On one level, iGovern is crazy because it’s a scenario. The students are Senators, Congressmen, Ambassadors, and Presidential candidates, and the counselors play lobbyists, Chairs, secretaries, journalists, emissaries, and political establishment insiders. Since everyone is acting, you have to be flexible and adapt as the story progresses. For example, something happens in the International Summit on piracy, so a letter must be written and delivered to the U.S. Senate, pressuring them to pressure their U.S. Ambassador to pressure the Summit assembly. This is politics – people interacting, which is never truly predictable.
On a deeper level, camp is “crazy” because the ultimate focus is not the scenario, or the lessons we’re trying to teach the kids. The focus is the kids themselves. We want the students to know that we truly care about them, and that means putting them and their needs first. There were times when I skipped events so I could just listen to a student who needed to talk. This meant that other counselors had to cover for me when I was out, which made things more unpredictable. The same happened to other counselors too, and I tried to help cover for them. But none of us would have it any other way; we were thrilled when any of us got such an opportunity to show love to a student.
There’s something amazing about living focused on other people. I’ve never done it completely, but there are times in life where I come closer than others. iGovern was one of those times – when nearly every waking moment is spent thinking “how can I help?” I was there to serve – the kids, the other counselors, and ultimately, God. I didn’t have to think about me: doing my school, my work, my chores… it was all about doing something for someone else. And it was wonderful.
Ghandi is credited with saying, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I think I can understand what he meant. I don’t mean to boast by saying I was focused on helping others – to the contrary, I feel like I was given far, far more than I gave. There’s a release, a freedom and peace, that comes when you think less about yourself. At camp, there’s little time for that – there’s little time for thinking, period! But this can be good. Sometimes we think too much, at least I know I do. Life is in the doing, faith in the action.
James 2:17 says “Faith, if it does not have works, is dead;” maybe this explains why actually doing something – serving – makes one feel so alive.
It makes me want to do more.