Students in Service
During the month of September we will be highlighting how students of Simpsonwood spent time in service over the summer.
This summer I was chosen along with roughly 75 other rising juniors and seniors to participate in ELI program. The ELI program (short for the Experimental Leadership Institute) is a program made possible with help from both the North Georgia Conference and Camp Glisson to help teenagers learn more about God and more about leadership. The first full week of summer, all of the ELI participants went up to Young Harris College where we did our leadership training. Training week had a big impact on me. We were given the opportunity to learn more about leadership and how to be a leader in our schools and churches. Not only did we learn about how to be a leader, but we also learned more about ourselves and the leadership skills that the Lord has given us. It was so cool to be able to explore the talents God gave me through talking with small groups, playing games, sitting in lectures, and worshiping in many different styles.
Grow Day Camps
After training week, we get to put what we learned at Young Harris to action, through Grow Day Camps. Grow Day Camps is a day camp program that is put on by Camp Glisson with the help of the ELI participants at many different churches throughout the North Georgia Conference. The ELI can sign up to work as a counselor for as many as 8 weeks throughout the summer!
I worked 2 weeks this past summer. I was assigned to work at Johns Creek UMC and Creekside UMC. Working at Grow Day Camps is one of the most tiring yet rewarding experiences I’ve ever been through. Getting to spend 5 days with kids from 9-5:30 gives you time to really bond with all of your campers. It was an amazing opportunity to get to share the love of the Lord with my campers through things as simple as field games and crafts. A typical day of Grow Camp usually involves lots of games, snacks, crafts, singing, and a whole lot of laughter. Along with getting to hang out with some super cool kids, I also got to build relationships with the other ELI and the GLT (Grow Leadership Team) at my site, and now all of the people at my sites are my best friends!
My favorite moment from working Grow Day Camps was one of the days at Creekside UMC, my co-counselor and I planned to do a service project with our campers. We planned to clean up the room we ate our meals in and make gatorade and go around and give it to all of the other groups. Our campers ended up loving the service project and found it so fun to serve their peers we made sure to do it everyday! It was so cool seeing Jesus work through our kids and I think that God really showed me that his love has no boundaries- His love has no age and he is at work in everyone’s hearts, even the hearts of 2nd graders!
I am so thankful for the ELI program and it was such a great opportunity to learn more about leadership, the Lord, yourself, and building relationships! Working as an ELI really changed my perspective on servant leadership and it taught me that anyone can be a leader! It is such a great program and I would recommend it to anyone who loves kids and is looking for a fun opportunity for the summer!
To learn more about the ELI program at Glisson or to apply, click here.