When I was a kid, my parents never let me go to camp, even though I desperately wanted to. I went to VBS, but that doesn't count. My first camp experience was Horsemanship Camp at Monte Vista Christian School when I was 13. But that was day camp, so it doesn't really count, either. Granted, I did get to do some cool stuff, like travel by myself to Colorado and Wyoming to visit friend when I was 12, and to Spokane to visit the Bertholics with my sister when I was 14. My first real, overnight camp experience wasn't until I went to 4-H camp when I was 16. I still look back on that week as one of the best weeks of my life. I packed in every possible activity I could. I hiked, swam, hung out with friends, did arts and crafts, helped lead the evening campfire times, played capture the flag, flirted with the cute boys, and played pranks to my heart's content. Ah, what a great week! It was with those fond memories in mind that I joined the 3rd-6th graders from our church for 5 days at church camp. The week definitely had its low points: high heat and thick humidity; mediochre cafeteria food; gigantic bugs; a cranky Pepper in the afternoons; no childcare at naptime; homesick kiddos; flu-sick kiddos; a basketball to the back of the head; and worst of all, the camp director getting run over by his minivan, breaking his foot and seriously damaging the ligaments in his hip. But the low points were few and far between. For the most part, camp lived up to my expectations, and my kids and I had a fantastic time! I'll resort to my old favorite--a top 10 list--to share my favorite moments of my few days at camp.
10. Watching Snapper and Pepper light up with excitement over our "cannon" (cabin). While it reeked of mildew, at least it was air conditioned, had a clean bath/shower, and comfy beds. The setting was beautiful, too.
9. Eating giant dill pickes and snow cones from the snack shack
8. Sharing a great conversation with a group of 6th grade girls about boys, dating, and the value of waiting to start dating until you are old enough for dating to not be pointless.
7. Walking with Snapper in the dark, watching the fireflies, and talking about what she learned in her classes. If you ever get a chance, ask Snapper about the children of Israel.
6. Playing water games in the rec field with a group of our girls. I got soaked from head to toe, got all hot, sweaty, and sticky, laughed until I hurt, and totally connected with my girls.
5. Helping Matt teach the lessons to 24 kids every morning. This included setting up our pavillion, assisting him with games, answering questions, and hanging with the kids. I love to work with my very gifted and wonderful husband. We make a fantastic team!
4. Eating peanut butter sandwiches in the cafeteria without thinking twice about the nutritional flaws of peanut butter and white bread.
3. Dancing, laughing, and singing like crazy during the chapel times...and watching the kids get into it because I was! Then watching them dig into the Word of God, discovering new things about His love for them.
2. Spending extended periods of time with Sydney and John Wesley, two of the coolest kids in the world ever! (Sorry, JW, I didn't get a great picture of you this week!)
1. By far the #1 moment for me at camp was getting to pray with a 4th grader named Rachel as she asked Jesus to be her forever friend. I walked her through God's plan of salvation in the Bible, and then shared with her Romans 8:38-39: "For I am convinced the neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." I wrote that verse on the back of her nametag, and her face lit up when I substituted her name into that verse and told her it was God's promise just for her. That is what it's all about! It was a great 3 days.