Written by Jill Constantinou
Over this spring, 50 staff and students from Nyack College ascended on Lake Champion, a YoungLife Camp located about two hours from our Rockland campus. For each of the three weekends, Nyack students served on work crews as kitchen cooks, dish crew, or wait staff for the C&MA Metro Youth District Spring Retreats. Each weekend, over 500 high school and middle school students came to get away and meet with God. The purpose for our Nyack College students going was not prayer ministry or lead games but instead to work!
For those of you who have never been on a YoungLife work crew, let me give you a run down of what that means. Basically from the time you arrive (Friday 8pm) to the time you leave (Sunday 1pm), you are living in the kitchen except for 6 hours of sleep each night and a 2-hour break Saturday afternoon. Now this does sound like lots of standing and hard work, but we also had fun laughing and getting to know our fellow Nyack classmates. During free time, we utilized the ropes course, the three-person ‘Screamer’ swing (which I highly recommend) and mattress-surfed down stairs with multiple riders (which I don’t recommend).
One of the highlights of being able to work together was seeing everyone’s giftings and helping each other out. I really was able to see the Body of Christ in action! When I got overwhelmed, I would look to Amanda who would be dancing or posing with food (within food safety regulations, see picture above). If I needed motivation, I would look to Ralf and Justin who might be pushing each other around in a garbage can or tossing boxes of cereal to each other- though, not at the same time.
However, what spoke most to me was the care and concern that the Nyack College students had for those they were serving. It didn’t matter if we were carrying tray after tray of heavy spaghetti to a table of hungry middle school boys or washing dishes alongside the high school girl who is struggling in finding a place to belong at school. Nyack students exemplified the love of Christ in Mathew 25:40 “Truly, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (NIV).
At the end of each weekend, we walked away thoroughly exhausted but also with a sense of accomplishment and many new friendships. These weekends really allowed Nyack students to shine. I saw students who were pushed out of the comfort zone and they didn’t complain! Instead, they exemplified servant leadership and the ability to love others. The campers probably did not realize all the work these weekends require, but if Nyack College students are able to make a difference in even one person’s life- the cost is absolutely worth it!
So next spring, #nyacktakeslakechampion2 – are you in?