By Ann Shumway
Jul 13, 2017

A Letter from the Mission Field

I received this email from a former staff member who is currently serving a mission in Arizona. 

Dear JJ staff,

Bryton taking on the Cub Scouts at Camp JJ

Our main purpose [here in Arizona], as I’m sure you have already heard a hundred times, is to make people happy. Honestly, it’s hard sometimes. There were days at JJ and on the mission where you are tired, hot, sweaty, and even in pain both emotionally, physically and spiritually. There have been days I admit where I didn’t want to go out and be rangemaster at BB guns calling out vollies and loosing my voice in the process of keeping guns pointed down range; or telling the den guides it’s time to switch; or go out in a hilly area in Tucson on a 118°F day with wind that feels like a hair dryer pushing against you as you try and visit less active members, or non members that are either not home, too busy, or passionately express that they don’t want us coming by again.

Hold on for a second, I’m not just complaining,  there is a point to this. But when you look to your overall focus and you look for the fruits of your work, it makes it all worth it.

Helping the campers have a good time

At JJ when you see the leaders smiling and thanking you for making the day awesome, it’s worth it. When the kid points and proudly shows his friends he got a bullseye (probably the only one of the week), it’s worth it. When the kid cuts you down in a game of foam sword tag (I hope you are doing that again) seeing him running off to find his next victim it’s worth it.

(I’m a missionary, I have to throw in one scripture) Matthew 10:39 states “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” And how true and great is that promise! That as we focus on helping and lifting others up, we will find happiness and we will find joy! We will more fully see our purpose and take pride in our work, even if nothing works out for the day, and we will be at peace knowing we tried our best.

Bryton Bancroft in costume at JJ

Guys, JJ was a life changer for me, and it can be for you. It is one of the greatest things you can do for preparing for adult life and learning your own purpose in life. It teaches you to love others no matter there faults, it teaches you to work hard and put your shoulder to the wheel, it teaches you patriotism, respect, responsibility, and leadership (I could go on, give scriptures, reading material and such but I don’t want to over whelm ya, you probably want to have lunch about now). BUT you don’t learn a single one of these things and you will not enjoy yourself there until (in the famous words of Gordon B. Hinckley’s father), “Forget yourself and go to work.”

Honestly there is tip after tip I can give you to make your time working there more enjoyable but I didn’t feel like a 30 page paper would be tolerated and or read with the heat of the day and a much needed lunch after morning session. If you want to hear some more tips, feel free to email me at I love you guys and care about each one of you even if I haven’t met you yet. This camp, if you treat her right, will change you for the better, and become one of your most treasured memories.

Author: Elder Bryton Bancroft | LDS Missionary and past summer camp staff member


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One thought on “A Letter from the Mission Field

  1. AvatarAnn

    “Merrill” as we knew Bryton at camp was an amazing staff member. He will go on to great things with his life.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.