Our Blog

Kinzie’s Story

I am kind of an anomaly when it comes to camps. I very much love adventure, so when an opportunity arose to travel and live in another state—to tell middle school kids about Jesus—I took it, especially since I attend school at North Park University in Chicago, live in Sacramento, and had never once been to Kansas.

I was in a youth ministry class when we were reading a book by a guy named Chris Folmsbee. I liked the book, so I Googled his name and found a website with a bunch of organizations he had worked with; on that list was a place called Youthfront. “Sounds cool,” I said. Next thing I know, I had applied to be a cabin leader.

It wasn’t until the day of my interview that I even told my parents I applied. I made some Facebook friends from camp once I was hired because I didn’t know anyone, and I needed a ride to camp from the airport. That first night, I questioned if this was a good decision. I grew up in a culture of church that was camp-heavy; you didn’t leave the safety of your camp community, but I did. I quickly made friends with the other staff members, but didn’t know exactly where I fit in yet or what God was planning; however, I kept pushing. I decided that I was here for some reason, so I might as well play it out and see where this goes.

As my summer progressed, I fell in love with Youthfront Camp West and everything that it does for 3rd-8th grade students. During my first summer on staff, I had a close friend die back home, and I was surrounded by other staffers and by a cabin full of 7th grade boys. I could have shut it all out, but I didn’t, and it was one of the greatest weeks I had. In that miserable, yet absolutely wonderful week, God showed me why I was at Youthfront—to feel more than deeply loved by strangers. I had always been surrounded by those who knew me, but that summer, I was surrounded and loved by complete strangers. They might have known each other for years, but they had only known me for 2 months, and the students had only known me for 7 hours, but they surrounded me. I didn’t leave Youthfront with any friends—I left Youthfront with a larger family. People who didn’t fade away at summers end, but relationships that got stronger with each weekend visit, whether it was me to Kansas or them to Chicago. The summer staffs of Youthfront Camp West 2014-2015 will forever have a special place in my heart, and be family to me. That’s why I came back that second summer and will continue to volunteer, because Youthfront went from being my adventure in Kansas to being my home.

Kinzie Oas, Volunteer Cabin Leader at Youthfront Camp West

Tags: ,

Show Comments (0)

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!