By Tara Brooks My favorite part of the summer is working for Passport Camps. There is nothing quite like teaching, serving, and sweating alongside fellow staffers, campers, and chaperones of all ages. After six summers of working for Passport, I thought I knew exactly what summer looked like. I knew I would encounter Christ in beautifully unimaginable ways. I knew I would work with a staff of sixteen amazing staffers, sharing our love of youth and our belief in Passport ministries. I knew I would leave the summer changed forever. What I forgot, however, is I am now a divinity student. I came into the summer with knowledge and insight I did not have before. More importantly, I came into the summer with confidence I did not have before. Sure, there were several times this summer where I knew exactly what to do because of experience—and there were several more times where no experience could prepare me for the outcome. Yet one year at McAfee made all the difference. From the time I applied, I stepped out on a ledge inspired by my year at McAfee. After five summers of working kids camp, my year of classes, community and leadership opportunities helped me realize that I could also work with youth. I did not need to be afraid of the crises, the tears or the serious theological questions that come with teenage years—McAfee equipped me. McAfee equipped me to teach Bible Study lessons with confidence, helping youth hear the voice of God in new, yet familiar ways. McAfee equipped me to lead a mission site with a new understanding of missions and of our role as servants in the present and ongoing Kingdom of God. McAfee equipped me to listen to a young girl in crisis, grieving alongside her and becoming a pillar of support as she talked to her youth minister about her situation for the first time. McAfee equipped me to love youth unconditionally, even on days I did not feel adequate. McAfee equipped me to love my staff, not because it would be easy, but because it would be worth it. Not once this summer did I feel like I served alone; instead, I walked in with the thousands of people connected to this beautiful place of ministry surrounding me. I cannot begin to reflect on my summer with Passport without first thinking about my McAfee experience. The faculty, staff, and fellow students at McAfee inspire me daily to simply live life as one called by God to serve humanity. This summer was not just a confirmation of my calling to ministry, but also my calling to McAfee School of Theology. Passport Camp helped me to realize just how much changed in a year. It is amazing what a year in a seminary so full of love, knowledge, and action did not just for my ministry skill set, but for my soul. The theme of Passport Camps 2013 was, “Tag, You're It”—McAfee provides a seminary experience that does just that. McAfee does not just teach. McAfee does not just inspire. McAfee equips students in beautifully practical and holy ways to go out and be the presence of Christ in the world. ………..
Tara Brooks is a second year MDiv student at McAfee School of Theology studying Ethics and Academic Research. She is the Religious and Spiritual Life Intern at Oxford College of Emory University and serves on the Student Advocacy & Leadership Team at McAfee. This year, Tara served her sixth summer with Passport Camps as a Bible Study Leader on the Passport Missions Team.