10 May 2016

Monkeys, art and partying… Sandy’s seen it all as a leader on 29 camps

Posted in Camp life

Volunteers are on the frontline. They are the hands and feet that help kids in our community.

This week is National Volunteer Week… and we want to take this opportunity to say a massive ‘THANK YOU’ to everyone who pours out their lives into helping children and youth.

Sandy is one of our many volunteers, and he’s what you’d call a veteran camp leader.

Ever since he got a taste of camps in high school, he’s been hooked… and now he’s been a leader on 29 camps!

Sandy’s first SU Camp was Winter SMADD in 2008, and he remembers it like it was yesterday.

“I came as a Grade 12 student, and that camp became a turning point in my life and walk God. The leaders made such a big impact on my life and God used them to get through to me in a way that hadn’t happened before,” he says.

Straight away, Sandy saw how important camps could be in the lives of teenagers and young people, so volunteering as a leader was a bit of a “no­-brainer”.

“I became involved in Winter SMADD, GENTS and Sunny Coast Schoolies. One of the things I love about SU Camps is that each one is so different. GENTS is absolutely crazy, constantly go-go-­go, and outrageously fun and active. SMADD is an arts camp, so the fun is in connecting with campers through their art form. Schoolies is designed to be a week of partying, so there is so much to do, and it’s the perfect place to form meaningful connections with graduating kids,” he says.

So why does Sandy keep coming back every year?

“For starters, it’s the people,” he says. “I’ve met some of the most extraordinary, inspiring, and fun people I know through SU Camps – including my fiancée!

“It’s also the opportunity to do something different than a typical church experience while still engaging with God, and some of the most meaningful moments in my journey have happened on these camps.

“But most of all, I’m constantly drawn back to SU Camps because God is clearly using them to make a difference in the lives of young people, and I can’t help wanting to be a part of that!”

Last month, Sandy returned from a GENTS camp in Zambia run by Seeds of Hope.

“I never would have thought the experience of SU Camps would lead me to do the same thing for orphaned kids in Africa,” Sandy says.

“Apart from the monkeys that stole our paint on camp, or the escaped crocodile that was roaming the campsite, or the safari walk to see giraffes and antelopes, or the multi­lingual worship times… my favourite part of camp was definitely the moment all 26 of the Zambian boys decided they wanted to make a change in their life and in their country by choosing to follow God.

“I remember being struck with gratitude that God would allow us to come halfway around the world to be a part of something He so clearly wanted to happen.”

If you’re interested in becoming a camp leader like Sandy, click here for more information.


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