Every class has one annoying know-it-all student that everyone hates to a degree (if yours didn’t, think carefully because it was probably you). In my class, and at my Sunday school, it was me.

Eleanor PorteI knew the Bible stories inside-out and could answer the questions without thinking and it was this that could have been the cause of my spiritual downfall – if it wasn’t for Scripture Union camps, that is!

I was sixteen years old when I first attended an SU Holiday and was first properly challenged to think about Jesus for myself. I learned more in a week than I thought was possible and came home already raving about returning the following year. It was this second camp that I had spent a year anticipating that changed my life – I properly devoted my life to Jesus for the first time.

Now, a few years on, I am no longer young enough to attend holidays as a camper, but I have graduated to being a leader which brings with it both new joys and new challenges.

If I am completely honest with myself, I initially agreed to be a leader for purely selfish reasons: camp was always the highlight of my summer and I couldn’t bear to give it up! The thought of going the rest of my life without the unique wonder of spending a whole week surrounded by young people who are excited by and enthusiastic about the Lord and exploring His word was too horrible a thought to comprehend.

Having said that, there are many other reasons why I continue to volunteer at SU Holidays. For one, I learn just as much at camp as I ever did as a camper and living in a Christian “bubble” for a week of the summer never loses its ability to psych you up for a life of following Jesus.

Moreover, the other volunteers who lead SU Holidays are amazing! It is a real privilege to get to know such a wide range of Christians from very different walks of life and benefit from their experiences. The fellowship of camp lasts not only for one week, but all year round and that is something SU should be very proud of achieving.

The main attraction of leading at an SU Holiday, however, is being able to help young people to nurture their faith and grow closer to God. At camp we have the unique opportunity of being able to spend every minute of every day for an entire week witnessing to these young people and sharing our stories with them. We can get to know them, show God’s love to them and present God to them in a way which is nigh on impossible in everyday life.

I feel very lucky to be returning to AV2 this year where I can yet again regurgitate all the answers my camp leaders gave me in the hope of giving someone the same epiphany I had at camp when I was right where they are.

Eleanor Porte