BY LUKE HEIM
CHRISTIAN CHURCH PASTOR
June 20, 2010 “What It Means To Be a Man”
For the first time in 20 years, I was unable to counsel at camp last summer due to Covid. This year I am grateful to be a counselor at our high school camp in Guthrie once again.
Counseling is very rewarding. I’ve watched kids come to know Jesus for the first time and teenagers grow in their faith. These spiritual leaps have always outweighed the sleepless nights, pranks, and the sneaking out.
There was one special year over a decade ago that I will remember forever. The counselors got creative in limiting these late-night rendezvous by creating one of their own. At 2 a.m., the male counselors devised a plan to wake up their campers and kidnap them to perform what was called “The Serenade.”
With flashlights and blindfolds in hand, we told the boys to get up and get dressed, as we led them to an unused cabin down the hill. With sixty adolescent males crowded into one room, we began to tell them the plan: we were going to serenade the girls. As a slide show detailed how we would flank the girls’ cabins on all sides, Mission Impossible music cranking in the background, the kids’ eyes turned from fear to excitement. For the final twenty minutes, we rehearsed love songs such as L.O.V.E by Nat King Cole, and I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith.
About 3 a.m. we began moving like tactical army men through the woods of Colorado, down to the five girls’ cabins on the other side of camp. As soon as a counselor’s bagpipes signaled our arrival, we all stood at attention in three perfect rows ready to belt out our love to the ladies. As we sang, the girls began to peer through their windows and come slowly out on the porches, confused as to what was going on. After the fourth or fifth song, three of the seniors ran to give a few girls roses. As the final song commenced, all sixty guys sprinted back to the small cabin where we congratulated each other on a well-done serenade.
Then one of the counselors said, “Tonight you have grown up. As boys you would have whined about doing a serenade. But tonight, you became men. Men who learned to treat women with respect and love. Men who saw the value of validating and making these girls feel special. This is what it means to love, cherish, provide for and protect your sisters in Christ. I hope you will continue to be men in treating your wife, your children, your grandchildren with this same passion and care. I am so proud of each and every one of you. Now, go get to bed!”
Of course, none of these boys fell asleep for another hour. They were so proud, so honored, so grown-up.
Ever since that first serenade back eleven years ago, the tradition at that small camp in Colorado continues to this day. Men, one of the greatest things we can do is teach our young boys to love, respect, and cherish our sisters in Christ.