Boot Camp: Post One, Whitney Dawn | Walking Worthy: Boot Camp: Post One, Whitney Dawn

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Boot Camp: Post One, Whitney Dawn

I recently read a couple of facebook posts reflecting on Precept Ministries Teen Boot Camp. I was amazed to see the overflow of responses from people who are former bootcampers. And it compelled me to tell my story.

I grew up spending 10 days every summer in Chattanooga, TN at the headquarters for Precept Ministry. Every summer Precept welcomes hundreds of teenagers onto their property for what they call "Boot Camp". Boot Camp or BC as I call it is an extensive camp where students are taught the Inductive Study Method. They spend several hours every day intensely studying the Bible and learning how to apply it to their lives.

The headquarters is nestled in the mountains in Chattanooga. It is beautiful, green, and hot. But I love it.

I first heard about BC at a Teen Conference. I told my parents I wanted to go, and my parents sent me on my way the summer before my 9th grade year. I remember being nervous. I had never flown by myself before. And then they lost my luggage. I was scared and upset. I didn't want to scare my parents so I didn't call home for two days. I still remember BJ Lawson coming to get me and telling me I needed to call my mom. So much for not scarring my parents!

I walked into dorm front still nervous. I didn't know anyone, and most of the students seemed to know each other. I don't remember exactly how this conversation went, but I remember the girl on the bunk below me, or was it above me? She was reading a magazine and talking to the other girls in the room rapidly and with fervor. I imagine she said something like "Hi, I'm Whitney." Somehow it was communicated that my luggage had been lost, Whitney was quick to offer me help with anything I needed. We became quick friends. She was there with other people from her church. They just included me in their group. Whitney was so kind and genuine. She still is!

After camp Whitney and I kept up. Every summer our group looked forward to seeing it each other at camp. We would write, e-mail, and IM to make sure we signed up for the same week of camp.

I'm not sure I have ever told Whitney this, but the Lord used her in a very important way in my life. You see until I went to camp and met her and other people like her, I always thought my relationship with God was okay. You see I was the best person in my class, maybe even my school. I always compared my relationship with God to others in my school. I was doing better than them, so I figured I was doing okay.

It didn't take me long to figure out that Whitney was different. She glowed when she talked about God. She actually had a quiet time like every day! She studied her Bible on her own, not just at church and stuff. I had never met anyone like this, not anyone that wasn't an adult anyway. And she wasn't weird or strange, she was a normal girl that had crushes on counselors (oops sorry Darin), liked to talk about Hanson, and wouldn't go out to Rec without makeup on. She was dynamic and energetic and crazy (but in a good really fun way).

It didn't take much time hanging out with Whitney to make me realize how fake I was. Whitney showed me what it looked like to be like Christ. She measured herself up against God's Word, not other people. That was such a foreign concept to me. God used my friendship with her to wake me up spiritually and show me what a genuine Christ Follower looks like. Whitney encouraged me through her walk to become more like Christ. She gave me the courage to go home and live a genuine life. She was there to support me throughout the year. I remember when Whitney first started telling me about her friend Darin. He was obviously in love with her. I told her. She denied it. I laughed when they started dating my freshman year of college.

Whitney and I ended up going to the same college together. We had special dates at Chili's (that was the only way we could really spend time together). We lost contact for a little while after she graduated and married Darin. (Insert I told you so here) But in the last year or so I have been following her blog My Journey Toward:The Glamorous Life of a Housewife. You should check it out.

Whitney Dawn, if you are reading this in between loving on your new baby boy, please know that God used you in such a powerful way in my life and He continues to. Thank you for being real. Thank you for being frank when it comes to you relationship with God. Thank you for constantly encouraging me to become more like Christ. You have mentored me and didn't even know it!

To the rest of you who are reading this, thank you for being patient with me as I went off onto a very long tangent. Next post will definitely have more to do with BC, because I want so badly to share it with you. That was my intent after all, but so much of my BC experience and memories have to do with my sweet friend Whitney. God used her to to radically change my life and make me more like Him.

To Mom and Dad, thank you for being brave enough to send me on a plane by myself far far away.

Okay, I'm out!


  1. Girl, you are SO SWEET. Thank you so much for posting this. You have no idea what it means to me. Seriously. I have always adored you, Ashlee. You have had a special place in my heart and in my life since that day you walked through the doors of camp clothes-less! :) We are blessed in our friendship - its the type that no matter how long it's been since we've talked or seen each other, we always pick right back up where we started from. I love that about us. And I love you. A whole lot.

  2. PS - I made sure Darin knew about ALL my crushes. I had to make him jealous somehow! :) WOO HOO for MK and BH! ;)

  3. Love the post. So true. Whitney is the best!