My apologies for missing the blog last week. I led the Backpacking Camp and could not convince my fingers to do any typing. This week our staff got it’s first taste of camp packed full. We had Senior High, Treehouse 3, Camp Peace 2 (for campers with anger management issues), and Lebohner Heart Camp (for campers who have had serious serious heart conditions). There were few empty beds at camp and few quiet moments. Senior High is a camp that is very close to my heart, because it was the last camp that I camp to as a Lakeshore camper. To this day, I look back on it as one of the most important weeks of my life. Some of my cabin mates have turned out to be some of my greatest friends. This was the week that those friendships were really solidified. It was also this time in our lives where we were beginning to realize who we were and wanted to be. We were becoming that. Yet, we still had a foot planted in childhood. Now, when I look back, it’s a magical time. I can remember specific times as if legendary. The beach party sticks out to me. How they had a volleyball spike competition and Randall (who loved volleyball) was sick and resting somewhere else, so Scott won pretty well uncontested. I remember the dance and what a big deal it was to us. The nervousness of asking girls to dance, wondering if you had feelings, wondering if they had feelings, or if they thought you had feelings because you asked them. It was great fun, but there must have been so many questions too. The night of the talent show, our cabin rapped, and I remember it being very popular, probably not as much because we were that great (though in my head, we were), but more because we, as the oldest, we so well known. I remember two guys playing a really beautiful instrumental number on guitar, when everything hit me. I was about to move on. I would never be a camper again. This was the summit as far as being a camper went. And we had put together something wonderful. We had created friendships, grown closer, played hard, and somewhere in that, even when we weren’t trying, we had met God. As I listened to their music, I started to tear up. So much was happening to me that I couldn’t even process it all.
What I like about Senior High camp is that it is a confluence of campers coming to this point for years. The confluence is that place where rivers merge to form one river. There’s a pretty famous one in Pittsburgh where the Allegheny and Monongahela come together to make the Ohio River. They mention it all the time when you watch sporting events in Pittsburgh. For one like me who has been watching campers come to camp for years and years, I’ve seen many grow up here, coming through separate camps. But, this is the one main camp for Senior Highs. So, all these campers we’ve gotten to know, in different Elementary, Junior High, and even Wilderness, Oxley, and other Specialty camps, get funnelled in together, sometimes for the first time. It’s like getting all your friends from different areas of your life together and it actually working out. There are campers we have known for years, and other campers we have known for years, who finally get to know each other. It is a great thing to watch.
When I went to Wilderness breakfast yesterday, I saw that one of the campers had caught a couple of tiny catfish while he was at the Buffalo River the day before. They swam around in a plastic container, through plants that had been placed in there for them. He said, “did you know that they can taste with their whole body?” Every part of their outer flesh has the sense of taste. There will be a point where they get released back into some body of water that will be their new home. They will most likely find other catfish to meet that they may never have known before. If things work out for them, they will grow bigger and much stronger, where it will take more than just hands to catch them. Some may even get so big that they can’t even fit in a small boat, sitting at the bottom of the river, just feeding on everything that comes to them. But, isn’t it interesting to think about these changes in their paths? Where the river carries them and how they have no idea what the river will run into next, where it will carry them, and what else will come from these paths that ultimately all lead to one destination.
This weekend we have a one-night Parent/Child camp. After that, we have a very large Elementary Camp along with Watersports and our next Camp Peace. Keep us in your prayers.