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Chloe’s Story

Youthfront has been a part of my life since I can honestly remember. I was “born into it” you could say. As humbled as I am to be a part of the founding family of Youthfront (Youth for Christ), it really has little to do with how Youthfront and my dad have affected my journey.

I lived at LaCygne (Camp South at the time) as a young 8-year-old. I’d ride my Barbie scooter up that giant hill (which is a feat in itself—must’ve been the strength of God). I’d sit on the office girls’ laps and chat with them. Youthfront staff always have had an unfaltering reputation of being welcoming, kind people. Back then, I loved being at camp, but I didn’t understand it. I hadn’t experienced what it really was about yet. I thought camp was just a place with a cool waterslide and really good food (or so my naive 8-year-old self thought).

From then on, I went as a camper from 3rd through 8th grade with the same group of girls from my church every year. Emotional basement conversations, forcing my friends to do the talent show, and wanting more than anything to bond with my super hip, older cabin leader. Through these years at camp, I really did learn fellowship. When you spend a week with the same group of people, you have time to discover the root of who they really are. I have vivid memories of spending the entirety of free time just talking to people, forgetting there was even a waterslide.

When I reflect on those middle school years as a camper, it says a lot about who I became and who I am. I love people. I love talking to people. I love knowing people. (I’m talking the unique heart of who they are). Camp gives you the opportunity to live with someone and learn who God made them without even realizing it’s happening.

I tend to make my summers busy with other things, but my parents increasingly encouraged I set aside weeks to serve on Teen Staff. My dad has a theory called “The Outward Effect.” In short, it means focusing on others can change your life more than anything. It changes your emotions, your perspective, and how you interact with people on an everyday basis. Teen Staff is a community that does life together whose main goal is to serve. It’s a lot of work, but serving has almost an addictive quality to it. It’s tiring in an exhilarating way. It’s like someone whose never tasted coffee and its effects before, but once you try it, you’re hooked. It brings you closer to Jesus because you’re doing exactly what He did—what He called you to do. That’s why in that type of community, it becomes increasingly more difficult to focus on yourself. And there’s something refreshing about that. That’s why people keep coming back.

In conclusion, it’s safe to say God has made Himself better known to people through Youthfront. The people who work and volunteer there get to be a part of that journey, and that is pretty neat.

Chloe Philgreen, Teen Staff at Youthfront Camp West

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