Leadership can be tricky…

I feel like leadership is talked about a lot. It’s a skill everyone wants and that everyone wants to judge in other people, especially public figures. In addition it seems like everyone has their own idea of what leadership looks like, of what it should be. The last decade of my life, stretching from adolescence into adulthood, I have been blessed to have myriad opportunities to learn about and be in a position of leadership. I have gained much experience and had many lessons on multiple continents. And here I sit and the best thing I’ve come up with to title this entry is “Leadership can be tricky.” (Eloquence has never been my strong suit…)

I’m writing this entry today because tomorrow I enter a position of leadership I have never had before. I am going to be the head coach of the cross-country program at a local high school. On one hand I am ridiculously excited to be doing this. I love running and sports in general and I am very competitive. I have the experience to do this job and to do it well. While I hope to be a teacher in coming years I want to pair that with coaching. This is my first step towards that goal and it’s a big one.

On the other hand this is totally new to me. I have never been this high up in anything. I have almost always been the follower. Obedient, smart, willing to take charge if needed, but never the actual go-to guy. I’m the decision maker now. I’m the one with the plan, the philosophy, the one responsible for how things go. I am the leader. It’s all slightly overwhelming if I let my overly analytical mind think about it too much.

At the end of the day I know that once I get the first practice out of the way things will start to fall into place. I’m grateful to have a job and I know this will be a great season. One helpful thought that has been floating in my head all week is that “Leadership is Servanthood.” My goal in leading is to serve.  My runners, my assistants, everyone I meet this fall I want to help in whatever way I’m able. Leadership may be tricky but if I keep the right perspective I’m ready for the ride.

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Camp Sandy Cove

After my week at Sandy Cove Ministries I was able to drive down to the summer camp it runs in West Virginia.  It’s a basic sleep away camp for kids but it is distinctive by its fun and its focus on Jesus. I have worked all or part of four previous summers there as a counselor and was returning this time to help out for two weeks. I ended up taking care of a cabin of boys each of the weeks I was there.

Returning was fantastic if also a bit weird. The last time I was on staff was in 2007. I knew camp well but many of the new staff had no idea who I was. Of course there was a good number of staff still there who I  knew and that made meeting many of the others that much easier. I was happily surprised that by my first day off on Thursday I was having a blast with people I hadn’t known the week earlier.

Camp is a hard place to work. It is busy, tiresome and sweaty. There is lots of food but no air conditioning. You are responsible for your kids essentially all the time besides your day off. The schedule can quickly become burdensome. And yet I and many others keep coming back. Giving up camp completely just isn’t an option, at least not yet.

Even amidst all the difficulties I love camp. More than probably any other place, camp is a place where I can just relax and be myself; a slightly crazier, sillier version of myself to be sure, but me nonetheless. Kids are kids, they don’t judge you; they just want to have a good time and to feel loved. Working together with other staff in the same chaotic conditions garners a commitment to each other that I have experienced in few other places. Tying is all together is a collective belief and practice of Christianity which is simply refreshing. I have been to some great churches in my life but few things beat a Vespers service with 200+ hyperactive kids singing worship songs.

Camp has had an indelible impact on my life and development since I was kid. I’m so thank ful for being able to return and will surely return again.