Kirsten sailing at GlencoeTo everyone at SU,

I started coming to SU when I was ten years old. That now feels like so long ago and this is actually the only year out of the last six that I have not attended even one camp. Six years ago my journey started with SU and this year has made me realise how incredibly grateful I am for everything you have done for me and for everything you do day in and day out. Booking opens in 5 days and I’m planning to come to at least two next year. I can’t wait. I'm counting down the days already. 

I want to thank you for all your hard work. Everyone in the SU family - from the leaders to the person that runs your Instagram account (where’s the Snapchat though?) - deserves a big hug and a massive bar of chocolate. 

My leaders over the ten (I think) camps I have been too could not have been better. You guys taught me about 75% of everything I know of God and still then the other 25% comes from the fire you lit in my heart - the longing to know more. You are brilliantly compassionate in all that you do and one of the main things that never fails to amaze me is how personal you are. We’re not just a bunch of annoying kids - okay, we are sometimes. But we’re also Kirsten and Jen and Cameron and Eilidh to you.

We’re individuals and you get to know us individually. We matter.

You'll tell us about your testimonies and make friends with us - we belong. If you could just chill on the room inspections... Actually, all my dorm mates would probably thank you for telling me to clean all of my junk, from all over the floor. No one could hate “Fun Games with James” or Colin Carmichael’s “Derek the Dalek”. Jackie couldn't hate our lovely rendition of “Hey Jackie” when we were supposed to be asleep... (Hey Jackie, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, Hey Jackie). Or Cat, one of my first leaders, who moved to New Zealand - I will always treasure the picture of us together from a disposable camera. Without even knowing it you've given me so much. 

I thank God for SU every time I go to church, see my best friend, or someone SU related pops up on my Facebook. I would have none of this without SU. Camp has also let me explore a completely different side of life and has brought me so many amazing friends from all over Scotland. And these are friends I don't know what I’d do without - friends that will listen to my life problems no matter what. I thank God that there is somewhere where I can meet people like them - and that place is SU so thank you. 

Earlier this year I found out about something called the SU Scotland prayer hotline and saw something amazing. A church, a family, praying for people they didn't even know going to camp. Something clicked then. All those times I thought I was coming back to God or that it just felt right, what I was being told had to be true - it wasn't me. It was all the SU prayer warriors that were basically randomers. Nothing is possible without prayer and I am so thankful for you. You are the people that changed everything for me and for so many others. Thank you.

Please keep praying - you have no idea how much of an impact you make. 

I cannot write this thank you without thanking the cooks that help out at every camp. I am so sorry for all the times I did not appreciate the time and effort you put into feeding us. I'm sorry for all the times I grabbed the food you were offering without even a thank you. I would offer to cook for you in return (that should be a thing - campers cook for the cooks for a night) but I’d probably make you all sick. I just don't have your talent. Thank you for dealing with my pickiness and my love of all things chocolate - oh my days, the hot chocolate after late night worship is the hot chocolate of all hot chocolate. In all honesty, you are the important people - we don't need leaders, we’re just hungry campers!! Thank you for looking after all of us hungry campers. 

Another group of people I cannot miss out are the instructors. You made sure Papa Smurf (the go-kart at Lendrick Muir, of course) was always in fine condition for racing. You also made sure I didn't die falling at the crate climbing activity. I know thats your job but you go above and beyond your job every single time you can. That seems to be the SU Scotland style. Thank you for making sure I didn't freeze after capsizing like a billion times at sailing camp. Also thank you for letting us use the engine on the big ship on the day trip - we would have never made it across for lunch, or even dinner. I have so many memories. And so many of them are down to you, the instructors, who astonishingly don't hate kids yet. In fact each time I go back to Altnacriche, I'm sure there’s another wee one of your own running around. Thank you for all you do in the name of Jesus, like tightening my helmet before the zip line. 

Thank you for making sure I came back when Jesus wasn't enough of an incentive. 

SU taught me love and courage and gave me hope through Jesus but also through knowing that there truly are some okay people in this world. Some of them are even more than okay. The love was tangible at SU. You could see it bouncing back and forth throughout camp. I will never forget how many laughs that love brought. Love was truly in the air!!

I don’t belong many places. I'm a wee bit weird, over excitable and positively uncool. But at SU it didn't matter because we were all a bit weird and uncool. Nah I’m kidding, you guys are the coolest - when you helped us make a film about a soft toy I knew I had hit prime coolness that no one at school could rival. By the way the soft toy murdered someone with a beach ball - classic Christian short film. But SU helped me find home. Yes, absolutely, home in Christ and in heaven. But also I found people that made me belong and through them I found a church where I knew was home. SU brought me home when I thought I had just left home to visit camp. SU was my quiet in a noisy world - I know it doesn't seem like a very quiet place to the leaders but trust me. In my world, running around and stressing about everything, you gave me quiet. To just sit on the grass with a tiny stream running next to me at Alltnacriche gave me that peace I needed. It gave me so much strength. I could belong somewhere.

Kirsten at Go Conference

I also want to thank the chief executive and the big guys of SU Scotland. I have never met you (at least, I don't think so...), but you are obviously the power source for this business. It doesn't feel like a business in that I don't feel like a customer. You have built something incredible. Thank you for keeping it running. Thank you that the prices are kept affordable and the holidays are accessible. Thank you for the advertisement. Thank you for never forgetting Jesus or to be personal. Thank you for putting your time and effort into kids like me. I owe you so much. 

I feel like I could never write enough memories or thank you’s to express my gratitude and my love for SU. One day I hope to thank each person that has impacted my life through SU in person. I will probably cry and will most definitely never be able to repay you. But my thank you comes from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, thank you, and thank you another million times over. You have given me Christ and that is the greatest gift of all. The brochure just came through my letter box for next year and like I said I am counting down. I can’t wait for all the memories I will make in the future with SU.

You have, without a shadow of a doubt, changed my life and changed me. I am eternally grateful. 

Kirsten Watson

 

This story dropped into our inbox a few months ago, and caused a few emotional moments around the office for us all! Do you have a story to share of involvement with SU Scotland?

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