In 2011, director Josh Foley went for a kind of meta-theme with “What’s The Theme?” as the theme. Until I conducted the following interview, I was never really sure what this year’s theme was all about.
So I got my answers from Lindsay Martin, who served as Program Assistant that year. If you don’t know Lindsay, I feel bad for you, but it’s possible you may also know two of her sisters: Jasmine and Morgan. They, too, have served different summers at Black Rock Retreat.
Want to know what “What’s The Theme?” is all about? Want to hear it from a great inside source at BRR? Keep reading, I’m sure you’ll enjoy!
Patrick: So in 2011, with “What’s The Theme?” … I have to ask you … what is the theme? Because I truly don’t know.
Lindsay: That was the hook, or the joke. You have to ask. The question contains the answer. What it was really about is discovery: discovering the essential themes of Scripture, and essentially who God is, and then – what’s the theme in your own life? And if your theme is something other than what you wanted it to be, or how it could be better with a relationship with God, the theme of redemption could change your theme.
Patrick: What was your contribution as Program Assistant to this theme?
Lindsay: During training week, staff shared testimonies with one another, and we were asked to share: “what’s the theme of your life?” And we did cardboard testimonies later that summer for Jr High and Teen weeks. We posted these cardboard testimonies on the stage at Laurel Side … we’d write what our theme had been on the one side, and then you flip the cardboard to see what the theme is in our lives now. It was a great way to have a conversation with a camper, either because they relate to the specifics, or because they were just intrigued by the story.
And there were so many different stories: pride, abandonment, anorexia … so many different issues were on display. All redeemed by Christ.
Patrick: Who had the idea to do cardboard testimonies?
Lindsay: There was a Vespers planning group, and we came up with it together. And I had seen cardboard testimonies done elsewhere, and we agreed it would be a powerful way to share our stories with the campers.
Patrick: Would you be comfortable sharing what was on your cardboard testimony?
Lindsay: On the front of mine it said “many friends, but alone.” I’ve always felt like I had lots of friends, but I wasn’t deeply known by anyone. It was all like, many casual friendships.
On the other side it said “known by God.” No matter how many friends I have, or how close a friendship I develop with someone else, I’m already fully known by God. That message of identity is progressive; my story is redeemed daily as I continue to remember that God really knows who and what I am.
Just because you become a Christian, the themes of these testimonies don’t just disappear. They aren’t removed. They’re made new and they change over time.
Patrick: You have worked at Black Rock Retreat every year since 2008. Six years in a row, and always a different position. Is this coincidence or did you want to try your hand at different experiences while working at summer camp?
Lindsay: It was not a coincidence.
After each summer, I’d be left with this feeling like “I’d totally do that job again.” But then curiosity led me to want to see what BRR’s summer camp could be like from another position.
In 2008 I was a Lifeguard. In 2009 my title was “Program Assistant” as it was in ’11, but I was essentially the Crafts Director that year. In 2010 I took the leap to being a counselor. I was counselor of Oriole A that summer, and I loved it.
But my gifts lend themselves more to activity planning. In 2011 I was Program Assistant. In 2012, I did Wilderness Director, which is something I never ever thought I’d do. I’m not exactly a big animal fan. But we started the canoeing option that year, and I was able to pave the way in offering canoeing. That was really exciting. In 2013, I was a Program Administrator, which made me a part of the Leadership staff. I spent a lot of time in the office this past summer.
Patrick: And across those six summers, what were the most natural and most stretching roles for you?
Lindsay: Strangely, Wilderness Director was the perfect fit for me. I was allowed to do my own thing, and I built the canoeing program from the ground up. It was great, and I’m so glad I did it. And I got to participate heavily in camp-out, helping with fire-building.
The one that challenged me the most was counseling. I loved it, but I missed planning and building activities. I had to devote myself to the campers, and I’m so glad I got to do that, but it’s not something I’m used to.
Patrick: What are your plans for summer 2014?
Lindsay: I’m not planning on coming back to Black Rock. It’s not because I wouldn’t love to. I’ve had a great six-year run. But I don’t want to overstay my welcome. Furthermore, I’m a teacher at a Christian school, so I’m in Christian ministry during the rest of the year. So this summer I’m taking a break, working on an organic farm in Colorado.
Patrick: Does that mean you’re never coming back to Black Rock?
Lindsay: At the moment, I do not plan to come back. I love BRR and I know I will someday send my children there and recommend it to anyone I know. For now, though, I am satisfied with the contributions I made. I finished the job there, and I did well: I’m willing to leave it as is.
Thanks again to Lindsay for explaining the theme, sharing her testimony, and telling us her plans for the near future.
Were you a camper or staff member during 2011, with the theme “What’s The Theme?” Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!