys losing their tempers and control for a few brief moments isn’t worth sending someone home, not to me at least and in that moment of judgement call.
In the back of my mind I remember hearing about a boy at summer camp some 40 years ago – he was an unchurched, angry young man. He had kicked and punched water pipes in the boys bathroom because he was ticked that chapel time was required and he didn’t want to go. Although he probably deserved to go home for causing such significant damage, but someone showed him grace. A leader believed God was going to do something special with him at camp.
Two nights later, this boy accepted Christ. Years later, he would go on to be a pastor and raise amazing children, one of whom I would be fatally attracted to and have 4 children with. My father-in-law was shown incredible grace at summer camp one year, so my heart always leans that way when I’m at camp, too.
Here’s hoping those two boys walked away from camp changed forever. Be quick to show grace to your students, too!