Posted: 8/4/20 at 11:30am. Article by Elizabeth Rapp.
Beginning the summer after my freshman year of high school, I began going to Impact with my youth group. This was one of my first camp experiences with my new church, as I had recently left the church I grew up at. To say the least, I was very nervous even though I knew everybody I was going with. I specifically remember my parents and even some of my other family members being unsure about me going to a camp focused on construction because I had never done anything like that in the past. They expected me to come home after the week was over saying that I didn’t want to go back next summer, however that is far from what happened. I came back and talked non stop about camp that week, the house my team worked on, and how much fun I had meeting so many new friends. I truly believe they thought someone had replaced their daughter because I was telling them how much fun I had cutting roof shingles in 100 degree weather. That summer, on my first Impact trip is what made me comfortable at my new church and excited to be part of such a great youth group.
I continued going to Impact every summer until I started college and now I am on staff with the most amazing group of people I could have ever imagined. Even though camp was much different this year due to COVID-19, I know I can speak for staff and past campers that it is truly better than no camp at all. In my staff interview I remember asking what camp would be like if COVID-19 was still around during the summer and Glenn and Mikayla mentioned virtual camp. It was such a relief for me to know that I would have something to do this summer, have a job, and know that Impact was still happening even if it looked different.
Even though I had been a camper and knew what Impact was like I still didn’t know what it was like from a staff perspective. This summer was able to show somewhat of what it is like, besides waking up super early every morning, being in the heat, and doing physical labor. It was nice to dip my foot in the pool before fully jumping in which is one reason I’m grateful for this summer. I also enjoyed the outreach opportunities that we were still able to do and the amazing friendships I have made with the other staff. We mowed lawns through Chesterfield Lawn Care, helped Freemason Baptist Church go through clothes donations, visited Gwathmey Baptist Church to see what ways their children were helping their community, and helped out at Old Dominion University’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry building. My favorite part of the whole summer was living and working with the other staff who I can say have definitely become my best friends. We all met over zoom during the spring and it was very awkward to say the least, but what zoom call isn’t? Being in person and building connections with each other has been such a blessing to me especially in a time where I thought I was going to be stuck at home all summer. Even though this summer was different in many ways God is always working in our lives, so I know many people were blessed through virtual camp.