Influence for Good

When I was in my teens, I spent several years on staff at our local Girl Scout camp. One summer, we had a fire in the main lodge. The story as I remember it now is that a stove in a storage room ignited paint cans that were stored there. The stove should not have been operable; spray paint shouldn’t have been stored there. Nobody was really at fault, but it had costly consequences. The entire camp was evacuated, fire trucks came in with sirens blaring, and lots of girls cried in fear. Thankfully, the fire was quickly contained and extinguished. The damage was limited to the second floor of the lodge and the ceiling in the kitchen right below the room. The very next week, I was staff in the kitchen. Three meals a day, I stood below that gaping hole in the ceiling, constantly reminded of the power fire has.

The fire was a defining moment in some ways, but the words and actions of the staff defined me in far more ways. Words can destroy and tear down, or they can be used to build up. I had a lot of people who spent time building me up at camp. Boots gave me a chance to teach clogging (!) to a small group and encouraged me to thrive. She tapped me for extra roles and opportunities beyond summer camp. Bell had quick compliments and encouraged me to think beyond what I thought was my direction in life. Gage spent time with me beyond our assigned duties, even though I was five years younger than her. Hedgy and Monkey offered me friendships and a place in the shenanigans of camp pranks. The list could go on and on. These friendships and mentorships were influential to me as a teenager as they helped shape my view of the world and of myself.

We each have that power. It may not be through Girl Scout camps, but we have the power to shape the world through our relationships. Thank you for what you have done. I pray that you never forget that you have the power, even today, to influence others for good. Who can you share a word of encouragement with today?

See you soon.
Pastor Lynn

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