In a week, our family will be in the midst of helping and attending our mission’s annual Sports and English Camp.
It is… by far… my most dreaded week of the year. Just as church camp was when I was young. And almost any church activity actually… especially youth group.
I like that we have a camp like this, and as far as camps go, this is a good one! But it just isn’t how an introvert would choose to spend their time.
The camp lasts one week and it EASILY takes me 2 full weeks after camp before I want to talk to anyone.
On two occasions in the past, we have held the camp just before or after another week-long conference and on both occasions I have gotten shingles from the stress and suppressed immune system.
I usually help out quite a bit in the kitchen where I can be of great help to everyone (preparing their meals) and see everyone as they go through the line to get food where I can greet the campers and staff and pray for them. Sometimes these few seconds of contact can lead to deeper conversations later in the day. The kitchen is a really good place for me.
The food is all outsourced this year… so no kitchen help is needed…
I’m really not grumpy about this. My family loves it and so I love it just for that reason.
Clearly I need to find ways to continue to cope with this reality in my life, but I wouldn’t consider not going and helping out however I can for as long as I can with whatever strength I can find and all the extroversion I can muster.
I love a lot that comes out of camp. People hear about the love of Jesus and his teachings. I’m usually able to connect with a few students (usually other introverts) and keep in touch with them even outside of camp.
I’m just saying that camp is not made with introverts in mind.
But what if it were??
Aubry Smith has a post called Introvert Summer Camp in which she offers a “fairy-tale proposal for church camp geared toward introverts”.
I really enjoyed it. I think extroverts might gain some insight into what introverts prefer and might help people consider the real needs of introverts and not just call everything (thoughtfulness, quietness, etc) “shyness”.
Of course, Introvert Camp would be nearly as boring for extroverts as regular camp is a headache for introverts… so it will probably remain a fairy tale. However, her post highlights some of the issues that are most difficult for introverts at camp. She lists 7 things:
- Actual Quiet Time
- Low-key worship
- Processing time after the message
- Separate sleeping quarters
- Group time
- No guilt for introversion
- Excitement and volume don’t equal devotion
Aubry treats the topic with humor and honesty. Well done!
H/T Adam S. McHugh at Introverted Church