Archive for July 23, 2008

Camp in review

I’m back! I’m back from camp! It’s kinda sad to think that camp is over for a whole entire year…but I have no doubt that this next year will fly bye just as fast as last year did! ūüėČ I will attempt to sum up in a few words the two incredible weeks.

First of all, upon arriving at camp Sunday, July 6th, Serena and I were both completely ecstatic to hear that both weeks of camp were looking full…meaning close to 100 campers! YAY!!! In the past couple of years, the camper attendance numbers have been down, even as low as half that many…so we were really excited! Turns out, that the first week we had 94 campers and it was a very busy BUSY week! There seemed to never be any ‘down time’ or ‘catch up time.’ In fact, most of the week, we ran behind schedule about 15 minutes, but it worked out just okay. In addition to being the camp nurse this week, I was also titled ‘dorm mommy’ for a few campers (and even counselors!) who needed some extra hugs and TLC! I also helped check manners, entertained the little ones, helped serve meals, and was a listening ear when needed (to some stressed out counselors and some campers that liked to talk…a lot!).¬†And…I played the role of¬†Orpah (you know, from the book of Ruth)¬†in a skit that Mrs. Meyer and Kristie and I did one evening. Although while practicing for the Ruth-Naomi-Orpah skit, we laughed relentlessly; for the actual production, we somehow maintained our composure…until we were out the doors…then we busted up again! It was so much fun (even if I did look like a woman from¬†Bible times!!!) =D

Other than lots of minor scrapes and bruises, some stomach aches,¬†and the sniffles from allergies, there were no major injuries and nothing that a bandaid, a hug, or a piece of candy couldn’t cure! ūüėČ And surprisingly, this year I did not have as much medication to routinely administer as I did last year, even with the increase in campers…! That was a very nice surprise! We had an awesome group of counselors this week…they all did a terrific job, especially considering the large number of campers they were to keep in line. Although my day started about 5:00 am and usually didn’t end until 11:00 pm…and sometimes later, I didn’t go to camp to sleep ;)…I went to camp to serve and be broken and spilled out for the Lord. I don’t have exact numbers, but I know that there¬† a handful or more campers that professed to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and many more that consecrated their lives to Christ. During our special Thursday evening service, I was able to help counsel some kids in assurance of Salvation and consecration. It was pure bliss to get involved in the spiritual lives of these kids and to see God at work!

Week 2 proved just as busy and challenging…not so much in the number of campers but in the type of campers. We ended up with 86 campers the 2nd week but many of them came from broken familes and anything but ideal home lives. As a counselor to the second and third grade girls, I was in charge of seven wild but fun little girls! Our dorm room NEVER EVER¬†had a dull moment, even rest time was a bustle of activity! I can still hear little voices squealing¬†“Miss Jena, watch me go down the slide…Miss Jena, can I go to the bathroom…Miss Jena, I’m tired…Miss Jena, I miss my mom…Miss Jena, when do we go swimming…Miss Jena, can I read the verses this time…Miss Jena, can I sit by you…Miss Jena, do we go first for lunch…Miss Jena, will you help me make my bed…Miss Jena, my tummy hurts…Miss Jena, what’s next…Miss Jena, are you sleeping?” echoing in my head! Seems like most of the week, one of me was not enough for seven of them. I was completely outnumbered…it was a good thing that they never really decided to gang up on me…or I’m afraid I would have sorely lost! ūüėČ Despite the heat, my campers and I had such a good time together…riding the go-carts, canoeing, swimming, playing teather ball, quizzing, playing with play dough ;), making fuzzy flip-flops (flip-flops are ALWAYS a winner a camp!), playing ping-pong, hanging out during canteen, making funny faces at each other, taking crazy pictures, jumping on the beds (oops…don’t tell anyone!), telling stories, and much much more. Somehow, one evening during our sack lunch on the trampoline, we got into a discussion about boys and marriage (oh boy! Believe me, it was not I that started this conversation!). But I had to chuckle at some of the comments that were made by these little girls and I really wish I could have recorded it on tape! And then show it to them a few years down the road when they are older and have some different thoughts about boys. One of my girls said “EWWW! boys are yucky and I don’t ever want to hold their hands!” Another one said, “Whatever boys put on, it stinks!” And then one said, “You should only marry a boy that is rich and has a sense of humor and you have to like him a lot, a whole whole lot.” (Perhaps she is right?!?!) At least this year, I did escape getting set up by my campers with any of the guy counselors! ūüėČ

Aside from all the fun crazy and wild moments and memories galore, several of my campers were pretty needy in their Spiritual lives. I am thankful that I had a chance to personally visit with each of them and I do believe that all of them have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior, but some of them lacked even the very basics of knowing how to live the Christian life. Even how to be kind to one another and to say “please” and “thank-you”! For instance, after meals at camp, each group is responsible for cleaning up their table including clearing all of the dishes, washing off the table and benches, and sweaping. Well, at supper (only the second meal!!!), some of my girls were saying things like “do I have to clean up anything” and “I don’t want to help clean up.”¬†Pretty soon,¬†they all chimmed in saying the same thing! So, yes, Miss Jena here stepped in and ceased the opportunity…to talk about what it means to be a servant, to be willing to help, and to obey without complaining. What example did Jesus set as a servant in the New Testament? How can we serve others? What about complaining…what does the Bible say about that?¬†Obedience, what does that mean and how should we do it?¬†I must say that after that little chat, I saw a¬†HUGE difference in the rest of the meal times…and many of them even offered to¬†help! It was encouraging to know that they actually listened to what I was saying and took it to heart…for the week anyway.¬†¬†There were a few other little quarrels that my girls got into amongst themselves and some of them proved a bit of a challenge but it gave me good opportunities to show them how to forgive one another and not take revenge. I hope and pray that God will continue to use that week of camp in their lives, because many of them are going back to homes where they have no Spiritual training or any Christian examples. That really saddens me. I do hope to keep in touch with them throughout the year via snail mail.

This second week, I was able to show several of my campers from God’s Word assurance of their Salvation and that God will never leave them nor forsake them…and the indescribable joy and comfort in realizing that precious promise! Several of them also made the decision to consecrate their lives to Jesus Christ and be willing to¬†give their whole lives to Him, to be used as He desires and sees fit. That was really exciting…to witness willing hearts ready to serve the Lord!

As for myself, the weeks at camp made me even more grateful for the home life that I grew up in and continue to have to this day. I honestly cannot believe some of the things that these kids would tell me about their parents or families! I was abhorred at times, yet also recognized that that is the norm for so many kids today, even to some degree in Christian homes and families. Thank You Lord for the home life and family that You gave me. Thank you for the Godly Christian parents I grew up under who proved to be incredible examples of walking by faith. Thank You for my sisters, who help hold me accountable and challenge me in my relationship with You. Thank You for the friends You have surrounded me with, who desire to serve and honor you.

Okay…so that was more than a few words…! I’ve uploaded a couple of photo albums on the weeks of camp…and yet tonight, I’m going to hopefully upload a couple of camp video clips.

Camp 2008 Week 1
Camp 2008 Week 2
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