Being Aware

To maintain our accreditation with the American Camp Association, it is necessary to develop and update a series of procedure manuals. The manuals are used as teaching aids during staff training and teach staff things they will need to know to about teaching bible study, doing dishes, taking an off-site trip and what to do in an emergency.

These manuals are necessary, but after several years and changes in the accreditation standards, the manuals become challenging to use for teaching because you add a sentence here and there to meet the changes to the different standards.

I have felt for the last several years that our Emergency Procedures manual has become almost unteachable. I want staff to know the important procedures in any emergency situation, and then have faith that they will take the commonsense steps necessary after that. We will still teach it all, but there will be more focus on the initial and most important procedures.

One of the things we talk about every year is weather emergencies, specifically how to we notify parents when we make the decision to take shelter. Without going into a long explanation of everything involved, we are constantly monitoring the weather, and who is on camp that maybe doesn’t belong there.

When severe weather enters the forecast, the phone at the camp office will ring alerting us to the impending storm. Parents and supporters are worried about the campers and staff and don’t want anyone to get caught out in bad weather. One of the first instructions in our Emergency Procedures Manual tells staff to always be aware of their surroundings.

Being aware of the natural world and the people around you have changed over time. The world has changed, people have changed, and now technology has dramatically changed our relationship with the natural world and with other people.

Many Old Testament stories in The Bible have references to how much the people of those times were in tune with the natural world. Changes to the weather affected them very directly significantly because of the effect it could have on their housing and their food supplies. Their lives were dependent on being aware of their surroundings.

In the New Testament, stories more often related to Jesus’ awareness of the people around him, especially the poor and the persecuted. If we were only slightly more aware of the struggles of those around us instead of focusing on our own struggles, many of us would find that we lead a very blessed life.

This upcoming weekend, Green Bay Packer, Aaron Rodgers and I are both participating in a retreat. He is doing an isolation retreat to "contemplate all things my future and then make a decision I feel like is best for me moving forward and in the highest interest of my happiness and move forward". I will be participating in a Christian Experience Weekend which is described as for the person who is looking for more out of life – the "fullness of life" and joy that Jesus came to bring us.

I wish Aaron well in his pursuit in the highest interest of his happiness. As for me, I will find my happiness in being more aware of those around me and the joy Jesus brings us.

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