camp is a beautiful place. as i sit in my new room in my new house distinctly not surrounded by ten crazy loud, insanely hilarious, wonderfully inquisitive nine-year-olds, i am reminded of just how special it is.
camp is the place where people can come from all across the country (and all across the world) and still find things in common. camp is a place where you learn something new about someone every day. it’s a place where kids discover that different is okay, that it’s actually a good thing. camp is the kind of place that provides a chance to take a peek into different cultures and languages and realize that every child on earth is a child of God.
camp is a place where you meet new best friends every week. it’s a place where you find people who will laugh and cry and shout and dance and play games and be weird with you. it’s the kind of place where everyone exchanges addresses (or minecraft user names) on saturday so they can be sure to stay in touch until next summer.
camp is a safe place. it’s a place where people can be real and honest and a little weird (well… a lot weird sometimes). it’s a place where silly songs and outrageous costumes and funny voices are commonplace. it’s a place where you can stand on your chair and sing taylor swift songs at the top of your voice, and instead of looking at you like you’re crazy, everyone just stands up on their chairs and sings with you.
camp is where you can try new things and not worry about failing. at camp, there’s freedom to fail. there’s freedom to mess up. because it’s never been about doing things perfectly. it’s about trying and asking for help and growing and trying again. it’s about overcoming fears and anxieties and realizing that all of that stuff can be given up to God. cause He’s big enough for that.
camp is the place that helps put everyone’s best foot forward. camp is a place of encouragement, of love, and of words that build people up. camp is the kind of place that makes kids feel special just for being them. where kids are told that the ordinary things about them are actually really cool. in fact, it’s where they’re told that the really weird things about them are actually the cool things.
camp is a place where boys learn to be gentlemen. where they get excited about straightening shoes and clotheslines for other people. where boys run like mad to get to a door so they can hold it open for others. it’s a place where kids will gladly rise up to the expectations you set for them. it’s a place where putting others before yourself is the standard. it’s a place where guys can be gentlemen and ninjas at the same time.
camp is a place for mud hikes and baked oatmeal. it’s a place for slides that make you go faster depending on how loud you scream. it’s a place for fresh water whales and piranhacondas, for giant indian statues filled with maple syrup and mysterious squeegees living deep in the forest. it’s a place for stories of ghost cabin and trader jim and his friendship with the old wolf pack. it’s a place where the everyday becomes fantastical.
camp is a place where the stars shine bright and the leaves are green. it’s a place where boys (and girls) marvel at fuzzy caterpillars and giant spiders and creepy crawlies and blind beetles flying around in the field (wait, scratch that last one. everyone runs screaming from those). camp is a place where kids look up at the night sky and freak out because they’ve never seen so many stars before. where they get a small bit of understanding at the vastness of the glory of God.
camp is the place where God is put first. it’s a place where it’s cool to sing songs to Him and talk to Him and talk about Him. it’s a place where some kids talk about Jesus for the first time, ever. it’s a place for picture bibles and parables and skits and verses. it’s a place where we feel His presence everywhere we go. it’s a place where God works in the hearts of His youngest children.
camp will always be more than a job. it’s a chance to be used by the Creator to love and teach and support kids. to laugh with them and play with them and lead them. to point them back to Jesus, and talk about how big of a deal He is. to talk about the crazy insane love with which He loves us, and why that matters.
God is at camp. and camp is a beautiful place because God is a wonderful God.