By: Hannah Jackson
Last summer Cesar Solis flew from sunny California to spend his summer serving as a counselor in Livingston, Texas. Cesar prioritized how he spent his summer to step into one of the most incredible experiences Camp Cho-Yeh offers college students. That is, the opportunity to be a mentor to young students as they encounter the truths of who God is and how they are loved by Christ.
Cesar served as a counselor for elementary and young middle school boys. If you ran into Cesar throughout the day, he always was excited to brag on how incredibly lucky he was to witness his campers learning to encourage one another, or to rise to the challenge of stepping out in faith in new ways. Getting to meet some of these campers, they all spoke so fondly of the wise, older brother figure they saw in their counselor.
“I look up to Cesar because he is so nice to us and I want to be like him when I get older” 6th grader, Luke said. “Cesar telling personal stories about his time in middle school has helped me feel ready for it, as well as being super relatable. Even just looking up and seeing him reading his Bible during rest time, it makes me eager to make that same effort for myself.”
Sometimes counselors’ impact has the unique opportunity to extend beyond the reach of camp. One week, Cesar and his co-counselor had a cabin full of sixth grade boys who all played select baseball together. After leaving camp at the end of the week, the team actually had a baseball tournament locally the next weekend and they invited their counselors to watch them play. As a testament to the deep care counselors develop towards the campers they encounter, Cesar and his co-counselor chose to attend this tournament on their day off to support their campers.
“That group of boys truly touched my heart” Cesar said. “It was so cool to send them off, knowing that they had such strong community within their group.”
As much as counselors give their whole effort, heart, time, and care for the campers they encounter each week; the impact the campers leave on counselors, like Cesar, often leaves an even greater impression.