This week, we saw something at the main camp that we had not see in nearly a month: junior high campers. I find that this age group is such an interesting mix of stages of development. These kids are standing on the dividing line between child and teenager. They still want to get out and play, not minding getting dirty, but they also are socializing too. You find boys and girls talking on purpose. And, my favorite thing to witness at junior high camps is the girls dominating the boys in pick-up basketball. We are still in that magical time in life when the girls are outpacing the boys in growth, so they put even the most arrogant of boys in their place. I tell you, if you’ve never seen 5’4 girl block a 4’11 boy’s lay-up, you should get out to a playground somewhere and witness this.
One of my most exciting new developments at the camp is learning to sail the camp’s sailboat that has sat on a trailer since it was donated several years ago to the camp. After many months of talking about it and hoping that might make me a sailor, I wised up and put out a message to the conference asking for help from someone who knew what they were doing. Two wonderful guys, from my home church, no less, volunteered to come up, rig the boat, and show me how to use it. And so, now I’m an amateur (heavy emphasis on amateur) sailor. The first week of this knowledge, we had a decent enough wind to get the boat going and practice techniques. My friend, Randall, was up visiting, and we took an adventure across the river to the pebble island marina. They were exciting times. But, this week, we’ve had a more typical summer week. It is as if the air is in hibernation, because it hasn’t moved in days. This week, we would likely have better luck to bring our fishing poles, hook a river cat, and let it pull us around. I really wanted to take a few groups of campers out sailing, but there was just never a breeze strong enough to do that.
It’s difficult when these circumstances beyond our control make the decisions for us, especially when we have an alternative plan that seems to us to work so much better. If only West Tennessee were breezy during the summer. If only the humidity didn’t make it so muggy and sweaty that you can’t even walk outside without being a sweaty mess. If only that girl hadn’t hit her growth spurt a year before me, I wouldn’t be losing 22-10. We feel so much like we control our lives with our decisions, but there are many more factors out there that control things, for better or worse.
This week we also had Sr High Treehouse Camp, where many old veterans of Wilderness Camp come together to delight a little while longer in this camp they love so much. We had Ski Clinic, whose name really explains it pretty well. And, we also had Camp Grace, a camp for girls who have been sexually abused. At the end of a week like this, despite the lack of actual wind, you feel like a quick storm has passed through. There are so many different camps to see. So many focuses at once. So many campers to reach out to. It takes a great deal of planning to be sure everyone gets the attention they need. Even then, you just wish there were more time or more of you to spread out amongst all these fantastic campers.
You never know what forces move us in the directions we go. When you wake up each morning, you won’t know if your choices will have much of an effect on the day overall. Will you control the actions, or will you just be reacting to something that is bigger than you? Will you lose time because that ski rope got caught in the propeller and shredded it in half? Will you hold onto your youth just a little bit longer, as you see yourself changing before your own eyes in a familiar place but unfamiliar body? Will you find yourself having to deal with the selfish actions of someone else that you could not keep from happening? Will you have to sit on the dock, waiting for the next breeze? We wait to see what is next. What all this means. And we hope that when the next wind blows through, we are ready to hoist the sails, harness the wind, and set out on something amazing, powered by something so much greater than we are.
Be in prayer for all our campers this week, those on their way, and our staff, who are on the home stretch of a rewarding but difficult summer.