Tag Archives: fun

week three: “i have two words to say about the rest of the week: i’m in!”

week three was absolutely awesome. as each week passes, i’m realizing more and more how God is answering my prayers to make this a summer where i am challenged in the best ways, while at the same time He blesses me in ways i would never expect.

i was a little disappointed that i didn’t get to be at camp t for week two, especially after seeing some pictures online (check them out here. you can binge on them if you want. that’s how i just spent my last thirty minutes.) i recognized campers that i’d had in years past, and i was disappointed that i hadn’t been able to reconnect with them. but on sunday i return to camp and discovered two things. first, matty was really excited to see me. it was a great reunion. and second, we had three stayovers. which meant that almost a third of last week’s cabin would still be here, so it was almost like i hadn’t missed out!

also all three of them had been in my cabin last summer. so that was basically the best.

i’m sure i’ll be saying this all summer, because chances are i’ll have more opportunities to have previous campers in my cabin again. but there is just nothing so cool as being able to see the ways God has been working in the lives of kids that you’ve invested in. while i stay in touch with a few campers from over the years, the vast majority of these kids i say goodbye to on saturday and don’t get the chance to see where they are in a year. but when God allows me a glimpse into the lives of campers i’ve developed relationships with, it’s encouraging and exciting and makes me praise Him.

that was probably my high of the week, seeing how guys had grown in patience, care for others, and a desire for God. one of the campers told me after devos that he hadn’t before known that he didn’t have to earn God’s approval. but since coming to camp this week, he learned that there’s nothing he can do that will ever make God love him any less. how is it that the Lord has chosen someone like me to deliver such beautiful good news? i certainly don’t deserve it, but i will gladly accept it. praise Jesus!

other highs of the week would include the clinics. i had hip hop, mountaineering, and clay. all of them were the best. i had some of my campers in mountaineering and clay, and it was so much fun.

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a variety of clinics is always the best, because you’re always on your toes and things don’t get boring. i went from choreographing the chorus to “best day of my life” to cheering on a camper who climbed to the top of mount wood to painting facial hair on the campers in clay clinic. all in a couple hours. that’s like the best.

wk3_2we did some pretty awesome things as a cabin this past week too. we went on a mud hike (one of the guys i was sure would back out was in 110%), we visited the minifarm to do the chicken round-up (side note: for some reason i’d always been afraid of chicken round up, mainly because it involved running after them to catch them and i was afraid that somehow i’d manage to lose all of camp’s chickens. but it turned out to be a blast), and we dressed up and went crazy for disco night. we also had one of my favorite unit games ever… prom night! somehow the guys always think it’s the best when they dress me up in pinks and purples and jean jackets and dresses.

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what i love most about camp is the relationships that form. i love looking over at trading post and watching david listen intently as his camper explains chess to him. i love watching milson initiate a heart-to-heart with one of his guys. i love all the little things i get to see as i walk around camp. so much silliness, so much happiness, so much joy. and it’s all so very real.

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i like real.

 

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training week: and so it begins.

it’s here! camp tecumseh, the best place in the world. somehow training week has already come, and things have started rather spectacularly.

many new and returning counselors have been at camp for a while now, doing a variety of trainings. i see in new counselors a sort of freedom, the kind that comes from realizing that camp is a place where they can be fun and loud and a bit odd and that’s okay. i remember first discovering that a few summers back. it’s one of the reasons camp is such a special place.

i came here one day early to get my high ropes recertification. it was a day filled with fun people doing fun things. definitely got me in the mood for the rest of the following week. we did things like ziplining and tying knots and finding small turtles and getting excited for mountaineering and skywalkers.

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then staff training really started. the following day, we all got assigned to cabins for the week. this summer i have the pleasure of leading one with john fraisure, who is, we shall say, a character. one of my favorite characters.

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we have an awesome cabin of guys as well. at this point we’ve been together for about three and a half days, and it’s been really great. everyone is going to make a fantastic counselor, seriously. they’re friendly, hilarious, and everyone is willing to share. we’ve had some wonderful devotions over the past few nights, all because of the ways the guys have been actually thinking about the stuff we talk about, and are eager to apply it to this summer and beyond. they’re the best.

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here’s another picture of us at opening campfire… we were the rainbros.

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over the past few days (though they’ve felt much longer), we’ve done a ton of fun stuff, some with each other and some with other groups. we toured the camp, we visited the minifarm and went on a trailride, we played frisbee and spikeball and nine square, we’ve done cheers before breakfast and cheers before dinner, learned to set up a tent in south pasture, hiked all over God’s beautiful creation within camp boundaries, and have just generally had a smashing good time.

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last night the staff split into separate groups (mine was labeled the wolf pack… not mad about it) and at the end of the day we made hobo dinners! i always forget just how delicious they are after you’ve put all the hard work into them. we had a great time getting to know each other and telling stories and eating some good grub.

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today has been the best ever. chapel was so good. llama talked about how God isn’t just a piece of our lives, but rather the source from which and through which everything else is given purpose. it’s an important reminder going into the summer that nothing – not the activities, not the kids, not the experience – is as important as Jesus. if we forget that, we are doomed to spend a summer expending energy for no good reason. knowing God and pursuing Him gives everything meaning, and camp is no exception.

after chapel michael brandwein came in to talk to us for the morning and early afternoon. to take joel’s phrase, this guy is basically the yoda of summer camp. usually sitting that long listening to one person would make it easier to lose focus, but literally the entire time, i felt like i was truly learning and that everything brandwein was saying was able to be applied to the summer. all the guys in my cabin agreed. it was awesome.

then, in the evening we had our first mud hike of the summer. there was a new mud pit, and it was perfect. i’m always hesitant before i arrive, but i’ve learned the benefit of letting go and getting covered… there’s something freeing about it, and it was a blast to do it with the staff, who have all been growing closer and closer over the past few days.

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afterward, we cleaned up and headed to scheumann to create our name tags for the summer and pig out on ice cream. it’s always one of my favorite nights. tomorrow we will find out what unit we’re in and who our partner is, and so there’s a hum in the air from all the excitement. people were laughing and singing and painting the little circles of wood that will hang around our necks for the next nine weeks.

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and so tomorrow the summer will seem even more real. the next time i write, i’ll know who my partner is and what unit i’ll be in! i would have expected to be nervous right now… i’ve been in the brave unit the past three years, but this summer specifically there’s some mystery as to which unit i’ll be placed with. but i am so at peace with whatever happens. becca is with the other coordinators right now, meticulously piecing together her unit and pairing counselors. and tomorrow, i’ll find out.

i could not possibly be more excited.

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week five: “i solemnly swear that i am not ticklish.”

fridays are the best. everyone’s excited and wanting to get the most out of their last full day at camp. i decided to take lots of pictures because i feel like i slacked on that a lot this week.

clinics were especially awesome. i came to the court to see this happening:

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these kids rock. we played three games on friday, and throughout the entire time, they were encouraging each other regardless of which team they were on. dan brought some brazilian candy as a surprise for them, and there were lots of hugs and high fives as we said goodbye. one of the guys is a stayover, so i’ll get to see him next week too! score.

hip hop was chosen to perform at closing campfire! they were all so psyched. one of them suggested we get some giant fans to blow on them at the end of the song, so that their hair would be blowing around and it’d look cool… so we got some giant fans to blow on them at the end of the song, so that their hair would be blowing around and it’d look cool. adam and tom pulled some strings and got them for us, an even though it was only for a few seconds at the end, it made everyone’s night. it was the best.

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one of my favorite things to do between clinics is to watch kids with their counselors. people were feeling especially silly today.

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friday was also the day that miami received the prize for our wacky wednesday performance! we won a rest hour serenade with cookie cake, and it was the high of many of my kids’ days. john and matt came over and divided up the cookie cake, and then john played background music for the best game of mafia i’ve ever seen. it was epic.

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other awesome things that happened on friday include, but are not limited to:

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intense games of carpetball.

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pictures with zain, our rockstar cilt.

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superhero/cartoon themed dinner with plenty of disney music to keep us all happy.

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watching step clinic and martial arts (and yes, those are cardboard robots) perform at trading post.

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seeing so much orange at closing campfire.

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secret pictures taken unbeknownst to the camera owner.

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people loving other people at chapel.

and then it was saturday, and i had to say goodbye to some of my favorite people ever. i don’t know why God keeps blessing us with such amazing kids, but it makes me excited for the weeks to come. how in the world did i get so lucky?

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week four: “beavers are well known for their superior climbing abilities.”

week four is over, and that is sad. but there were so many awesome things that happened.

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one of our campers had a birthday! i’ve never seen a camper so pumped to have his birthday at camp. he literally talked about it every day and asked multiple times if special things happened for birthdays at camp. we told him OF COURSE they do! we sang the order of the oar for him, i snagged some birthday stuff from walmart and decorated our table for meals, and we ate tj and ike’s cake for breakfast. it was a good day. also, the party hats were a hit.

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that day also happened to be the fourth of july, so there were some awesome fireworks!

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we oohed and ahhhed at all of them and then went back and did one of the coolest devos i’ve ever been a part of. we looked at 1 corinthians 13 and talked about love. we shared moments that made us feel loved, and then one way each of us wanted to be more loving. it was so cool to hear the guys open up and really think about what they were sharing.

later that week, one of our guys in mountaineering got to the top of nub town, our hardest wall! we call him beaver, and he was super proud of himself. we were too.

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on friday, we were visited by a surprise guest:

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that’s right, ALI! it was so, so good to see her again. she brought all of us diet cokes for coord time (and when i sarcastically texted her, asking her to get me a meal from texas roadhouse, she thought i was serious and ordered the texas roadhouse meal from mcdonalds. that was a fun story to listen to). then, of course, we took pictures.

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then i got to hang out with adam, who is one of my favorites. he wasn’t in my cabin last year, but we hung out at lake time and became friends. we’ve been writing back and forth all year.

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this year i also got to hang out with his younger brother, who is one of the cutest kids i’ve ever met. together, they just made my week.

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at closing campfire, the buffalo brothers had some stellar performances to coronate the buffalo queen. plus there was an awesome new arapaho cheer that jeandre came up with. he’s such a great counselor.

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plus hip hop got to perform, and they rocked it!

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one of my favorite things to see was katrina and tom watch their little girl, sophie, who was in res camp for the first time. they were so, so proud of her, and it was adorable.

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finally, our kids were just amazing this week. i don’t know how i keep getting blessed with them, but they are amazing and they make everything better when things get tough. can’t believe i get paid for this job.

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life is good.

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week two: “you know, they should really sell vanilla coke in stores.”

so today at bible study, we got to talk about God’s faithfulness. we looked at different passages throughout scripture that detailed God’s faithfulness in a variety of areas; in forgiveness, in providing what we need, in giving us strength to stand up under temptation. then we all shared a table (and an amazing meal) together and swapped stories of God’s faithfulness in our own lives. it was so, so encouraging to both think back on the ways God has been faithful (all the time) to me and hear about how He’s been doing that in the lives of my friends.

it was actually a great topic, because this week i have definitely felt God’s faithfulness. last week was amazing, and i loved it, but at certain points i was a little discouraged because i didn’t feel like i was making a whole lot of personal connections with my campers. i think i wrote about it a few posts ago.

coming into this week, it kind of felt the same way. the boys are so great, but it’s easily the most energetic cabin i’ve ever had, and along with that energy comes a lot of struggle busing in the listening arena. they aren’t the best listeners, and for many of them, it doesn’t click that ignoring someone when they speak to you is a form of disrespect.

so it felt like i was doing a lot of redirecting and not a whole lot of making connections. yesterday i was feeling especially tired, and so naturally it was really easy to feel especially discouraged. i asked God to please provide some opportunities to make special connections with my campers.

and He totally answered my prayer.

let’s review all the awesome stuff that’s happened so far. yesterday was just lots of fun. we had some brave boy dodgeball, which is always a success.

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many jail brakes were called. the second game we played had a medic, who can heal people when they’re hit. it was a blast; my guys were good sports (for the most part), and they all loved the excuse to run around and throw things at each other.

yesterday was also the day we unveiled a new unit game: prom night. in a nutshell, we had cabins trekking through the woods, answering camp trivia questions. every time they got a question right, they were able to dress their counselor in a costume item of their choice. then we had them go to the lake, where counselors had to fill a bucket with lake water using only the costume clothes they had acquired. it was one of the funniest things i’ve ever done.

also it was chaos.

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it was so much fun. by the end i was soaking wet, absolutely exhausted, and may or may not have been laughing uncontrollably at the state of my fellow counselors. the kids loved it (i don’t believe even one boy  counselor made it to the lake without wearing a dress). it was such a blessing that something that could have gone so wrong (simply because it was the first time we played it) went so well. God definitely had His hand of blessing over it.

today has been even better. it’s probably been the best day with campers yet this summer. we had to do chapel in river village lodge because of some possible weather problems. turned out nothing happened, but chapel in the lodge was still really cool!

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then we had clinics. the first one this week is hip hop with fizz. i love teaching with fizz; she’s got so many ideas and she’s so great with the kids. we work really well together, and this week we have an amazing group of girls. as in they almost know the whole song and it’s only tuesday. as in we’re giving them the second verse to choreograph because they’re that good. yeah.

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the other clinic is peteca with dan. you might recall that i taught peteca my first week last summer. back then i had no idea what i was doing, but God worked it out so that it became my favorite clinic of the week anyway. this summer, i have an awesome partner and we have three great kids. since it’s so small, we really get to work on some second level skills like encouragement, persistence, encouragement, patience, and encouragement. it’s my favorite.

today we started keeping score of how many good hits we got. when we finally made it to thirty, we were all so excited that we had to take a quick photo shoot, naturally.

we took one with our score and frank (we named the ground, because it was catching most of our throws the first day.

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then we took one with janet, because she caught a lot of our throws as well.

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and then we took one of my favorite pictures i’ve ever taken ever.

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so great. so, so great. i love these kids and working with dan and coming up with creative ways to teach peteca. God has really blessed me through the clinics i’m teaching this week.

at lunch, all the brave counselors found cans of coke in their mailboxes from ben and amy and their kids. it was the best.

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and then i also got to see some of my favorite people today. lesem is always awesome.

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and i love seeing counselors like bradzilla doing some one-on-one with their kids. always makes me smile.

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best of all, today was a day where God allowed me to make some really cool connections with almost all my campers. He gave me the peace to let go of certain details that typically would have made me frustrated, and allowed lots of laughter and smiles and jokes and fun.

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God is good. and He is faithful. all the time.

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