The language barrier can oftentimes feel like it might hinder your experience. During my time as a counselor, I always worried there would be some disconnect between my campers and me. But what I have come to learn from my time at CLC, primarily as the social media director, is that smiling and spreading an atmosphere of Love is much easier than any words could ever express. Taking pictures to share the love and experiences we have is the purest form of showing appreciation, and I found I was able to make much better connections with campers this past summer when I was taking pictures of them for throughout the summer to help them share their experience. Abroad it was no different.
Our focus in Greece was primarily to study the art and architecture of Greece both in ancient times and present day. We would sit for hours at museums wandering throughout the exhibits and sketching in these large sketchbooks while people walked around us. I found we wouldn’t go a day without interacting with someone each place we went. One day, a small boy from Japan sat down and we shared my colored pencils as he attempted to draw the same fresco I was. I let him sketch in my sketchbook and he couldn’t keep the smile from his face as we worked together. An artist from Spain sat down with me at the Parthenon and asked all about our travels, sharing his time abroad as we compared sketches and drawings from the same sites we’d visited. Keeping an open mind and a smile on your face, regardless of the language, is the same for everyone, and it’s comforting to know that no matter how fluent you are in any language, God will always direct you to share your experience with the right people.
While we were in Athens, we were able to spend some time at a refugee care facility the Salvation Army had set up. While the parents and volunteers worked together to receive the correct amount of clothing, rations, and information for their new life, my abroad group sat down with the children to watch them. These kids had seen and experienced more than we ever will in our lives, and just being able to sit there and allow them to draw pictures and play with the toys provided while we showed love and care for them had far more of an impact than I could have ever thought.
We often wonder, “How can I pray for the world when I am merely one person?” I have struggled with that so often in my prayers and found the concept of blessing the world rather daunting at times. But sitting in the small rooms of this Salvation Army and being a source of love, comfort and care for these children was all the proof I needed to see that God’s work can be done no matter how much you donate, how often you pray, and how aware you are of the world’s issues.
I cannot be more grateful for how well camp has prepared me for interacting with other cultures and people. CLC has taught me to not worry about a language barrier – as long as you are showing your purest interest and desire, you will be directed and understood. I have learned through LT, CIT and my years as a counselor how to be a group leader when needed, and when it’s best to sit back and just support and pray for the group. As the social media director, I came to cherish each moment, knowing that no matter the situation, there will always be a smile to capture and a moment to remember thanks to God’s guidance. I am so grateful for all I learned in my time in Greece and Italy, and it has sparked my adventurous side to go out and explore more. I grew so much more spiritually than I could have ever anticipated, and not because I went looking for it, but merely because God provided me with the answers before I even knew how to ask. Travel is such a gift, and sharing the world with others to bless together is something I would have never known was so beautiful and harmonious had I not seen it all coming to fruition all my years at CLC. I couldn’t have asked for a better adventure – both at camp and abroad.
Zoë is a junior at Principia College double majoring in art history and journalism with a minor in history. She lives in Minnesta and has been going to CLC for 10 years.
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