Camp’s Lasting Influence by the Rev. Will Compton

Way out on Way Road sits nestled by a lake, an oasis. It is similar to an oasis you would find in the desert. It provides nourishment, refreshment and sustenance. It is isolated; away from the cares and preoccupations of the world. For decades it has been and continues to be a refuge. There is a song in the old camp song books that sing of it in this way:

“Summers will come and summers will go

And others will learn what I’ve come to know

‘Cause all of the good times that I left behind

Are a legacy of treasures for others to find.”

I remember speaking with Bishop Seage the August before my senior year in seminary. I had come home to check in with him and the Commission on Ministry at Gray Center. We were talking with one another about potential ministry opportunities post-seminary. He asked me quite frankly how involved I might be in Camp Bratton-Green and its ministry in the diocese. I spoke at length of how important Camp Bratton-Green has been to my formation. If I am to be completely honest, Camp Bratton-Green is still today just as important to my formation as it was many years ago as a youth. That’s the thing about Camp Bratton-Green: I have graduated from high school and college and have moved on in many aspects of my life, but Camp Bratton-Green isn’t something that has been or was. It is something that continues to be.

Camp Bratton-Green. Bratton-Green. CBG. Or just “Camp.” It continues to form me. It continues to shape me. Just as it formed me in my adolescence, so does it now form me in my priesthood. Camp Bratton-Green is like your fingerprint. It stays with you even as you age and the fingerprints of Camp Bratton-Green have been imprinted on my life.

Last summer, I had the amazing chance to be the chaplain to the Permanent Staff. Permanent Staff is a group of college age folks who help with the day to day tasks of putting on camp each summer. I would spend some time with them on Sunday evenings each week and then I would visit during the afternoon one day during the week while camp was in session. After visiting Special Session 2, I mentioned in passing to one of the members of the permanent staff that I would love to be a special session director at camp. I never thought the opportunity would actually present itself. Now I have been tapped to be a co-director for Special Session 2. I am excited and nervous at the same time, but I accepted the task knowing one thing: that I will once again be transformed by Camp Bratton-Green.

Be transformed this summer. Sign up to staff a session. If you are an adult, consider being a cabin mom or a cabin dad. Send your kids to Camp Bratton-Green. Give them a chance at transformation as well. Support the ministries of Camp Bratton-Green. Be a part of the fun. Be a part of the laughter. Be a part of the community. Be a part of the love, for as the song I mentioned earlier also sings:

“The Big House has grown older and the faces have changed,

But the love that I feel is the very same.”