Want to Go Sailing?

Sailing has been one of my all-time favorite things to do at Northern Frontier. As newlyweds, my wife and I worked for camp, and the one experience I was most excited to share with her was to float down OK slip in a Sunfish sailboat. It can be a time of peaceful serenity–or thrilling excitement as you get pulled along by the wind.

I remember the first time I went sailing at camp. I was eight years old in Stockade. I had never been away from home for a whole week before, and about three days in, I started feeling homesick. The rest of the cabin had gotten their swimsuits and were ready to head off to the waterfront for swim time. But I didn’t want to leave my bunk. My counselor, Rick (it amazes me that I still remember his name!), came to see what was bothering me.

We talked briefly, and then he asked me one question, “Want to go sailing?” Immediately, my mood lightened.

“I don’t know how…” I stammered.

“That’s okay, I’ll teach you.”

Moments later, we were on the water, zigzagging back and forth as we moved up the lake into the wind. With a slight turn, the boat whirled around, and we rushed straight down the lake. It was so much fun!

Rick let me hold the rope for the sail. He told me to hold on tight and not let it go. But as we whipped around the lake, I got so excited that I forgot about the rope. I let it go out of my hands, but Rick recovered the boat, kept us from flipping over, and then gave the rope back to me to try again.

Later, when I returned as a counselor on staff, I was reminded of that day sailing with Rick. He had made a lasting impression on me about investing in campers and spending time with them. I wanted to recreate that same experience for my campers. The trouble was, I never had the time. I was lifeguarding, leading crafts, or preparing for a campfire. Whenever I had an off-slot, I had to catch up on laundry, shower, or call my girlfriend. I didn’t have time to take boys sailing. That’s when it dawned on me. Rick didn’t have the time either–he made it. He had the same pressures and responsibilities I now faced, except he prioritized me over himself.

It’s incredible how camp experiences leave a lasting impact and grow over time as we reflect to discover deeper lessons that we couldn’t grasp as boys. Rick not only helped a homesick camper overcome a moment of sadness but taught a college guy the importance of making a simple sacrifice for the sake of another. He taught me how to sail… and showed me how to love others just like Jesus Christ.

1 Comment

  1. I love this blog. It is the truth. It applies to me here at home as well. Thanks for sharing Peter.

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