I realize that I rarely use this blog as a “life update” blog and tend to lean toward posting more thought-driven entries, but I feel like this summer warrants more of a life update. Nothing major happened like last summer when I moved to NC and got a job and all things adult happened in just a few short weeks. But this summer, camp happened. Last summer had been the first summer in ten years that I did not spend at camp, which made being back there this summer even more fantastic. I have yet to find another place on this Earth that reflects the community of a body of Christ more deeply than at camp….but more on that in another post.
Every year after camp, everyone I run into (and even people who I don’t) ask me how my summer was. It seemed like the best way to answer that question was to give a snapshot of my summer in a blog post so that I actually have concise summary of what I did that I can go back to, and that other people can read instead of hearing my ramble along.
One of the other things that I truly love and value about camp is how campers and staff members are able to not only be themselves but also to learn and use skills that they may not otherwise have known they had. This is what it seemed like my summer was full of. Here it goes…
When I first started working at camp, it seemed like the only things that I could teach were craft classes and archery. And that’s what I did for my first summer. As this summer passed, though, I realized how much more I had learned in the past five years, making it possible for me to do what seems like almost anything at camp (anything away from the lake, at least). This summer I taught crafts classes and archery, but not nearly as much as I found myself on the ropes course encouraging girls to jump for the trapeze or climb the rock wall, or getting fifth and sixth graders work as a team on the low ropes course. Or giving pointers to much more advanced riders at the stables on form. Or helping new rifle-shooters to hit the target in riflery. Or even taking mothers and daughters hiking.
Not only was I teaching things I never before thought I would teach, but repeatedly I was surprised at how I get to do things at camp that I never get to do otherwise. I got to ride horses and work on posting. I got to act in ridiculously random and hysterical improv skits. I got to muck stalls and paddocks. I got to give Biblical messages to groups of 30-100 girls at a time and talk about God’s redeeming love. I got to fire up a kiln. I got to plan ridiculous activities for middle school girls to cook food over a fire. I got to put up a climbing wall. I became a master toilet plunger and ground bee exterminator. I got to pretty much direct and produce a play in a week. I got to build beastly fires. I got to shoot rifles and refine my archery skills. I got to climb through rafters. I got to laugh and make people laugh more than I’ve ever laughed before. I got to help interpret Bible verses.
But even more exciting than what I got to teach and do over the summer was what I got to see God do in the lives of girls. I watched as girls discovered God in different ways. I watched as God helped them conquer their fears. I watched as girls experienced what it meant to be in community with each other. I watched as girls became more confident in praying out loud. I listened as they asked questions about God and responded to the realization of God’s immense love for them. I watched them and their counselors fill with a joy that can only come from God.
That was my summer condensed into three paragraphs. If you want more specific stories, I’m happy to share.