If you’ve been around Mt. Gilead for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that there’s something different about the people here (we call ourselves Gilead Girls). A deep bond of love and friendship runs through the staff and campers that is beautiful to watch and participate in.
For parents and families who have not fully engaged in camp life, it can be hard to distinguish what exactly is different about the people at Mt. Gilead, so I asked our staff what it means to be a Gilead Girl. They shared with me what makes Gilead Girls unique and what staff members strive to instill in the campers (young Gilead Girls) who pass through our gates. Here are the three main things that define what it means to be a Gilead Girl.
1: A Love for God
“I think what makes Gilead Girls unique is firstly our relationships with God because it helps us all love every person who comes to camp and helps us stay strong through the summer so staff can keep the camp fun and alive every week! And secondly, the community that we Gilead Girls share. It’s amazing to see how welcoming and genuine the staff is at camp, and I know everyone feels like they can be themselves because of that genuineness. Mt. Gilead shares the love and acceptance of God in a miraculous way!” – Rachel Beisser
“Gilead girls come in all colors, shapes, and sizes! You can recognize a Gilead girl by her love for the Lord, which is so apparent in the way she treats and loves others. She is intentional in each of these relationships and is always striving to strengthen them. She is always offering a listening ear or a helping hand.” – Zazu
2: A Love for People
“To me, being a Gilead Girl is so special. I see girls who are so compassionate and caring towards everyone they meet. I see girls who are so dedicated to learning more about God and strengthening their relationship with Him. I love how at camp, everyone is encouraged to be themselves with no judgment and how comfortable we are there. I love the atmosphere of Mt. Gilead as well: It’s a home away from home! We may get there as strangers, but we leave as friends with a great understanding and appreciation for each other.” – Penny
“Being a Gilead Girl means always being there for the people around you. Whether that’s encouraging them, praying with them, or just keeping each other accountable.” – Grace Lenahan
“Being a Gilead Girl means being yourself and being loved for who you are. You experience the joy of being in a Christian community of godly women and are challenged personally and with others. You get to try new things, meet new people, and grow closer to God by being encouraged and supported to seek Him in personal practices/disciplines and teachings.” – Kori
3: A Determination to Live Well
“Embracing the hill. Not shying away from what is difficult but good and beneficial. Facing the challenge and rising to it – and getting to see where God has taken me (and others!) as a result.” – Whippoor
“Being a Gilead Girl means living unashamed. Unashamed to be yourself, to be silly and crazy, but most importantly to be unashamed of the Gospel and to scream “Praise the Lord” from the mountain top after a much needed ‘attitude check’!” – Zora
I am so thankful for the amazing staff and campers God has brought to Mt. Gilead, and I am in awe of the work God has done through his people at this ministry. I have been helped, encouraged, and convicted by the sisters in Christ I have here, but can I let you in on a secret? We are imperfect people. Although we strive to live in a way that would honor God and lead others closer to him, we often make mistakes. The point of being a Gilead Girl is not that we are perfect or that we love perfectly, but that we are following a perfect God who has endless amounts of grace for each new day.
Zazu said it best when she said, “Gilead girls recognize that they are imperfect beings who have flaws and failures but rejoice in knowing that they were created by a perfect God!” You see, it’s God’s love for us and our desire for him that changes us into the best versions of ourselves as we learn how to imitate Christ.
What makes a Gilead Girl so special is not how wonderful she is, but that she has Christ inside of her helping to seize the opportunities to love God, love those around her, and live well. She will mess up and make mistakes, but she has access to a helper who understands her weaknesses and advocates for her at the right hand of the Father. She can get back on her feet and continue to move forward with the help of her savior and the help of the other Gilead Girls who surround and love her.
So I invite you to come along for the ride. Do you want to be a Gilead Girl? Come to Mt. Gilead, where you will be loved and cherished and where you will see God in that love. Come along, and we’ll show you the way as we show you Jesus. Come join the family!