It’s been many moons since I packed my bags for camp. I used to help direct the primary kids’ camp for our church district summer camps before I was married. I’ve been busy in the last several years having kiddos and taking care of those little crazies. Now that they are bigger and Oma and Opa were able to bring the boys home, I was excited at the opportunity to go along as a cabin leader for Ruby’s first kids’ camp . Knowing first hand how much kids can grow at camp when they are saturated with fun, adults that love them, great activities and also how God can speak to them, I was feeling some real anticipation as we headed up.
My dear friend, Denise, was my partner and there were several other friends from our church there too, joining with other churches as we brought our kids together. I so appreciate and love my friend even more at the end of this week. I so know her heart and felt that we were able to tag team to cover the basics but also to know when we needed to step in to care for the kids and have important conversations.
The camp staff team did an absolutely amazing job. I felt that there was such a good and loving spirit between them and they each brought some strong gifting and leadership to their areas. There was a good mix of structured activities and some choices for the kids, though they did keep us hopping from morning until night (which made for some nice, tired kids each day!).
The girls arrived, most of ours for the first time. We were so pleased with our lovely little group. With a range of personalities and strengths, they came with open hearts to each other and were so inclusive and encouraging. That’s a big deal and speaks to the wonderful girls they are and the parents they have. From wrapping their arms around our one who got a wee bit homesick on a couple nights, to being encouraging with hugs and notes, lending a hand during clean up, laughing, jumping in to swim and be tested with a friend who needed some support….they were awesome.
Their parents all kindly gave me permission to share their pictures of the week. What I wouldn’t give to see a week of my camp when I was young documented! It was so fun for me to follow them along. Because my first priority was them, each day I brought my camera to some events, trying to cover most of it by the end of the week.
We made posters to decorate their spaces and once Miss Denise handed out the pink bandanas, they quickly agreed they’d be The Pink Bandits. Seems like a perfect name!
Our days started at 6:30 with a cabin leaders’ meeting. The first day the girls were chirping around when we got back but by the second day and for the rest of the week it was hard to get them up. They had to get moving though because we had to clean for cabin inspection. We were pretty pleased with our score on Thursday. That’s what you get when you pick up pine needles by hand!
After breakfast we went to chapel where Mel and her band got us all worshipping and singing with all our hearts. Chapel skits were well done with Dr. Hugh Man and his angel counterpart. Then we had some awesome teachings.
Following breakfast the kids got to choose between about eight workshops like campfire building, crafts, writing letters to Jesus, songwriting, worship dance. They loved these classes. We’d meet up for grub and I was pretty impressed that they loved all the food. Small time gave us some quiet along with a bowlful of snacks from our “snack buffet” we set out each day. The girls munched as they read with flashlights, talked quietly, or drew. Then off for an afternoon of fun rotations: waterfront activities, activities like tire swings, mini golf, ziplining and gaga ball. We also did group games which were a blast: rolling kids in hamster balls, a water fight with shaving cream kids and a slimy relay. Then dinner again, and evening chapel. The highlight of chapel games was when our team got chosen to race against a boy cabin. We had to blow balloons, rub them on our hair, attract tissue paper squares with the static, and run them down the aisles to a bucket in the front….and I dropped the bucket!
It was so incredible to see the campers open their hearts to the Lord, learning how loved they are and how God has called them to a miraculous life (our theme). I was so blessed to see these girls hungry for the things of God and the sweet peace on them when they were experiencing Him during worship and teaching times.
As anyone who has done this type of thing before knows, it’s kind of crazy to be tossed in a cabin with eight girls and by the end of the week, dearly love them. We cried and prayed and laughed and hugged. They are amazing and we were so blessed to be with them! Enjoy the pictures of our week!