There has been moderate heat at Lakeshore for several weeks, and that didn’t change too much. But, the humidity really showed up in earnest this week, and boy does it make a difference. You can’t step out of a building without being soaked by something, whether it be the moisture in the air or the sweat that almost immediately begins pouring out of your body. This is that time of year that we wonder what is in store for us. If early June is this bad, what will July be like? Will the rain ever cool it down, or will it just generate more steam? Why do I even bother taking a shower? I am gross again as soon as I go outside. These are the questions we ask ourselves during the early hot weeks. The fatigue of summer work has not really caught up with our bodies yet, but the heat fools us. It makes it hard to even want to do the things we love.
It has been the week of Annual Conference, and it makes things a little more stressful around camp. With Gary and Vickie gone to serve at Conference and a wedding, there is that scramble to make sure that everything continues to run smoothly. We also wonder in the back of our minds what will happen to Lakeshore at Conference. We know what we do could be supremely influenced by the decisions made. Some of the campers we fall in love with might not be able to come next year if certain decisions are made. On the flip side, programs that are only dreams right now could be begining in front of our faces if the other decisions are made. We know these decisions are difficult, and that we are just a piece of the ministry in the Confrerence. But, we love this ministry. We have been changed by it. And, we continue to watch others be changed. So, we pray hard during the activity staff dinner meetings that the ministry will be able to continue.
We hope that these decisions are made in the same way we hope the staff will make it through the summer heat. We know that there will be lean times when we are stretched thin. There will be the urges to set back and just let things run their course without our influence. The heat may get to us, and we just want to hide indoors until it passes and better weather greets us. But, we know there is important work to be done out there in the heat. And so, when we are at our best, we go out and sweat. We give up some luxuries. We do this together and support each other. And we are changed by that. Not only us though–the gift is that we get to continue to share this with others and see them changed as we have been.
I remember a theme time I lead nearly 10 years ago for a Watersports camp where I told them that part of Lakeshore’s property was being annexed by the state, and it happened to be where Wilderness camp was located. I told them that if it went through, there would be no Wilderness next summer. I asked them to come up with letters and posters and any other kind of presentation that we could give to the state to try to sway their decision. You would not believe the sincere, impassioned pleas the campers put forth to be able to keep the camp as they knew it. I felt guilty afterwards after seeing how deeply it affected them. But, it made me realize that doing camp here is as important to many, many more as it is to me. My eyes are tearing up as I think about this, not because of how important it is to me, but because I’ve seen it be that for others too.
We saw it this week during our Junior High 1, “Be a Glee-ro” lip sync competition, as kids put on routines to songs about being a hero. We saw it as Elementary Arts campers enjoyed watermelon down by the river at sunset. We saw it canoeing on the Buffalo River with Wilderness. We saw it in Camp Teen Hope when a group of girls faced their fears and climbed 20 feet in the air on our high ropes course. And, so we will keep going out there, regardless of how sweaty we get. There won’t be any dry shirts when we come back, but there will be some eyes that aren’t dry either. Because we know. We know what this place has done and is doing. We see it when the campers leave and hug everyone in their path 3 times. We hear it in the laughs. And we feel it going to work deep inside ourselves. And, though we are about to drop from the heat or the worry or the sunburn or the soreness from piggiback rides, there will be a part that hopes it might never end.
Keep us in your prayers. You are in ours.