Kindall Crummey is a southern, small town girl with big dreams. She lives in Macclenny, FL where she spends her days teaching 6th graders and finding adventure in the platform she’s been given. Kindall has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry and she enjoys writing, speaking, and sharing life with her family and friends. She is a kid at heart and has a deep love for student ministry. Kindall is a huge fan of big laughs, the beach, and birthdays. You can read more from Kindall on her blog at kindallcrummey.com.
FUGE-A Thread the Runs Deep
Middle and high school years were a critical time for me, as they are with everyone. As I look back over those years, I know that FUGE has been a thread that runs deep and is woven into the woman I am today. In each stage of life from middle school into adulthood, FUGE has held a constant presence each summer and has had a lasting impact on my life. This is my story.
Few things have transformed my life the way FUGE has. As a shy 8th grade girl leaving home for the very first time to go to summer camp, I had no idea what to expect of that week. I had seen videos and talked with my adult leaders about what was going to happen, but nothing could truly prepare me. I needed to live it and experience what FUGE was for myself. Little did I know that I would never be the same.
After that first summer, I couldn’t wait to go back. And every summer since my 8th grade year, I went to Centrifuge. It was a highlight even for someone like me, who was shy and quiet. I loved the atmosphere and the activities. I loved the people, but most of all, I loved that I knew I would meet Jesus there. For six years, I attended camp as a student and discovered just before I graduated from high school that I didn’t want camp to be over for good. It felt final. God had placed a desire in my heart to be a FUGE staffer someday. I prayed about it and finally found the guts to pursue it.
In the fall of 2007, I applied to serve as a Centrifuge staffer. After several twists in the plot, I landed in Panama City Beach in the summer of 2008 as one of the youngest Bible study leaders on staff. Working camp was by far one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding experiences of my life. It was brave for me, and being a staffer was both a dream come true and an answered prayer. It taught me to persevere and keep going even when I felt like giving up. It taught me in a very real way that God has given me gifts and talents that are unique and that I can use those to share Jesus with people. Even though I had grown up in the church, I don’t think I believed in myself as much as I learned to believe that summer. I saw and felt God hold me up. I met friends who very quickly became like family to me. They encouraged me and prayed for me. They loved me well. And now, as I look back, I can’t believe how nervous I was to do this- to go away from home all summer to work camp. It was one of the best summers of my life. My team was phenomenal. We loved being together and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard. Although we may be all over the country now and in completely different seasons of life, I still think of them often and we keep up with each others’ lives thanks to social media. Working camp everyday was an adventure, and I loved that. I loved the spontaneity. I loved being there and taking in those moments with my people. I learned that God had even bigger plans for my life and I had no idea where I’d go from there, yet in that moment I knew that was exactly where I needed to be. Because of obedience and a little bravery, God had carried me through.
After that summer, my life changed drastically in the years that followed and due to graduation, teaching 6th grade, seminary, and summer travel I have not had the opportunity to be on staff for a full summer again. I do miss working camp, but I realized that that season’s page was turning and God was taking me to the places I needed to be. Since then, God has moved in some amazing ways in my life. I found the Lord calling me to serve my local church in a more involved capacity. I began working with high school students and accompanying them to FUGE each year. Going to camp as an adult chaperone is a VERY different experience than going as a student or being on staff. At first it felt so grown up to be the adult chaperone! The pace is slower (a little), and I had to adjust to being “welcomed” to camp instead of being the one doing the welcoming. Something inside of me still wanted to stand at the open doors for morning celebration and give high fives and scream, “Gooooooood Morning!!!!” (with much emphasis and my southern accent trailing behind) until my throat was sore and scratchy or jump around until I was completely out of breath. It’s the little things. And there’s a piece of the camp staffer crazy that never really leaves you.
Although many pages have turned in my story and I’m no longer a student or a staffer, God has moved in my life every summer. I attend camp with my students because I’ve been a product of life-change at FUGE camps. Now, my students are asking me what to expect of their first FUGE experience! Summer after summer, regardless of the capacity, I’ve seen God’s hand molding me and shaping me into what I am today. I pray that my students will see that too in their own lives. I’ve witnessed all sides of camp and in every season, God has breathed into me a new perspective on life and ministry. As an adult, I’m honored and humbled to walk this road with my students. I consider it a great privilege to be here with them because I once stood right where they stand.
To truly tell all that FUGE has meant to me is difficult. There’s so much I could say; so much good has come from all of this. I can’t think of another influence that has been so constant in my life through every season. People come and go, but God saw fit for FUGE to be a mile marker for me. And in every leg of my journey thus far, FUGE has been just that. From the awkward middle school years, to high school, through college, graduation, and discovering my place in the world, FUGE has been written onto the pages of each chapter. I am so thankful to be able to look back and see the journey. And, as I’m sure anyone with camp experience would say, “Oh, the stories and memories I’ve collected along the way!”