Tag Archives: summer

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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week seven: “will they know where to send it if i just write ‘mom and dad’ on the envelope?”

week seven absolutely flew by. it was an amazing time with some amazing campers, and i already miss them so, so much. lots of great things happened with these boys.

on sunday, we decided to dress up for opening campfire as ninja carolers (the week’s theme was christmas in july). we would sneak around and jack would find people without much christmas spirit for us to sing to. the guys loved it.

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clinics for the week were great too. i had mountaineering with becca and liz. we told our campers that we were actually all triplets. it almost backfired when campers started quizzing us on the details of our lives, but we managed to hold it together.

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i got to do peteca again too! i love teaching this clinic with dan. he’s totally made it his own, but is always willing to try new ideas. we thought about bringing it to the lake one day, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. regardless, the kids had a blast, and it was actually our largest peteca clinic yet!

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i got to have one of my campers in it too, so that was great. we got to bond a lot over a few peteca tosses.

peteca is also a wonderful time to see daycamp, who always runs and rambles past us. monday they were covered in green goo, and they screamed whenever we talked about scooby snacks. plus we got to see jaaack! he’s taking pictures for daycamp.

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monday night was time for round 4 of the gentlemen games. we were back in the oregon territory again, but this time we were much more secretive. we made an entire game plan to follow, and even had an alibi… we were only back there to take pictures with different kinds of trees.

naturally, we had to get legitimate pictures with trees in order to back our story up.

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we were spotted a few times, but the boys pulled it off flawlessly (that is to say, they would run giggling to the closest tree and say something like “look! what a beautiful tree to take pictures with!”) and no one suspected us. after a successful night, we spotted an entire cabin made of nothing but trees, so we had to get our final picture with it.

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it’s just so much fun.

we also had a mud slash nature hike that ended at the sand pit. i love the look in my kids’ eyes when they realize that we’re telling them they can just play around in the creek. it’s like we’ve told them we’ve just given them all the ability to fly.

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have i mentioned that the guys were awesome this week? great senses of humor, open and honest conversation, the ability to get serious, a desire to do gentlemanly things all week… it was so cool.

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a few of them especially were the kind of boys that really exemplified the i am third motto. they loved putting other people before themselves, and it just came so naturally to them. they never did it to be praised, but just because it was the right thing to do.

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i got to have some really great conversations this week. conversations about life, about God, about camp. it stinks that none of them were stayovers.

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that one right above is all of them at the lonely post (a meeting place we created), giving me their best sad faces (out of respect for the post’s loneliness).

on the way to my night off on tuesday, i did some surprise picture attacks. everyone managed.

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then i lost my camera until saturday morning, when it showed up in one of my campers’ bunks… he didn’t take it, but i think he found it and then just forgot to tell me about it til saturday. but that’s okay, because it meant that i had it just in time to get pictures of chapel.

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and pictures of saying goodbye. did i mention saturdays are really bittersweet?

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one of my favorites wasn’t even in my cabin, but he’s the kind of person that decides you’re his best friend, and then you are. so we’re best friends. plus, one of my favorite campers ever came to visit me when he picked up his sister! he just hung out with us as other parents picked up their sons. it was so great, and so unexpected. God is good with small blessings like that.

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and just like that, i only have two weeks left. how is that even possible?

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things to praise God for.

so i lost my camera, which means as of now, i’m waiting to post until i find it. at first i was really bummed, because i’ve really tried to post regularly. but i’ve actually wanted to post something like this for a long time, and this is the perfect time. for all of you reading, i would love for you to join me in thanking and praising God for the following things:

  • God is moving in the lives of these kids. i have seen my own campers’ fascination with God’s word, heard and discussed with them their honest questions about His nature, and watched as they have grown in love and compassion for each other and their peers. i’ve heard from other counselors about how the same kinds of things are happening in their own cabins, and how God is moving in distinct but similar ways across camp.
  • counselors are being rock stars. in the past few weeks i’ve seen:
    1. a counselor give her sweatshirt to one of my campers who was cold in the 90 degree weather (he ended up buying a sweatshirt that was four times too big for him because he liked the way hers fit him).
    2. a counselor jump into the pool (completely dressed) to make his camper feel more comfortable in the water during his swim check.
    3. two counselors have spent their time off to research new ideas for their clinics, and spent their own money to buy things to make it more special.
    4. countless counselors playing checkers with their campers throughout all of trading post.
    5. counselors rocking chapels. God’s totally been blessing their efforts, too. i’ve heard more amazing wrap ups this summer than any other summer i’ve been here. people here care about kids knowing Jesus and learning about God.
    6. more moments than i could ever possible count of counselors making any camper they run across feel extra special just for being them.
  • God has been blessing the heck out of my summer. i’ve had amazing guys every single week, and this week is no different (i can’t wait to introduce you all to them). i have an amazing partner, who loves Jesus and is always focused on our kids. i have a coord partner who remembers all the stuff i don’t and tries to cheer me up with those repulsive dove chocolate quotes (“give yourself permission.” what?). i have friends that i can trust and share life with and grow with and praise God with.
  • God is sovereign, God is good, and God is loving. all the time.

 

for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, this one final reason to praise God for this week:

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reason 5924304 i love that i get to work at camp.

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week six: “it’s too much work to tell people i’m a bagpiper, so sometimes i just tell them i’m a piper.”

week six was an amazing week, but it was very emotionally challenging. thankfully, the Lord blessed us with awesome guys, tons of fun things to do, and the kind of support that only a camp family can offer. perhaps more than any other week, i was reminded many many times over the past seven days just how special camp is. things that are commonplace at camp don’t often happen in other places.

this week was the second annual tecumseh olympics, and so most of the activities we would do anyway as a cabin allowed us to earn gold medals if we competed against another country. miami and mohawk represented scotland (alba gi brah!), and i think we served her well. on wednesday we set up smaller stations for different olympic events. mol and i worked at the shotput, and we decided that we were actually anastasia and rasputin from russia. we took ourselves very seriously.

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throughout the day we had other counselors acting as reporters, interviewing campers about their latest wins and what their favorite activities were. it was so much fun, and everyone had a blast.

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my guys even won a gold medal for their amazingly intricate myan ruins sand castle. they were really proud of it (they had every reason to be, too… it was awesome!). bridges, secret entrances, a river that led to a moat, guardian octopi. this castle had everything. plus we got to do it with our friends in kickapoo, who crafted an entire sand village! it was tons of fun.

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it was super hot, but thankfully water exists and sprinklers are fun and the counselors here are awesome, so we managed.

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there were many other things that made this week (and camp in general) special. things like… a kid who played the bagpipes.

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and yes, he did, in fact, lead scotland into the closing ceremonies even though he was from a different country. how can you pass something like that up? plus it’s always the best when you can take an opportunity to make a kid feel on top of the world. whenever he came out playing his bagpipes (he practiced every day), everyone gathered around him and cheered him on. he had the biggest smile on his face, especially when a counselor would go up to him and say, “you’re the bagpiper, aren’t you?”

a love for nature is also really significant here at camp. we went on a hike to ghost creek this week, and picked out a pet rock. some of these guys had never just played around in a creek before, and it was so much fun to see them get so excited.

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on our way back we even found a turtle! we named him frederick. sam, our camper from spain, was really excited (like jumping up and down excited) about it because he had never seen one in person before.

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something i’m really excited about is the action bible i got. it’s basically the bible as a graphic novel, and it’s awesome. i wasn’t sure if the guys would like it, but i can’t count the number of times i found it tucked away in one of my campers’ bunks after rest hour. a few of them even looked through a bible story in the action bible and then went to get their own bible to read more about it. it was really cool, and i’m excited to see how God uses it to spark their interest in the Word.

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my cilt, justin, was awesome this week. he’s such a natural counselor, and the kids loved him.

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s’mores are also awesome. the kids think it’s the best ever that they get chocolate and are allowed to set things on fire (to clarify… those things would be the marshmallows) (to further clarify… they are under intense supervision). plus i mean s’mores are delicious.

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saturday, as always, was really tough. whenever there are so many amazing kids, it’s difficult to say goodbye. it was especially hard to wave goodbye as our stayovers left. they were amazing. i’m excited to get ten new campers to love on and have fun with, but part of me wishes they could all stay at least one more week. bittersweet, but i guess it’s better than being relieved that they’re gone. God has certainly blessed me when it comes to campers that are easy to love.

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and so begins the final third of the summer.

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week five: “i’d like a bunch of cokes, please, and i want to pay for them all with one of those big checks.”

this weekend was so great.

waved goodbye to my two stayovers and left them in the hands of johnny d. and jimmy, which means my guys were basically guaranteed the best weekend of their lives.

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then becca and i drove to indy to have lunch and spend time with the family. it was basically the best thing ever to see all of them, because it felt like it had been so long!

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the best part was that, apart from just hanging out, we had nothing planned. i wrote some parent letters, talked a lot with mom and dad, and just enjoyed listening to the sound of my family loving on each other. christina, christy’s friend from denmark, was there with us, and it was basically like having another sister. it’s always so great when people fit so well into our family.

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i love these people, and i still am not sure how i got so blessed with them as my family.

we had an awesome surprise when the thomas family joined us! jordan, becca, and i go to school together (you should check out jordan’s blog), but i hadn’t seen her brothers and sisters in many, many years (to give some perspective, her youngest brother, who i’ve known for a while, told me it was nice to meet me). it was crazy to see how grown up everyone is.

after a quick bite for dinner, becca and i piled back into the car to drive back to camp. i joined up with my stayovers, said hi to some friends, and then went outside to supervise some gaga while i wrote my parent letters (only had to pause them once, to add my favorite rule… if you point at someone and tell them “you’re out!”, then you are now out. same goes for if you use anything but positive words when playing).

a little later i went to the sieplinga’s house with james, jack, john, olivia, and scott to finish parent letters and hang out. we listened to a francis chan sermon, talked about life, and greeted joel and renee when they came back from a wedding they had attended. then we all (minus joel and renee) decided to drive and get pizza somewhere, because why not.

this is the part where i’d have pictures, but i left my memory card out, so you’ll just have to imagine this next part. here are some of the things that happened:

1.) driving with the pirates of the caribbean soundtrack making everything more intense.

2.) meeting jessica, a server at taco bell, and misunderstanding her to the point of ordering inside the lobby even though it was closed. she was a champ.

3.) eating taco bell on the hood of scott’s car (affectionately named max).

4.) driving to mcdonald’s and finding out their ice cream machines were being cleaned, they were out of soda, and we were only able to pay with cash.

5.) driving to wendy’s, seeing the drive thru was closed, and singing our hearts out in sadness.

6.) driving away from wendy’s and noticing that there were, in fact, people in the building, and they had heard our song.

7.) driving back to wendy’s drive thru and singing the lion sleeps tonight. then, upon request from the guy working that night, singing happy birthday (order of the oar style, of course). he told us it made his day. no big deal.

this is why friends you make at camp are friends you keep. i’m a fan.

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