The first week of summer camp is nearing its end, and it has been one of violent forces. The first force arrived at about 1pm, Monday afternoon, in the form of a wave of vehicles to the parking lot, bringing our first week’s campers. There is such excitement in the air, all around, the first week of camp. It is brand new for everyone. The staff and counselors have the same fresh excitement that the campers getting out of their cars enjoy. The nervous energy fills the air. Campers wondering what cabin they will be put in, what friends they will make, and what bed they will get to pick out upon arrival. The staff has been training and preparing for this moment for days now, and, at long last, they will meet the people they have been training to serve. There are so many questions we ask ourselves. Will I be ready? Do I have what they need? Who are these people? Then a wave of short people come flooding into the doors of our cabins and thoughts must turn to actions.
We woke Tuesday morning to thunder and rain. We got a pretty good dousing, but everyone was fine. The rain did present a bit of a challenge to the first Wilderness Camp breakfast of the summer. Water sprayed onto the camp grills, where sausage, biscuits, and eggs were being cooked. The biscuits ended up a bit soggy, but they were certainly edible. Katie, who cooks the breakfast, was certainly broken in pretty well in her first attempt at breakfast. Even for those Wilderness camp leaders who had many breakfasts under their belt, a rain storm is not the environment you want for your first breakfast. It’s hard to shake the rust off, when water is pouring all over it.
Fortunately the storm let up, giving us plenty of time for daily activities. This week at Elementary camp, the kids have been involved in “on the spots,” to raise money for charity. Someone pays a dollar to put someone else “on the spot,” where that person has to do whatever is suggested. So, before each meal, there are lots of performances. Generally, the campers have trouble being original, when it comes to on the spots. They know they want to put their friend on the spot and make him sing to a girl counselor, but they have no idea what to make him sing. And so, we tend to have the same song come up over and over again. Popular ones through the years have been “I’m a Little Teapot,” “The Barney Song (I love you, you love me),” “Baby” by Justin Beiber, and “I Will Always Love You” (the Whitney Houston version, may she rest in peace). Even a song like, “You are my Sunshine,” that most of the campers don’t even know can become the “on the spot,” song of the week. It’s pretty comical to see so many campers get put on the spot to sing a song they don’t even know. I must confess, it was through “on the spots,” that I learned, “You are my Sunshine.”
This week, there was a mini-epidemic at camp of some kind of 24 hour bug. About 12 campers and 2 or 3 counselors came down with it. It seemed to happen pretty quickly, and came in waves of symptoms gross enough that I’ll spare the readers the details. You’d feel ok for a little while, then in another wave, you’d have to run back to a bathroom or waste basket. Fortunately, it did not last long, and, I believe, as I’m writing this everyone is back to feeling better. It’s times like these that you begin to understand why people can become so obsessed with Germ-X and Lysol. “I’ve seen those dark days, and do not want to go back to the waste basket. Never again. I will sanitize until the skin falls off my hands to avoid the bug.
The bug came like Thursday night’s storm, that snuck in as a gentle sprinkle, the a rumble in the distance, and then an all out thunderstorm. Lightening struck close enough that there was no delay between the flash and the boom. Water poured out of the skies, and we got to watch it out the windows. Our windows give us a great view of rain storms. You can watch the wind sweep through the falling rain and move it around in mid air. You can watch the trees dance. And you get to see the flashes in the night sky. And, in our Conference Center, we have a large basement, should it get even more out of hand. But, on this night, we just got a big wet show put on in front of our eyes. A portion of our phone system was out the next day (which happens every time there is pretty much any lightening in our area), but enough phones still work for us to get calls.
On the heals of that storm came the fantastic temperatures of Friday. I will go ahead and say with great confidence that Friday of this week will be the best all summer that any day will feel. The high today was 69 degrees. This made swimming a bit chilly, but all other outdoor activities were a great pleasure. You saw rare sights today, like counselors wearing jogging pants in the afternoon. On a normal summer day, that would land you in the first-aid room with a dehydration problem. But, today, you can stroll casually through camp, look at the clouds in the sky, listen to the birds sing, and breathe in that perfect air and be completely satisfied with where you’re at and what you’re feeling. As I walked on the road above the waterfront today, I heard Frank Sinatra from the beach. Paige Martin is a Volunteer Activity Staffer this week, and I know she has a big soft spot for Blue Eyes and the other classic crooners, so I knew she must have been down there. On this absolutely beautiful day, I heard the words float up the hill:
The summer wind came blowin’ in
From across the sea
It lingered there to touched your hair
And walked with me
All summer long we sang a song
Then we strolled on golden sand
Two sweethearts and the summer wind
It’s a song about nostalgia and change, and how things pass. I hear that song and it brings up all kinds of happy memories of warm days at baseball games, boat rides, and twilights at 8:30 in the evening. We will most certainly look back on days like today nostalgically and wish we could relive them, to feel what we felt then and see it all that way one more time. We will ask ourselves if it was really as good as we remember it, and we’ll be a little suspicious of ourselves. But don’t doubt yourself when you look back on this day. It really was that good. We weathered those violent forces that blew threw. It finally passed over us. And the new day it left us with was well worth it.
Pray for our staff, volunteers, and campers. Also, may we have God’s direction during Annual Conference next week.