The summer of 2012 was the start of a journey Kaylyn Johnson never saw coming. Having been a camper at Camp Siloam prior to that year, Kaylyn arrived to Camp Siloam during the summer of 2012 to serve on the summer staff for her first time.
“I remember pulling under the arch at Camp Siloam with all sorts of emotions – excitement, nervous, nostalgic. I was finally fulfilling my dream of working at the camp I had loved attending when I was in youth. I pulled in and remember everyone jumping on my car and yelling with excitement welcoming me to camp. That’s when it hit me. I did not know a single person here. I knew faces from being in the staff group on Facebook, but I did not know any of these staff members jumping on my car well enough to strike up a conversation comfortably.
I went in and got my welcome packet, and then, was taken to the room I would be in for staff training. I remember coming back to be with the group of staff to welcome others. I was a super shy individual at that time. I hung back off by myself away from the rest of the group. The director’s wife came over and started to talk to me, but I was so shy and nervous that she seemed to have a difficult time keeping a conversation going with me just as much as I was having a hard time being an extrovert for the moment.
Later that night, I called my mom crying because I did not think I would be able to make it the whole summer as shy as I was. After I finished my talk with her, I prayed.
I prayed that God would give me boldness to step out of my shell. I prayed that He would send me just one person on staff to be friends with and that I could be comfortable talking to.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. —Matthew 7:7 (NIV)
The second day of staff training was when Kayla Davidson sat across from me at lunch and struck up a conversation that will forever be dear to my heart. We started to share a little bit about ourselves and things we had been through. This is when Kayla and I found out we had a lot in common, thus the start of a great friendship. She was the extrovert to my introvert that summer. She was on the forefronts being on rec, and here I was in the background just taking pictures for the summer.
I was able to stay behind my camera and not really have to open up to anyone or talk to campers much. I did talk to campers, but not as much as I would have liked looking back now, but I did a lot of self-growth that summer that was needed to prepare me for the years ahead, which brings me to my second summer.
I was put on the children’s recreation team. This role was going to definitely push me beyond my comfort zone. I would actually have to talk to campers daily. It was difficult at first, but it got easier as the summer went by. I broke out of my shell more than ever. I was leading campers in cheers and getting them pumped for some wacky games, and it was fantastic!
Just as God placed Esther in the position of Queen, He placed Kaylyn in the position of Children’s Rec, ultimately preparing her for what lied ahead in the next three years to come. Amazing how God works isn’t it?
My third summer was probably one of the ones that dealt me some of my more difficult growth with being outgoing and such. By some circumstances that only God could have orchestrated, I ended up being the emcee for the children’s part of camp. That meant I was as forefront as it got at camp being on a mic on the stage. I remember when I knew I was going to be on a mic, I felt a panic attack coming. I became lightheaded, and I was even told by a friend that my face went white as a piece of paper. Although, it was frightening to me to be on stage in front of hundreds, God had me in His hands the whole time. It turned out to be the best summer of my life. God used that summer to grow me even more than he had the first two summers I served at Siloam.
My fourth summer at Siloam, I went back to being behind the scenes, but it was a good behind the scenes for me, working with the S-Core students. It was a summer that pushed me mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Pouring into high school students for two weeks at a time was draining, but even more rewarding. That summer definitely confirmed the calling I knew God had placed in my life.
That calling was to go into full time camp ministry.
Shortly after getting home from my fourth summer at Camp Siloam, I found myself packing up and heading to East Texas to be a part of an intern program at a camp called Camp Cho-Yeh.
Since beginning her internship at Camp Cho-Yeh, Kaylyn has served there for the last year and a half and is now preparing to transition into a full-time position at the camp, starting January 2017.
God took those four summers at Camp Siloam to and this past year interning to prepare my life for this calling. My years at Camp Siloam may be over, but the memories and lessons learned will last me my entire life. God’s plans are far greater than we can ever imagine and seeing the change He has made in my life through events I would have never placed myself in is only a testament to that. Camp Siloam will forever hold a place in my heart.
If you’ve ever considered serving on summer staff at Camp Siloam, but due to fear, decided against it, we strongly encourage you to push through that fear and let God transform your life.
You never know what God may have waiting for you 5 years down the road.
Apply to be a summer staffer for the 2017 summer now!
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