Besides being a teacher, I also work at a summer camp. I have known many of the kids who attend camp for YEARS as many of the kids return to us summer after summer. There is one particular camper who I have enjoyed getting to know for the past 6 years. She is entering 8th grade this fall…it is hard to believe that when I met her she was going into 3rd.
One of the most wonderful aspects about seeing these kids year after year is that I can truly appreciate their growth in a different way from my students. It’s true that I see how my students grow year after year and can appreciate their maturity, but it is not exactly the same as watching my campers for 6 or more years.
One of my first memories of the camper I mentioned is her singing Don’cha (Don’cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me…) as an 8 year old. I’m still a little scarred. And now, I listen to her talk about the various boys she has crushes on, and who she likes at camp (I don’t have the same “no boys” rule with my campers that I do with my students).
But today. Today, I had the opportunity to see yet a different side of this camper. What I didn’t mention is that this camper happens to attend my parish. From time to time I will see her and her family there. Well, today she was there–she was an altar server. It was a bit of a shock when I saw her, since I attend mass regularly and have never seen her before, but it ended up being a truly grace-filled moment. She was so reverent and attentive to the altar– I was so awed by watching her up there. A far cry from the little girl who used to sing “Don’cha.”
I talked to her after mass, and it turns out she has been an altar server since the 5th grade. Apparently they usually only schedule her for morning mass. I’m glad they assigned her to this Sunday as well.