I just had the best month of my life (so far, as my Work Crew bosses continuously reminded us…God has even bigger things planned) on Work Crew at YoungLife’s camp in New York’s Adirondacks; Saranac Village. I spent a month of my summer, June 23rd through July 21st to be exact, cleaning bathrooms, worshipping, and living alongside forty-ish strangers that were all about my age, and as weird as that statement might sound, it was the best of times. I’ve been trying to get this post together since I got back and I’ve found that there’s truly no way to recap or write a travel diary that would come close to encompassing my time on Work Crew at Saranac Village. That being said, today I’m just sharing a few thoughts, memories, and lessons from this insanely memorable month as well as a ton of photos and a video I made. Enjoy!
As strong as I felt my faith had grown to be over the course of my high school years, I never truly found my strength in God or talked to Him as frequently as I did on Work Crew. Yes, Work Crew was a ton of fun, but there comes a point when you’re picking the hair off of what feels like your trillionth shower wall and you just can’t find the will to keep going within yourself, that’s when it comes from Jesus. Suddenly the reminder strikes you. The reminder that everything, every single meticulous and disgusting thing you’re doing is for the purpose of showing high school kids like you the unconditional love of God. Then cleaning toilets become less about how disgusting the bottom of the seat is and more about how you can pray for the open heart of every camper that sits on it. While from the outside looking in Work Crew seems to be a voluntary service to show campers the best week of their lives at YoungLife camp, being on Work Crew does just as much for the individual volunteering as it does for the campers on the receiving end. Being on Work Crew gave me a front row seat to some big miracles. Being on Work Crew gave me a community like no other, one that prayed over people whenever anything went wrong and encouraged people no matter what they were doing. Being on Work Crew taught me how to be patient with people that I don’t see eye to eye with and how to love people the way God does. Being on Work Crew gave me new outlook and mission for my community at home. Being on Work Crew enabled me to grow my faith in ways I didn’t even know where possible. I can confidently say that I will never be the same.
I only briefly mentioned that sweet community, but I could talk about each person on Work Crew for days on end. My love for these people is endless, and I’d do anything to hear Kayla’s loud laugh or see Derren dance in person right now. I don’t know what I did to deserve such an amazing group of people, but I know God planned for each and every one of us to be on Work Crew at Saranac for session two from the beginning of time. There’s no other explanation for how every person on Work Crew clicked so well, like puzzle pieces. God is too good to us and showed up in everyone on Work Crew in the coolest ways this month. From our cabin huddling on the guide house dock in silence to watch the sunrise at 5:00 a.m. to the housekeeping crew’s late big cookie on Sunday nights, His presence was so clear in every moment.
I honestly don’t even know what else to say about this month, other than that I’m ecstatic to reunite with everyone on Work Crew in Heaven. I made the video below to a remix of one of the songs they played on repeat in the dining hall while bussing tables (I loved the song before Work Crew too but that sentimental connection is an added bonus) and I’d be lying if I said the quick flashing of happy faces around the two minute and thirty second mark didn’t bring tears to my eyes every time. You probably won’t cry nearly as easily as I do since you don’t actually know these people, so I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.
This video was created using iMovie. All the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM lens. The background song is “Take It All Back (BRKLYN Remix)” by Judah & The Lion.
Below are twenty-four photos from Work Crew. Yes, I know that’s probably an excessive amount but I was there for a month and the property was stunning and I couldn’t leave any of these memories out. Sorry!
This might seem strange but I’d really like to close this post in a prayer if that’s alright with y’all.
Hey God, thank you for my month at Saranac Village. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet and serve alongside some of the best friends I’ll ever have. Thank you for showing me what it means to be a servant, what it means to be a disciple, and what it means to be a friend. Thank you for the peak of our Sabbath days and the dirtiest camper bathroom and every moment in between. Amen.
Thanks for reading!