Summer campers returned to Lakeshore this week. These cyclical events sneak up on us over the years. Summer heat arrived with the kids. Last week, there were cool nights–we put on our jackets and used extra blankets. As the campers pulled into the parking lot, we were approaching the mid-90s, and the sun was beating on us. Many of us got to work on our farmer’s tans and the sandal lines for the feet, while getting as many cars parked on the blacktop as humanly possible. March doesn’t seem that far back. Christmas is in recent memory. And now we sweat upon exposure to outside, and 9-12 year olds are lurking at every turn.
At any point in the camp you hear a swell of sounds. There is the music coming from the pool. There’s always the sounds of a lawn mower or weed eater. The air conditioners sing to each other as you pass among the cabins. You’ll hear all the camp songs that can’t seem to get out of your head. If you quiet yourself enough, you’ll hear the birds singing and squaking at each other. There’s the sound of gravel under your feet as you walk out to the creek for creek stomping. Then at night, the frogs take over, and you must be hearing thousands of them, singing you to sleep.
As you walk near the Conference Center, you can smell your next meal. Depending on the time of day, you may pick up bacon on the air or fresh rolls. There is the occasional unwelcome odor of armadillos that find their final resting place around the camp. But then, there is the smell of lavendar next to the Lawson house. There is the smell of bug spray (the bug sprays have started trying to have more pleasing odors, so you find these strange smells of tropical deet). And, you smell your sweatiness about mid-afternoon when the deoderant wears off.
At the end of the day, when the deoderant has worn off, you feel that film on your skin that rubs off. You feel the thickness of the air, as the humidity gets thicker and thicker. There is the feeling of tiny arms hugging you goodbye at the end of the week. There’s the feeling of the cool sand that you get your feet to if you dig down just a little bit on the waterfront. If you aren’t careful, you might feel the pavement on your knees or hands from tripping if you run a little carelessly.
There are the tastes that return with the campers as well. Ice cream was delivered today, and you are again tempted by the Twix ice cream bars and ice cream sandwiches. Peanut butter M&Ms are a daily temptation for the taste buds at the canteen. You are also bound to eat some kind of chicken nearly every day in nugget, finger, or patty form. You’ll taste a lot more than food too. You get a taste of all sorts of things during your summers here.
And, oh the things you get to see. Our lifeguard, Megan was entertained today by a Harry Potter puppet show, put on by the girls of Cabin 4. We saw a music video made by the campers of the Elementary Camp this week. We saw messages written on the windows of camp in temporary marker, by the Girls of Camp Teen Hope. We saw (or didn’t see) Wilderness take an active part in a camoflauge lesson by covering themselves in mud and leaves.
The summer is here and we know it with all of our senses. You can’t help but know when you walk the grounds of this place. You are bound to know that something is going on, regarless of the time, day or night. Lesson to them. They are telling you that something is stirring. It has begun. Summer camp is here.
Keep all our campers and staff in your prayers. Also, be in prayer for Mickey Watson, husband of our summer kitchen manager, Debbie. Here’s to summer.