Sailing will teach you many things. It teaches skills and more about the people with you than almost anything. Now, take sailing and throw it into a summer camp experience. Wow!
I remember the first time I went sailing. It was at Camp Ao-Wa-Kiya on Stony Lake in Michigan. There were four of us on a Hobie Cat 16 (what is pictured above). These boats are used for racing. So naturally, they can go pretty fast. Otherwise, they are easy to learn on and very simple to operate alone or with one person. That is beside the point though. Anyways, It was my friends Ashleigh, Ethan, Christian, and myself. The three of them had been out at least one before. Ethan and Christian were the masters and Ashleigh and myself were the students. It was amazing. The wind through my hair and knowing that the only thing propelling us across the water was the wind catching the sail was just amazing. This was the summer of 2015.
The following summer (2016), Camp Ao-Wa-Kiya was gifted a “New” Hobie Wave. This is a lot smaller than the Hobie 16. It has one main sail; no boom, no Jib. It is the most simple boat to sail (in my opinion). I, without knowing anything, decided to take it out on the lake myself. This was a great opportunity. Everything was so smooth and easy. It just glided through the water. I can’t put into words the experience. This became a normality for me the rest of the summer. I would raise the sail and set off into the “unknown” for about an hour each day. Towards the end of the summer we have family camp. It was because of my (amateur) sailing knowledge that I made more (new) friends. These people who knew me all but for maybe three days, asked me to take them sailing. They trusted me.
Camp is a place near and dear to my heart (as many of you already know), and I can’t imagine not being given a new challenge every summer. I learn just as much on how to do things, as I learn about others and life. Camp is a very relational place and I would go as far as to say, camp IS the Church. Or at least, what a true Christian community is supposed to be. I like to think of it this way, new campers’ parents put the campers on boats and push them out saying, “Have Fun! You’ll figure it out.”. Now, the boat in this case is camp. New campers come and have no idea what to expect or what they will be challenged with; but they leave knowing new skills and recognising abilities that they didn’t know they had. if i could make a few more comparisons: Camp is a Hobie Wave, small, easy to use and control; Life (High School and beyond) is a Hobie 16, larger, faster, more skill is involved. They only difference is that when we are in each of these periods of time the boat seems a lot larger and a lot harder to control and understand; But after you spend sometime getting your sea legs, you understand that the boats aren’t as intimidating as they initially appeared. Joe Stowell, President of Cornerstone University, has said many times that life is like a train that people get on with you and leave but new people get on. I always enjoyed this analogy but now I see an issue with it. If you are riding the train, decisions are made for you (in a way), you coast through life without dealing with the hardships and the challenges. I would say that life is more like a sailboat. You start on the boat with your parents. They take control and guide for a while, but pretty soon you will get your own sailboat. But not before they show you some basics. You get your own boat and maybe you go for a while on your own. You hit storms head on and capsize a few times, but you always find a way to right yourself and sail on. Maybe a little later on you meet a fellow sailor that you fancy and you both decide to sail together under one sail. you will sail with this person till the end. Along the way though, you will add little sailors and you will teach them the same as your parents did you. They will get their own boats and leave you one day.
Life is an ocean. Set sail and hold on.
Now, I understand that this post is not so much on “Sailing” as it is on life. If I have mis-guided you in anyway, I am deeply sorry. If you would like a post on sailing and how to drop me a message or leave a comment.