LT Alumni Spotlight - Kelly Greene Tam

9/3/2013

For more than 30 years, children, youth and young adults have been ministered to through the South Georgia Conference’s summer camping ministry. Through their camp experiences – whether as a camper or counselor – all have said their faith was strengthened and encouraged. 

To celebrate the Conference’s camping ministry and the impact it has had on generations of students, we asked former counselors (Leadership Team alumni) to share with us how their camping experience(s) shaped and grew their faith and impacted their futures.

We’ll spotlight one former Leadership Team member in each of our upcoming issues. 

As an elementary-school student, Kelly Greene Tam attended the Conference’s summer camps at Epworth By The Sea. In high school, she participated in a youth leadership camp held there. And as a college student, she served as a camp counselor on the South Georgia Conference’s summer Leadership Team. 

Years after attending camp, she still has strong memories of her experience.

“One of the best things I learned was a song to remember the order of the books of the New Testament,” she said. “To this day, I still sing the song in my head when I turn in my Bible to find a verse. I remember visiting Ft. Frederica and going on many swamp walks. I remember thinking my counselors were the coolest people ever. I knew that they had a strong relationship with Christ, and that had a strong impact on me.”

Tam knew she wanted to serve on the Leadership Team after she attended the week-long high school leadership camp. The opportunity to spend a summer at Epworth, working with children and helping build and strengthen their faith and her own, was something she didn’t want to miss.

The summers of 2005 and 2007, when she served as a counselor and then as the camp’s arts and crafts leader, were “the best summers ever,” Tam says. They were times of huge spiritual growth and deep friendships.

“I think my relationships with my fellow counselors are what impacted my faith the most,” she said. “Seeing how so many different people can live out their faith really gave me the confidence and desire to strengthen my relationship with Christ.”

Even though they are spread out across various states and rarely see each other anymore, the friendships Tam formed during those two summers are ones she treasures.

“I developed some really tight bonds with my fellow counselors. Even though I hardly see them anymore, I still consider them close friends because of the tight bond we shared those summers. They were such an encouragement to me in a time when growth is so important. A lot of the habits and decisions you develop in college have lasting impacts on your adult life, and serving on the Leadership Team really made a fantastic impact on my life.”

One summer memory that made a significant impact on Tam’s life was when God gave her a new understanding of Matthew 4:19, where Jesus says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

That verse was one of the summer’s key verses, and Tam had a difficult time grasping what the verse and metaphor truly meant. She thought about the verse as she sat on the beach during her last day, worshipping and reflecting in God’s creation. 

“There was a family playing near us, and a little boy suddenly shouted, ‘Daddy! Look what I caught,’ and I instantly understood what God intended for me to understand,” she said. “As counselors, we were to lead our campers closer to God through play and discussions and games and songs, and I made some pretty awesome ‘catches.’ I love spending time with children, and I was so blessed to spend two summers building their faith.”

Tam, who lives in Augusta with her husband, Scott, still serves children daily. She has two daughters Abby, 2, and Katie, 3 months, and works as a fourth-grade teacher.