Camp Skillz: A Reflection and Thanksgiving

I wake up today with Luke 9:47 on my mind, “Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.” It’s a loaded passage. The disciples are discussing greatness and rank, and there is a lot to be said about how Jesus responds to them, but I’m struck this morning by the action of Jesus. How he places a child next to him. So that to look at Jesus is to meet the gaze of a living, breathing, precious child.

I remember that Jesus does this a lot: Redirects people’s attention. Mark 3 comes to mind. Jesus interrupts church and makes everyone in the service look at a man with a crippled hand. He does the same thing in Luke 13, this time with a crippled woman. And yet another example come to mind: When a woman of ill-repute washes Jesus’ feet, he responds to Simon’s self-righteous judgment with a simple question: “Do you see this woman?”

Camp Skillz is hard work, but for many of the kids involved, it's the only organized summer program available to them.  

We overlook people. We’re always so caught up in our programs, our discussions, our own schedules that we overlook the people around us. But if Jesus is present in our lives and we are looking to him, He will direct our attention to the people we would otherwise overlook.  

As I get up this morning, I pray for sensitivity. I pray that I can be like Jesus today and keep the focus on the people I will be serving. Don’t just run through the program, I tell myself, make sure it’s working for them. Are they having fun? Are they engaged? Can we better serve this child?

Rafael Reyes, program leader at Camp Skillz: Antioch, as a small group chat with campers. Our staff doesn't just "do games," but facilitates an all around quality program for kids. 

In an hour, I will drive 30 minutes to a large apartment complex. We’ll set up in a room that’s probably the size of your living room and kitchen, and then it will all begin, and the children will arrive. They are children that are largely overlooked. Their world offers them little opportunities during the summer to grow and think.

There is nothing better than having Jesus direct your life -- He always directs your attention away from the frivolous to the important. And there is nothing more important or special than the kids we get to serve at Camp Skillz.

I’m happy this morning that my time with God leads me to think about the kids I get to serve. I feel that Luke 9:47 is happening in real-time, to look at Jesus’ example is to also to think about people who need to be served.

My time at Camp Skillz has been wonderful. It’s challenging, the temperature can be outrageous, and the kids can be noisy -- but it’s fun and important work. And it fills me with thankfulness. We continue to create a program that serves the needs of every kid that walks through the door, and all of us -- all the great people I get to work with -- are trying to follow the example of Jesus as we do it.

And on a morning such as this, when a thousand worries and concerns could hold my attention, I’m grateful that I follow a lord that guides my eyes away from chatterings and trivialities and makes me look instead into the eyes of what truly matters.