Hi Swamp Bloggers!

I hope you are having a fabulous day. We are SO close (less than three weeks) from the start of summer camp. Don't forget to sign up for your favorite week before it fills up on our website. Next week we will be hearing from the upcoming full time staff as they introduce themselves for the first time. The 2019 camp theme will also be revealed. Family Camp is also coming up in about two and a half weeks. Sign up to join us for a special time of bonding! And, last but not least thanks to all who helped get Camp Swamp ready for the summer at our work party.

Respect: An Essential Value of Camp Swamp

This week we have a guest blogger writing for you all. Coming to you from Athens, Ga is Jacob Williams! Jacob is a rising senior at UGA. He is currently studying Education and is working on his undergraduate and masters degree. This summer will be his fifth time as a full time counselor. He is excited to write to you all about an important value of the Swamp: respect. I think this is an awesome topic that is applicable in our relationships at school, work, home, and much more. So, without further adieu, I present to you, Jacob:

Jacob (bottom left) at H@TS 2018-19

"Hey everyone! I’m stoked to be able to write for you guys this week.

As camp quickly approaches, I decided that I would like to reflect on the Swamp Value that means the most to me these days. All of the values are imperative to conducting a successful, encouraging, fun, and spiritual week of camp. While all of the values are vital to the Swamp culture, there is one value I have found to be essential to who I am as a counselor: respect. This value states, “everyone from the directors to the volunteers to the campers to the head dishwasher has to feel valued; each has the right to feel like somebody.”

When we are out in the real world, it is easy to look at others, compare ourselves to them, and subsequently feel less-than. Similarly, we can easily compare ourselves to others in a way that puts ourselves on a pedestal and makes us feel better about who we are. However, at camp all are valued not only for who they are and what capabilities they have, but for who they are in the eyes of God.

Respect is often thought of as a child listening to and obeying their parents or authorities. While this is one aspect of the word, it also involves much more. It involves listening to understand, valuing one’s efforts, validating one’s emotions, and “loving your neighbor as yourself”. This full definition of respect is constantly present at camp. From the 9-year old campers, to the nurse, to the mail man, all who come to camp are worthy of respect; everyone has something to offer and something that makes them important.

Max with camper in Nicaragua during 2018 Swamp Corps Trip

Max, a previous camper, worker, and counselor - both local and international - defines camp’s value of respect by the following:

“I think respect is just treating people as people. This involves caring about their needs and interests and trying to have an active positive role in their life. This value is so strong at camp because everyone is respected. Everyone is treated like a person with worth.”

Reflecting further on the value of respect, I wanted to share a few scriptures that I think clarify this value even more:

Philippians 2:3-4 -- “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”

Romans 12:10 -- “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Titus 3:1-2 -- “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”

Consider these scriptures in your daily life as you interact with friends, family, and strangers! Think back to the respect you experience at camp. Think of how you feel respected at camp and how you respect others while there. Valuing and respecting others allows you to truly see the aspects of individuals that give them worth and make them special!

I hope this blog encourages you to look more deeply into those you interact with and to see them in the way that God views them as well!

Thanks for the read!

Jacob"

Thanks so much to Jacob for his insight on respect! I agree that respect helps us to see value in others, as well as, to feel valued ourselves. As I was pondering the value of respect, I did a quick search on ways to show it. I found a cool article that talks about simple ways to do just that. Some of the ways include being a genuine listener, saying thank you, and encouraging others.

These are all easy things to incorporate into our daily life, and you don't have to approve of every aspect of a person's life to show them respect. Respect can be a simple way to show kindness and love others like Jesus. You can add to a person's understanding of their value by simply showing them respect. Check out the article if you get a chance!

Thanks so much for reading this week. And, thanks again to Jacob for sharing!

Much Love & Respect,

Julie