In March we hosted WorkFest at Camp AJ. WorkFest is a time of excitement around camp, since that is the biggest event we have besides summer camp. Because of all the excitement I found myself staying at camp much later than usual. There were many events to attend, like concerts and info sessions, but also many of my friends were here during that time, so I joined them to play games and spend time together. It was a grand time.

One night when I was walking back home (to the Jackson volunteer house) after a fun time at camp, I looked up at the stars. I thought when I came out to rural Kentucky that the stars would be awesome. They were, but you have to know where to look to see them, past the trees and mountains. This particular night was one of few when I accidentally had a great view of the stars. I glanced up and I was blown away at the number of stars and their beauty. I could also hear the waterfall that runs over the end of the dam. That sound made me think of the kids at summer camp, who love to play in the creek below the waterfall, looking for crawdads. I could see all these laughing campers and counselors in my mind, while I was seeing the stars with my eyes. In that moment, God’s presence in my life became intensely apparent. I am incredibly grateful that I had this crazy idea to come volunteer. I have seen the most beautiful sights and encountered Jesus in hundreds of happy people, which in turn has made me happy.

One of my friends recently shared this video about what scientists say makes your brain happy. I like the thesis this video is attempting to prove. That thesis is "The pursuit of gratitude and compassion will make you happier than the pursuit of happiness." I think this is true. I have spent a lot of time pursuing happiness, but I most happy when I am building relationships with people or experiencing something that I am thankful to have experienced.

I am thankful for being here and having all of these CAP experiences, but more than that, I am thankful that I was created and allowed to enjoy this life. All thanks be to God!

Anna is an AmeriCorps Educator/Summer Camp Counselor at CAP’s Camp Andrew Jackson and is a member of the Jackson Volunteer Community. She graduated from Bellarmine University in 2013. Opinions expressed in volunteer blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CAP or the Volunteer Program.

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