Summer time is a great opportunity for teachers to rest and rejuvenate. We can lay aside the daily demands of the classroom, reflect on the past school year, and begin brainstorming for the year to come. I love summer break, but do miss being around my students.
However, this summer, I got the opportunity to have one of those truly heart-warming moments that I usually only experience in my classroom. You teachers know what I’m talking about -- those moments that make all the less pleasant ones fade away: When you see a student truly succeed or enjoy an exciting, first-time experience.
As many church youth groups do, we attended a week-long camp full of all the typical camp activities (i.e., games, swimming, mud pits, zip-lining) as well as daily services. To my absolute joy, M. joined us! Honestly, I was concerned about how he would do; camp is a very social place. It only took about two days for me to realize that my concerns were unjustified. M. was out there introducing himself to people, giving piggy-back rides, joking around with counselors, and, basically, living it up! The other campers and staff went above and beyond to include him and make sure he was a part of the activities. He’d never been in a setting like camp, but you could definitely not tell!
On the last day, there was a ceremony held to announce team winners in the contest that had been going on all week. I scanned our group’s section and noticed M. was missing. Moments later, a golf cart carrying M. and a camp staff member drove right into the building. It was then announced that M. had been named Most Valuable Camper! Other students and staff applauded, cheered, and even carried M. around on their shoulders. It was one of the most amazing moments I’ve ever experienced.
So, it wasn’t the Tennessee heat and humidity that warmed my heart this summer. It was seeing a young man have the time of his life at camp and a group of young people who looked past his challenges to make sure he did.
I know many of you have similar stories; please share what moments, experiences, or memories are warming your hearts this summer!