Camp Life: Week 1


John Luke and I are spending our summer working out at camp. We’re back in Louisiana not far from home at Camp Chyoca. Camp Chyoca is where John Luke grew up and holds a really special place in his heart. John Luke is the activities director, and I get to be the camp photographer. We both love camp and everything that it entails. Songs, campfire, games, swimming, arts and crafts. Its hot and and its humid, but the impact it makes on kids is incredible. I can say that from personal experience. I started going to camp when I was 10 years old and went every year till I graduated high school. I looked forward to it all year long and was so sad every year when it ended. There’s just something so special about summer camp…the friendships you make, the counselors who you look up to, and the worship that brings you to tears. The Lord’s presence is just so evident. It’s so nice to step away from busy lives and a crazy world and just have some unplugged, peaceful, quiet time.

I did work study at the camp I grew up at once, but other than that, this is my first time to be working at camp. I always dreamed of being a camp counselor. I had so many incredible camp counselors growing up that I looked up to so much. I still keep up with many of them and have been invited to a lot of their weddings! I always wanted to do what they did, but the summer after I graduated high school I traveled, the next summer I got married, and last summer we were filming for Duck Dynasty. So I am really excited to be finally working out at a camp.

Although I’m on my camera and uploading pictures for camp a lot, I’m trying to have more of an unplugged summer personally. I I will be updating my blog once a week though to share what I’m learning.

Here’s what I’ve learned in a week:

Camp is hard.

I’m not sure how I didn’t see this coming. I knew it would be challenging, but I just didn’t dwell on it enough to really think through it. Camp ministry is one of the biggest ministries. It’s one of the main places where kids and teens dedicate their lives to God! Which is so awesome! But that means the enemy does not want it to succeed and is going to attack. Coming into this our director talked about this and mentioned how the enemy has already been at work with his family and the other directors. I’m learning you have to be on guard and expect the enemies attacks because if you don’t already realize things are coming from the enemy, you’ll start to blame others, when you and them are on the same team.

I’m learning at camp you’ve got to have that constant communion with God. Camp is so fun and so awesome and so rewarding, but by the end of the day (and the middle of the day, and the morning when you wake up haha) you can find yourself exhausted. Exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. But through the exhaustion you’ve got to be loving, you’ve got to have joy, and peace and patience and kindness and gentleness and faithfulness and self-control. All the fruits of the spirit. And if you’re neglecting your time with the Lord and trying to manufacture these things on your own, you’re going to wear yourself out…you just can’t do that. You can’t run on your own reservoir. These things HAVE to be actual fruits from THE SPIRIT. I’ve been reading the Psalms because I find them so refreshing and I keep coming back to this particular one.

Psalm 46:4 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.”

Out here at camp we’ve got to keep our bodies hydrated, but we’ve also got to keep our spirits hydrated. Drinking lots of water will keep our bodies feeling good, and abiding in Him is what’s going to keep our spirits refreshed. So that’s it for the week. Camp can be hard, but its so good and its so worth it!! Plus being able to capture the smiles and the laughs coming from these kids as they enjoy God, enjoy nature, and enjoy each other is just a breath of fresh air.

Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

flannel: ShopMyOtherHalf

boots: Sorel Out N’ About boot (mine are the quarry color, but are no longer sold)


17 comments so far.

17 responses to “Camp Life: Week 1”

  1. Sarah Norman says:

    It’s awesome that your spreading God’s love and kindness!!! It’s so refreshing to see people truly seeking God!! You’re awesome!!???

  2. Julia says:

    I love Church Camp!! Look forward to mine every year!! I’m sure you are an awesome camp counselor!

  3. Lindsay Kate says:

    I love how God works! He comes to us in ways we could never imagine! My parents are youth pastors, they bring our youth group to a summer camp every year(Discovery Camp)!
    This is my first time going, I am sooooo excited to see what God has in store! I live your hat by the way!

  4. Nat R. says:

    You have no idea how happy I am to get on your blog and see a new post. Diretamente do Brasil, parabéns pela publicação e pelo belo texto! ♥

  5. Cheyenne Dee says:

    I love that verse. Psalm 34:8. I hope camp brings you a lot of joy this summer. And Pippa’s haircut is the cutest!

  6. Madison Guy says:

    I worked at a Christian camp last year and LOVED it. It definitely gets tough, but the reward of seeing so many kids have fun and hopefully accept Jesus was so worth the 105+ degree/humid weather!

  7. Rachael says:

    I really love that John Luke and you are doing this this summer! It will be awesome for those kids to see a young married couple and to see how it doesn’t prevent you from doing fun or important stuff like this. I appreciate that you already know to keep making sure to pour into your own relationship with God to help keep you going this summer, don’t ever forget that. Last summer I worked at a camp where that never felt like an option most days (time) and I definitely think that the summer/camp/etc. would have gone a lot better if the counselors had been more able to focus on their relationships with God privately. I hope you have a wonderful and safe summer and that the kiddos can impact you and help draw you closer to the Lord as much as you do for them. <3 Rachael

  8. Shari says:

    pippa looks even more human with her haircut!!!

  9. Kathryn Mader says:

    Growing up, summer camp was an awesome experience for me. There’s nothing like it, it’s the best. Enjoy and I can’t wait to hear more reports on your time there and with the campers.

  10. Rachel says:

    I volunteer as a camp counselor at the summer camp I went to when I was young and I love it. This summer will be my fifth year and each year is a wonderful adventure with God. Once you work at a camp once you always want to come back and every year I look forward to it. It’s a truly joyful time but I completely understand how it can be difficult. I have had some really hard times at camp and there has been a time or two where I had breakdowns…. I don’t know what truly causes it but I know it’s God doing something in my life that matters. I think one thing that anyone who is going to work at a Christian Camp should know is that your campers all come from different backgrounds and it’s important to realize this, I’ve had campers from great Christian families, I’ve had campers from foster care, divorced homes, and even abusive homes. It’s so difficult to help children who are hurting so deeply, but it’s so amazing to see God work through you to help them and see the change in them. Every year I pray for all my campers past and future, I pray for campers that I know I’ll get to know this coming summer and I pray that they are safe and building a relationship with Christ. If you get the chance take it. You’ll never regret it.

  11. Lynn says:

    Love the blog Mary Kate! I personally look up to you so much ! Not related to the blog topic or anything but I was wondering if you workout or eat clean and try to maintain your body ( not trying to sound weird just curious ?☺)

  12. Summer Camp was the best experience in my life. I always looked forward to going every summer and I worked as a counselor the summer after my freshman year of college. I think working at camp is the best way to grow in your faith and strengthen your relationship with God. You all are going to have a blast (I saw Korie is working there as well… so much fun!). Soak it all in and enjoy the time to unplug for the most part. I can’t wait to read about how the Lord works in all of your lives this summer and what an impact the camp makes on you and you make on the camp!

  13. JJ Stribling says:

    This is actually my first year after three summers that I’m not working at camp 🙁 but crazy enough God brought me into my home church as a summer intern which is going to bring even more difficulties haha! But excited that you get to finally be a camp counselor. I truly believe every college student should experience this at least once because it is so rewarding and God teaches so much within that crazy, hectic, brilliant time!

  14. Ellie Jewett says:

    Hey Mary Kate! I love what you wrote about the Fruits of the Spirit… that topic has been on my heart for a while and I actually wrote a blog on it recently if you want to read it! Here is the link:

  15. Rachael says:

    It’s really inspiring what you’re doing this summer (and what you’re always doing), spreading God’s love. I have never been to a camp like that but it seems like a blast! Being a photographer would be so fun! I love taking pictures and just recently got a Canon T6. Do you have any tips for what settings to have on your camera? (Maybe a blog post 😉 I love looking at your photos for inspiration but sometime i’m so lost when it comes to getting the right lighting or focus for my own photos.

  16. Hanna says:

    Marykate! You’re website is Wonderful! Where did you make it?! Oh Pipa, so cute! I’d love to make a website like this! Also wanted to tell you, your very inspiring marykate ❤️ ??

  17. Emma says:

    I love love love your photography. Pictures are my favorite thing ever!! I am looking at Liberty for a business major with a photography minor. What camera do you use? I just use my iphone 5s but with good lighting the pictures look so clear! What do you love most about photography?

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