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Michaela’s Story

I’m a third-generation camper and Teen Staffer. Each member of my family has experienced Youthfront differently, and the way you spend time at camp is influential in different ways. In my experience, Teen Staff impacted me and made me fall in love with the ways of camp that I never would have imagined before. Just a few examples of things I miss during the school year are: Friday night campfires, Chaco tans, disinfectant spray, metal chairs, scrub tubs, bees, everything ending in –ug, and late nights talking with other Teen Staff girls in a bathroom stall. With the 17 weeks I’ve spent at camp, I’ve found joy in the little things I never would have found before. Even the motto “I’ll Take Backseat Middle” stands for the way that my attitude towards life has changed. Before, I never wanted to get my hands dirty, but after learning the joys of being a servant of God, my mindset had taken an immediate switch.

There should be a 100% money-back guarantee based on whether or not you will experience Christ at camp. The presence of God in one day is more than months of preaching. One of my first weeks as a freshman, I met my best friend, Ellie Stanley. I was living in close quarters with 20 other girls, which held potential for me to find an impactful friend in just a short couple of days. The miracle of Teen Staff is that you don’t need a week to create lasting friendships. In a two-hour long conversation by a lake, Christ pulled Ellie and me together to take us on an adventure of a lifetime in a worthwhile friendship. Being a Christian isn’t always about the journaling, scriptures, and prayers. Yes, these are all important, but observing the love of God in these girls is the most beneficial skill that I have learned in these past three years. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing how God can change someone in a couple of days and how blessed I am to witness it.

God is good–can I get an “amen” to that? As great as it would be to be focusing on God 24/7, Teen Staff also has a side that is devoted to creating memories and joy in each teenager. With these people, I’ve laughed so hard that I’ve cried, and my sides have ached from hour-long dance parties that went well into the night. I’ve jumped into the bottom of the waterslide fully clothed, had deep conversations early in the morning, and woken up at 7 am to get coffee before prayer. I’ve learned how to become a normal teenager with the desire to love and be gracious to those around me. Each moment holds a powerful emotion, and the simplest of memories is evidence of how greatly my faith has grown. I couldn’t imagine a better place to spend my life than with these other teenagers that I’ve grown to love. 

This is a huge ‘thank you’ to Youthfront for bringing me together with these joyful teenagers. I have been provided with Christ-loving kids willing to walk with me on my spiritual journey. These have been the most powerful years of my life, and I have to give that all to the camps that made this possible. 

Michaela Bilyeu, Teen Staff

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