Walking With Integrity—After Camp!
by Gabriella Kroska - January 10, 2019
Those of us who went to camp this year learned a lot about integrity! Now that we’re all home, how can we keep walking in the right direction?
Another year of COGWA Youth Camps just came to a close with Winter Camp. These camps are a highlight of the year for many young people in the Church, including me! Yet it can be all too easy to enjoy the several days of activities, socializing and learning at camp—and then go back home to our daily routines and put it all out of mind.
How can we keep the lessons we learned at camp fresh in our minds and apply them in our lives?
Walking with integrity
This past year’s theme was “Walking With Integrity.” In the Bible, walking is an analogy for how we live our lives each day. For most of us, walking is something we do without much thought. It’s simply a part of our daily lives.
What about integrity? If we are walking with integrity, then our routine thoughts, words and actions will reflect integrity.
Camp is over … now what?
Walking with integrity can be easy at camp—everyone around you is excited about God’s way of life, and your fellow campers and staff are talking about it all the time. But when you get home and are not in that positive environment, it can be a lot harder.
How can we make sure we continue to walk with integrity, even after we’ve left the camp environment?
- Build your relationship with God. Many of the teen camps now include a daily activity called First Things. First Things is a 15- to 20-minute period set aside for campers to have quiet personal time for prayer, Bible study and meditation, and it is generally the first thing after breakfast. Just as we need communication in our human relationships, we can’t build a relationship with God without having consistent communication with Him through prayer and studying His Word. When our lives include First Things as a daily routine, our relationship with God will deepen.
- Start with your notes. Almost every day, camp begins with a Compass Check or a lesson to think about for the day. Did you take notes? Go back and read them and reflect on the scriptures that the speakers covered. Often there will be a takeaway. How can you apply it in your life, now that you’re home?
- Stay in touch! Camp provides you with the unique opportunity to connect with and build friendships with people who are committed to living the same way of life that you are. One of the best parts of camp is being able to talk openly about your beliefs, challenges and life with like-minded people who understand where you’re coming from. Those discussions and conversations don’t have to end on the last day of camp. Keep in touch with the friends you met at camp. Talk to them about challenges at school, what you’re studying right now and the good times you had at camp!
- Keep learning. The Bible has a lot to say about integrity. You can build on the lessons you learned at camp by continuing to study scriptures about integrity and similar topics (honesty, trustworthiness, diligence, etc.). Not sure where to start? Go back to your camp notes. Use a concordance (or a Bible website like biblegateway.com) to help you find scriptures related to a word/topic. Try doing the “Walking With Integrity Scripture Writing Challenge” on your own or with parents, siblings or friends.
- Set goals! Did you have an “aha!” moment at camp when you learned something that you really wanted to put into practice once you got home? Maybe it was a bit of practical advice, a daily challenge or a nugget of wisdom about a challenging situation you’re facing. Don’t let it get away! Write down your goal and steps you can take to work on it. Put it in a place where you’ll see it every day. If you need help with this, you can ask your parents, pastor or even your camp counselor. Most counselors would love to stay in communication with their campers throughout the year!
Walking with integrity shouldn’t end when you get home from camp. One of the goals of the camp program is to help us see God’s way of life in action so that we can apply it all year-round.
Now that camp is over, it’s time to “let your eyes look straight ahead, … ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established” (Proverbs 4:25-26). Let’s keep our eyes firmly fixed on God’s Kingdom and strive to walk with integrity every day.
For more insight about integrity, read “There’s a Proverb for That: Integrity.”