Friday, June 28, 2013

Snapshot of Camp at Grace Adventures: Interview with Quinton June 23-28, 2013

Snapshot of Camp

Interview with Quinton
Rustic Warrior June 23-28, 2013

What is your name and where are you from?
                My name is Quinton and I am from Lansing, MI

What has been one of your favorite parts about this week?
                One of my favorite things we could do this week was going on the Battle Barge, which is a raft that usually about 10 people would go on and the lifeguard would blow their whistle and it is basically a free for all, pushing each other off of it, and the last man standing wins. I had a lot of fun on it.

What is the most interesting thing that happened?
                I’d say one of the most interesting things that happened was painting our swords and shields. It was cool seeing all the different designs and paintings on the swords and shields.

What is something you have been learning about this week?
                We have been learning a lot about how to be good Men of Christ. We have also learned about how to be good friends. Like if someone does something to you, don’t try to get revenge on them.

What has been something you have been learning in your bible study or campfire teachings?
                We've learned a lot about the life of King David. And how he was like the “golden image” of how to be a Rustic Warrior.

What was your highlight of the week?
                The coolest thing I think that happened was going to the range and playing paintball. I thought it was really fun.

If you could sum up Rustic Warrior in a couple sentences, what would it be?
                Rustic Warriors is not only learning about how to survive in the wilderness and learning about the wilderness but it’s also about becoming Warriors for Christ and becoming young men of Christ.

What else would like to say about Rustic Warriors?

                Rustic Warriors is really cool. It’s a great experience and I encourage and recommend it to all people!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Clearing Rocks

New Hampshire soil is full of rocks. In order to have any kind of turf you have to remove many rocks. The rocks are an annoyance. I believe leadership happens a lot like the turf in New Hampshire. As we strive to become better leaders or move the team forward, there are rocks that need to be cleared. I learned the difficulty of this at a golf course.

One summer during college I worked at a golf course. At one point my job was to dig an irrigation ditch on one of the holes. The boss wheels out this machine obviously built decades earlier. The ditch digger had an auger in front that did the digging. I stood behind the machine with a belt around my waist to control how fast it dug. The machine would dig. I would get in a half squatting position to keep it from going too fast. Bottom line; 10hp motor versus my legs.

The ditch digger worked like a hot knife through butter; when there were no rocks.
Remember this is in New  Hampshire,
the Granite State,
the soil was full of rocks;
fist sized,
bucking bronco,
stuck in the ground rocks.
I had to constantly strain against the pull of the rocks coming out of the ground. The sweat rolled and my legs ached from the effort.

It sounds like my own leadership efforts. When things are going well. It is smooth as butter. But when the challenges arise. I can barely hold on.

Sometimes the rock would be too large for the machine to dig out of the ground. Then I would have to stop. Step out of the machine and grab a shovel to remove the rock. Stopping always felt like a set back. When I got the rock out, it was actually quite satisfying. The process of stopping also gave my legs a break and I was ready for some more wrestling with the machine. What started as a setback, gave me a break from the routine and a sense of greater accomplishment.

Everyone of us has opportunity to improve our leadership; remove the rocks. This will not be an easy process. It will require hard work and struggle. Pick one thing you want to improve in your leadership this week. Take ten minutes to write down three action steps you will take to remove the rock.

Realize that sometimes the rock is bigger than you can handle. Break the routine; find a coach or mentor who can help you. Do not be afraid to take the time to stop and remove the rock. Ignoring it will not make life easier.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Snapshot of Camp at Grace Adventures: Interview with Jonathan June 16-21, 2013

Snapshot of Camp
Interview with Jonathan
Pathfinder June 16-21, 2013

What is your name and where are you from?
                My name is Jonathan and I am from Fremont, Michigan.

What has been your favorite thing about camp this week?
                My favorite thing about camp has been the deep discussions we have gotten into after our teaching sessions. The counselors are just open to questions and we went really deep into the Bible.

What is something you learned this week that has really impacted you?
                Tuesday night we had a worship service and Chris, the drummer of the worship band, just emphasized a verse from a song ‘I may be weak, but your spirit is strong in me. My flesh may fail, but You, my God, you never will.’ And that just absolutely hit home with me.

How did that hit home?

                Well, I've always found myself to be physically weak. It’s always been me having to use my mental abilities to compensate for my physical weakness. I have never thought of using God as a source of strength before. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Sometimes we are given instructions and we continue to go our own way.

Correction from Grace Adventures on Vimeo.

A lesson that reinforced Proverbs 12:1 in my life...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Snapshot of Camp at Grace Adventures: Interview with Anastasia June 9-14, 2013

Snapshot of Camp at Grace Adventures
Interview with Anastasia
Quest Camper June 9-14, 2013

This week at Grace Adventures we had Quest, Pathfinder, and Discovery camps. This is part of an interview with a Quest camper, Anastasia. Quest is an intensive leadership development camp for High School Juniors and Seniors where their camp experience is handed over to them to plan, perform, and process their own schedules and activities as a team. After completing a week of Quest, the students can come back to Grace and serve as Counselors in Training or Jr. Wranglers in the cabins and help to lead Bible studies and activities with the staff.

What is your name, where you are from, and how long you have been coming to camp?
                "My name is Anastasia, or Ana. I am from Chicago, Illinois and this is my 9th year coming to camp at Grace Adventures and my first year at Quest."

What is something you have been learning this week?
                "Well, when I came to Quest I wasn't sure exactly what it was going to be like. One of the things we do is make up our entire schedule, all by ourselves. Basically all of us, Juniors and Seniors in high school, make up the entire week of camp, all the schedules, we cook our own meals, and plan an overnight backpacking or horse trip. I was not expecting that at all when I came here. Honestly I have been feeling so overwhelmed this week but I think it has been good because before I would hear people say things like “It’s good to be pushed out of your comfort zone. That’s when you learn new things.” And I think at camp before this, I was never really pushed so far in my limits. I mean, I did fun things here at camp, good things that taught me things but this week has just pushed me so far out of my comfort zone.  Out of what I have been used to that while it has been stressful, I think that in the end they’re pushing us so that we learn how to become better people and how to plan with other people and work with other people."

What was a fun thing that happened this week?
                "I think one of the funnest things for me at Quest this week was the time we got to spend out on the trails riding our horses. Both yesterday and this morning I think we got a good 2 hours in of just riding the horses on the trails and during that time we are just relaxing, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation, and having fun talking to each other. We didn't have to think about making our schedules or the planning of this week, we just got to have fun on our horses and enjoy the beauty that is around us."

What are you going to take away from this week?

               " I was talking with my counselor Danica about this and she was just encouraging me to reflect when I get home about the experience that I had and look for all the things I can learn about myself. The way I like to lead, the things I am good at, the things I can work on. I think I will find a lot of things I can learn about myself, and ways to relate to other people better and communicate better with others and to have a better experience with other people."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pursuit of Happiness

Are you a 'giver' or a 'taker'? Your answer makes all the difference in living a satisfied life. Ask any number of people; "Do you want to be happy?" The vast majority will answer, "Yes!" Do you see the trick? Satisfaction and happiness are not equal. 

A great article online at The Atlantic drives this point home:
In the article they point to new research coming out that connects giving and taking with a meaningful live:

"...over a month-long period, the researchers found that a meaningful life and happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately very different. Leading a happy life, the psychologists found, is associated with being a 'taker' while leading a meaningful life corresponds with being a 'giver'."

I have been married for 20 years to the same woman. In my job I needed to fill a seasonal position. The position was very important, being in front of over 10,000 people. It required a specific skill set that my wife fit perfectly. She was hesitant to take the position because of the stress it would put on our family. I persisted and she relented. The three months required did not go well. My wife performed exceptionally well. But the stress took a physical and emotional toll on our marriage and family. I made a mistake by taking advantage of the convenience she provided in filling the position; lesson learned the hard way. The times of greatest satisfaction in our marriage are the times I focused on giving and not taking. 

Any relationship that has power can greatly abuse the taking/giving paradigm. Ironically, taking, the pursuit of happiness, rarely leads to happiness and never long-term satisfaction. Are you a leader? Do you take or give? I believe strongly in the power of a servant leader. Servant leadership by its very nature requires giving. Research backs up the power of creating meaning by giving.  Especially as a leader, you can help create meaning in others lives by giving.

Take a few minutes and write down the different relationship roles you have; Spouse, Parent, Friend, Work, Community, etc. Make the roles column headings. Then think through what is my taking/giving percentage for each role. Underneath each ratio write down what you can do to shift 10% towards giving. This is not scientific, but I suggest you will be most satisfied in each role when giving has reached 80% or higher. Of course a satisfied person is most often a happy person.