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Leading from the Back

Grace, a sophomore at Roanoke College, just completed her first summer on staff at Lutheridge after being a camper for 12 years.

“I’m not an up-front person,” she shared. “I never have been. I don’t see myself as creative. I have always been more logical.” Much to her surprise, during her first week on staff she found herself on a Lutheroad day camp in Peachtree City, GA with a group of mostly returning staff.

“They were pushing me to lead from the front,” she said. These returning staff recognized an opportunity to help Grace, a first-year counselor, build confidence and skills managing a group of children and inspiring energy, but it was a bit unsettling for Grace. She had never been challenged like that before. She preferred blending into the background where it was comfortable.

Grace handled the challenge by turning to her Lutheridge summer staff prayer partner group. “We became close, and I could share my worries and hopes with them. They would help me sort it all out. They supported me.”

During staff meeting each week the newly formed counselor groups consider the upcoming schedule and each other’s strengths and growing areas. They asked the question, “where do I want to lead from this week?” Before being a counselor, Grace would have considered herself a background person. The concept of “leading from the back” was new to her. Asking this question and talking it out as a group gave Grace an opportunity to try leading from the back, the middle, and the front.

Grace used this same technique with her own campers after seeing it modeled for her. “It was my first cabin group, and I was already scared before they even arrived. They were middle schoolers. Middle schoolers need lots of love,” she admitted. After meeting her campers the first night, Grace quickly realized that *Julie was questioning a lot of things. “I realized pretty quickly I was going to have to love on her a little more.” Julie had announced to her cabin group that she didn’t believe in God. She was more interested in Greek Mythology. Each night, during cabin time, Grace