‘To Lead Is To Move People To A Greater Cause’
Genna Parr shares her experiences as a summer-camp Youth Counselor
The Conference Camp Youth Leadership Program allows space for youth to grow into their role as leaders in their church and in their communities.
Genna Parr, a senior at Nocona High School who also serves on the North Texas Conference Council on Youth Ministries, recommends the Youth Counselor program “because it is an opportunity that forces you to truly see yourself as God sees you.”
Read more about Parr’s experiences:
What was your initial attraction to the Youth Counselor program?
My initial attraction to the YC program was the thought of getting to experience camp for an extra week! But as I began filling out the application, I started praying about what this program would do for me. My attraction then turned into excitement when I was able to see all the different opportunities that this program would bring to myself and the campers.
How did you witness your leadership capacity change over the course of the camp?
I had worked smaller camps before through CCYM, but I had never really done anything major where I helped run the camp. As a YC, I ran errands for directors, led Junior Counselors in nightly reflection meetings and helped with a majority of worship services. It was also my job to make sure the JCs knew the curriculum for the day. I and the other YCs would actually go through the curriculum with them so that they were able to experience it themselves. Doing all of these different aspects of camp not only strengthened my organization and basic leadership qualities, I was also able to enhance and strengthen my spirituality with myself and my campers, making a better camp experience for everyone.
Prior to entering camp, how would you define leadership? Did that definition change once you finished camp? What did your experience teach you about leadership either at camp or in general?
Prior to camp, I would define leadership as being able to take initiative in a group or organization. Once I had finished camp, I had a completely different idea/definition of leadership. My experiences at camp revealed to me that the ability to lead in the physical aspect is only the bare minimum. To lead is to move people to a greater cause. At camp I was leading junior high kids in their understanding of who God was and how God is active in our day-to-day lives. When we lead with a step above the minimum, then we are making change for the better.
How have you incorporated your leadership experience in your local community/church/school?
I have incorporated my new leadership skills in my church and school. In school I am apart of Mu Alpha Theta, National Honors Society and Band. In NHS, I am treasurer, and as an executive officer I am able to vote on major decisions that create a safer and accepting space in my high school. At church, I am leading the Children’s Sunday School lessons, reading scriptures to the congregation and helping lead Youth and Children services on Wednesday nights. In CCYM, I took the position as Northwest District Lay Leader, and did quite a bit of work for our MidWinter camps. I helped with planning, leading worship and much more!
Share with us a little bit about how this experience has helped you in discerning your call to ministry.
In the past two years I have heard my call to ministry from God. I knew that this was the path God was leading me on, but like many others, I was nervous about it. I felt incapable of this path and that I did not have the abilities to truly serve the children of God. When I go to camp and started working, everything changed. I could feel my call, and knew that this is what I wanted to do. As Thursday approached, I was told by one of my directors that I would be leading a station by myself for our final activity. I read the quick lesson, and I prayed to God asking that I am shown that this is my purpose. I kept saying, “Just give me a sign Lord, just give me a sign.” Once I had finished up with my final group, one of the counselors stepped aside with me and told me that my station was one of the most spiritual thing he’d experienced. He said “ I don’t know what your plans are, but I know that you have a gift because I could feel God speaking to me in your voice.” That was my discernment in my call to ministry. I knew God felt confident in my abilities to lead and love people through my ministry.
Why would you recommend this experience to other youth?
I would recommend this experience for other youth because of the life-changing effects it had on me. Not only was I able to serve others and lead them to a better relationship with Christ, I was able to lead myself as well. I recommend the YC program because it is an opportunity that forces you to truly see yourself as God sees you. As someone that is worthy of purpose, love, and leadership. Five days changed my life completely, and I will forever advocate for this program with the most love and the highest regards.
Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2019