This week, heat has been at the forefront of our minds. It has stayed in the high 90s, and the South’s trademark humidity seems as if it has settled in to stay until September or October. To add to matters, the air conditioner for the large front room of the Conference Center went down. During canteen times, there are people actually leaving the building for the outside to cool off. The other rooms are staying cool, but the gathering place is pretty toasty. We are getting the sauna effect, remaining sweaty for heavy stretches of the day, which would happen, I believe, even if every air conditioner was working. Some say that sweating regularly can cleanse the body, and maybe that is the case, but it certainly doesn’t cleanse the outside. But, at the end of a week like this, the staff at Lakeshore feels like they’ve done a little extra. Playing soccer on a mild, breezy spring day is a pleasure. Playing soccer in the stagnant, humid air of June is work, regardless of how much you enjoy it.
That second week is upon us, and we’ve upped the ante by having 4 camps this week, where we had 3 last week. The Activity Staff is getting a taste of how truly hectic camp can be. Last week staff was evenly spread, and there was rarely more than one thing going on requiring Activity Staff attention. This week, there are multiple camp events at one time, and all of them need something. So, we’ve heard over the walkie talkies, a few more frazzled voices. You can hear tension in voices, wondering if this thing is going to happen (it has all happened by the way). But, when you’re new to these things, you don’t always know what you can handle. It is natural during this early time to get the jitters about all we have to do. After all, we desperately want to be good enough. We don’t want to disappoint this thing we believe in so much.
I’ve made a push this week to complete the Advanced Orienteering Course for the Treehouse Camp, and today they are using it for the first time. I’ve spent days and days exploring the woods, then carrying posts, a post hole digger, and a steel tamp to set points in the woods. Today the camp is exploring this area to find the posts that will give their sheets of paper a unique hole punch. In naming each spot, I decided to recount the history of Wilderness Camp, and name each point after a different Wilderness Director. As I walked, I was exploring some of Lakeshore’s most beautiful spots, and also remembering good friends and great times. The work was hard, though. Carrying heavy pieces of equipment over long distances in sweltering heat can really take it’s toll on you. By the end of each day, I was completely drenched from sweat, and I had a dirt tan (when your legs look like you have a great suntan, but you are actually just coated in dirt). My arms are sore, my legs are scratched up, and my shoulders are weak from carrying the posts and tools on them. mosquitoes attack every spot of exposed skin and sometimes skip looking for skin and just bite through your shirt. Ticks seem to just appear on your ankle and make the journey up your leg to places you’d prefer they not attach. Around every turn, it seems, there is a spider web lined perfectly with your face. And, maybe worst of all, there are gnats that insist on flying into your eyes and ears, denying you any peace that you might be able to relish amongst all those other trials.
But, as I walked, I also saw the awakening of many things that were a little more pleasant. I ate my first blueberry and blackberry of the year, right from the bushes surrounding my feet. I heard the drone of the first cicadas. There are only a few out now, but they say we will be hearing the lullabies of thousands and thousands here soon. And now, the treehouse camp are braving those woods to find blessings of their own. I am certainly sore. I’m sure they will be too. But, I’ve also heard that sweat can be very cleansing.
Pray for us as we welcome Campamento Espirtu, the Conference’s first Hispanic camp along with our Developmentaly Disabled camp, Music and Drama, Watersports 1, Teen Hope 3, and Backpacking Camp.