Everyone I know could tell you that I have always had a passion and love for outdoor adventures. But to me, outdoor adventures were always limited to family camping trips, climbing the trees in my friend’s backyard, and climbing on top of ever large rock I saw.

Sometime in early 2014 my church youth pastor came to our youth group on an ordinary Sunday and announced the the camp we would be going to that summer. It was called Rock-N-Water, and I was immediately ecstatic, although I did not know what I was actually getting myself into. I just knew it was going to be Awesome!

An adventure begins

My loving parents happily emptied their pockets to send me on a series of radical adventures that in their hopes would bring me closer to the Lord. And then we waited for the summer to arrive. After the long drive up what felt like the whole length of California, we arrived! As we started our week at camp, we were challenged in many ways, experiencing many different incredible adventures such as: swimming through underground tunnels, jumping off rocks, and barging through ginormous rapids. Sadly it all had to come to and end… or so I thought.

rock climber in helmet and harness climbs granite crack

Throughout the week I was poured into by many different staff members and a few in particular stood out to me and the memories stick with me until this day. They were my friends and they genuinely cared about me. I was so heavily impacted by the super awesome staff members that I wanted to be just like them, and that is when God opened up the door of their summer volunteer program. Suddenly, the trip that my parents wanted me to go on to have fun and grow closer to the Lord, ended up being the trip that God used to opened a door in my life for me to walk with and to serve Him deeper.

Waiting and learning patience

Unfortunately, thirteen year old me was not nearly old enough for the volunteer program, and so I hung onto the handle of the door tightly and practiced my patience. After what seemed like decades later I was finally old enough to apply for the volunteer program. After going through an extensive application process, I was accepted into the volunteer program, and I breathed a huge breath of relief and anticipation. I know that God has me here at Rock-N-Water to impact students, shine his light while loving them, and showing them how great God is and the plan that he has for each and every individuals life.

Fast forward to today and I’ve returned this summer as a paid outdoor adventure guide with Rock-N-Water. I am loving my new family, learning unimaginably, and seeing students come and go with a different outlook on their life. Learning more about who God is and what He has in store for them.

I don’t know what my future holds, but I know that right now, this is where God wants me.

By Joshua Stratton – Rock-N-Water Adventure Guide