With the summer staff team leaving, Emilie and other students take on leadership.
Normally, by the time 6:00 p.m. rolls around on Friday evenings, Orlando Summer Project interns have left the office far behind. They might be roller skating together, eating dinner together, enjoying a quiet evening at home, or hanging out by the pool.
But not on this particular Friday night.
This Friday night finds every single intern on the 4th floor of the west building at Campus Crusade’s world headquarters.
The students are dressed up, the room is tastefully decorated, and the smell of Chinese food betrays what will be for dinner.
The students are joined by all 13 of the staff members. We have reached the halfway point in this internship, and this is where the students and staff team part.
For the next 3 hours, the group has dinner together, and the students take turns sharing how staff members have influenced their lives as mentors and friends.
The night concludes with a lot of goodbyes, a lot of hugs, and a lot of pictures. Then, the staff members leave, and we students are on our own for the rest of the summer.
For the first 5 weeks, the roles of our directors, small group leaders, and planning group leaders are filled by Campus Crusade staff members. They spend time mentoring the students, getting to know them, and learning where each is best suited to lead.
Once the first 5 weeks has passed, the staff team announces the new student leadership.
We now have students filling the roles of our 3 directors, as well as of each of our small group Bible studies. Our planning teams have student leaders as well. This places students in charge of organizing our outreach events, times spent together as a community, our weekly meetings, and our growth through outside speakers.
This switch allows students to be placed in positions that will challenge them in leadership, helping them develop in ways they wouldn’t otherwise have grown.
There is a mix of emotions as our staff members step away and let us lead the project on our own. A measure of excitement is present as we each begin to step into our new roles.
Personally, I found myself a bit nervous as well. My small group leaders, Amanda Starcher and Lindsay Sawyer*, asked me to step in and lead our small group after they leave.
This is a role I’ve never filled before. However, Amanda took extra time to sit down with me and go over the process of preparing our Bible study, and by the time it was my turn to lead, much of my nervousness was gone.
The staff team has done well in instilling confidence in us.
But, with the staff members leaving, there is also a measure of sadness. More than just our leaders, they have become close friends.
*Some names in this story have been changed