This week we saw a variety of large numbers. It started with near 200 Elementary age campers knocking on our doors Monday afternoon. This camp, our second Elementary camp of the summer, will likely be the largest. Each summer, our largest camp is usually an Elementary, and it might be the most intimidating sight as well–seeing this swarm of 8-11 year olds rushing the hill, pouring over the blacktop like an army that doesn’t know much tactically speaking, but will overwhelm you nonetheless. Early in the week, I witnessed the largest game of Little Sally Walker I’ve ever seen. This game is particularly popular with Elementary girls cabins. The participants stand in a circle with one person in the middle. The middle person skips around the inside of the circle as the group sings this catchy tune:
Little Sally Walker walking down the street
she didn’t know what to do so she stopped in front of me
and said, “Hey girl do yo thang, do yo thang and switch.
Hey girl do yo thang, do yo thang and switch.”
Whenever the chorus gets to the “Hey girl do to thang…” the person in the center chooses someone in the circle, stands in front of them, and does a dance move to the music. Then, the two switch places and repeat whatever dance move was just done. Now there is a new person in the middle of the circle, and the song starts over again. This game can go on for a whole canteen period, seemingly months.
One evening, during the night canteen, I witnessed a game of Little Sally Walker at least 50 people strong. They were taking up most of the basketball court, to the point that barely any basketball was being played. Boys, girls, campers, and counselors were all circled up. Counselors kept having to tell people to step back, so everyone could fit. We even had someone get hurt, because a swinging arm accidentally made contact with someone’s face. I’ve never heard of a Little Sally Walker related injury.
We also hit large numbers on the thermometer this week, as I’m sure all the non-cave dwellers in the area know. We saw these numbers approaching last week. There was a steady climb in the daily highs each day, and the 10 day forecast let us know we would see 100s with no chance of rain. The forecasts were not lying. The saving grace of the weather is that the humidity has not reached the high levels. So, even though you are sweating every bit of moisture in your body out, you can at least breathe. Heat is nothing to play around with, but, we sometimes group it in catastrophic weather categories like tornadoes and hurricanes. I don’t want to make light of this extreme heat, but if you are smart, you can spend a day outside without needing hospitalization. Honestly, our wilderness camps who sleep outside normally handle the heat much better than the main camps who live in air conditioning. Rule one is that you have to replace the water you use. Drink as much or more water than you feel yourself sweating. If you drink a coke, you should probably also match it with that much water. The sugars and corn syrups just do more to dehydrate you. Take a little time to acclimate yourself to the heat, if you are coming out of air conditioning. Let your body adjust. It is probably at least 25 degrees difference. And, of course, stay out of the sun when you can. It adds so much more.
This week’s leadership was very good about making sure the camps stayed cool. I was proud of them. Even during theme time, they would interrupt the session to take a big gulp of water. You would see campers everywhere with their water bottles. It is interesting how often we are our own worst enemies in situations like this. Sometimes we amp up our unhealthy habits in response to the extremes in our lives. We forget that it’s often good for our bodies to sweat as long as we fill ourselves back up.
The Arts Camp created a harmless and comedic scare last evening, by playing practical jokes on a few staff members. They painted a camper’s arm with dark red paint right where the elbow bends, and covered it with a make-shift paper towel bandage. They rushed up to several staff members, asking for medical assistance. Jonathan, our Wilderness Director was completely fooled. They claimed to have almost given the camp’s Volunteer Nurse, Shelia, a heart attach. Sarah Jane, the First Aid Director, was not fooled however. I guess Sarah Jane is more a realist when it comes to Art appreciation.
I was able to hang out with the girls of Camp Grace on their last night, when they had a beach party, complete with late-evening kayaking, singing, dancing, and sno-cones. Camp Grace is a camp for girls who have been sexually abused, so it is particularly special to see these ladies enjoying themselves in the care-free style you hope all campers will experience. One of their major lessons this week was that they are beautiful, not based on any human standards, but on the fact that God made them that way. You can’t help but enjoy a moment like this: knowing what the terrible times these girls have seen, but at this moment, watching them dance off balance to Justin Beiber’s, Boyfriend on a wobbly inflated raft in the lake. It’s moments like these that keep this camp staff inspired to do whatever they have to do. Anything to keep moments like these happening for these campers.
It seems that the heat is not backing down for the next little bit. Our Watersports camp probably sweated enough this week to refill the lake that has lowered. We’ll have to continue to watch our water intake here at camp until there’s some rain, a cool front, or a hurricane to the south of us. But, there will be more campers on their way Wednesday. There’ll be more fun to have and more lives to be touched. We are hitting the hot time of the year and the weeks where many more campers will be showing up. But don’t let the large numbers overwhelm you. When it comes around to you, just do yo thang and switch. Pass it along to the next person. Your chance is coming, skipping around the circle.
Be in prayer for all our campers this week. Our staff is taking a four day weekend around the holiday. Pray for our rest and rejuvenation. May all of you have safe travels and celebrations for our nation’s birthday.