Tag Archives: week 1

week one: “…and my high was knowing that we have a whole week more of this stuff.”

oh guys. camp is wonderful.

i apologize for not updating until now. that’s pretty unusual. typically i post twice a week or so, but there were a few things that kept me. my camera broke, i had an unexpectedly long nap in the nurse’s station, and i was actually unable to use my computer all of last week. also my wordpress media upgrade (which allows me to post pictures) expired. so no new pictures until that gets worked out (i’m really sorry and sad about that). but this is my week one post. and i’m so excited to finally update you all!

because guys. it was wonderful.

first, my partner matty is just the best. i seriously could not have asked God for a better partner. he’s a natural counselor. so many times throughout week 1 i got to see him loving our kids so well. he’s patient with them, he takes them seriously, and he makes them feel valuable. plus, he really looks out for me. we tag-team really well, and i know i can rely on him. i can’t wait to see where peoria cabin ends up by the end of the summer.

second, my cabin was just the best. matty and i are wanting to be really intentional about creating a culture in which our guys are expected to be gentlemen, and see themselves as such. this is great, because we can tell them that as blazers, they’re blazing the trail for younger campers, and even older ones. they have the opportunity to lead by example and be third.

our week one guys were all over it. they were so excited to get out there and be gentlemen. more than any other week i’ve experienced at camp, our guys were encouraging each other when they saw behavior that exemplified the i-am-third motto. they called each other out for being example-setters, and each of them looked for ways to put others in front of themselves. it was the best ever. these guys are a bit older than braves, too, and i’ve noticed that they’re much more interested in having deeper conversations. i have an action bible (it’s the comic book translation) that has absolutely captivated their attention. there wasn’t a single rest hour that it wasn’t being read by one of the guys. it led to some sweet conversations (and by that i mean that God used to to lead to some sweet conversations) about idolatry, the reason that Jesus didn’t save Himself from the cross, and why we can’t earn our way to heaven. seriously. i was blown away. God was very obviously answering my prayers to provide opportunities for such conversations.

finally, the week itself was just awesome. one of my favorite times was our hammock sleepout in the pine forest. peoria joined up with our brother cabin, potters, and did some s’mores and games. we did a joint devotion on fear and how God is with us all the time (some of the guys were a bit freaked out by the dark forest around us), and then went to bed. it was so peaceful, listening to the sounds of the forest and looking up at the stars while rocking lightly in the hammock. one of those times when it’s easy to recognize God’s blessings.

so i would love it if you would take some time to praise God with me for all the cool stuff He’s doing here. camp is as amazing as ever, and He is as faithful as ever.

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week one: resting.

greetings from camp tecumseh, where the stars shine bright, the leaves are green, and exhaustion and joy become a way of life!

can’t believe the first week of camp has officially come to a close… it seems like just yesterday i was introducing myself to eager campers and nervous parents, telling them about all the different things we would be doing this week and how by the end they wouldn’t want to leave.

i just got finished with all my parent letters, so the whole week is very fresh in my mind. the past few days have been absolutely great. there were certainly some stresses, but the end of the week always ends up being more exciting and over the top for a few reasons: first, clinics always amp up at the end; kids get to bring their own targets to riflery and archery, the lake clinics have a splash battle, the dance clinics finish their routines, and any kind of craft or construction clinic finishes their final product. thursday we have breakfast in bed and a cookout that evening. friday we have a themed dinner (this week was 80s) and a rockin’ dance party, and then end with closing campfire, which is a massive ordeal involving crazy songs, hilarious skits, awards, and a final torchbearer ceremony in which the oldest campers are called forward and charged with carrying the light of Jesus to the world. it’s a big deal, and everyone loves it (even if they fall asleep, which tends to happen with braves).


the devotion on friday night, you may remember, is a special one. we call it the bead devotion; each camper has the chance to choose from six beads that represent the six parts of what’s called the sagamore creed. in short, the six parts of the creed are responsibility, initiative, joy, friendship, trust, and faith. it’s a cool way for campers to choose something that they want to work on for the rest of the summer, something they want to give to God and ask His help with. i wasn’t sure how the devo would go, because our cabin is giggly and doesn’t like to sit and talk about things.

 but God is good. i was blown away with how the kids really quieted down and took the devotion seriously. for some, it was probably the first time that they’d been asked to consider something they wanted to improve on. they respected each other and listened while others were talking. we had guys decide to be more responsible, find more joy when life gets tough, be a better friend to others, and better pursue God when they go back home. it was a true blessing.

the two stayovers we have are great kids, so i’m excited to see what next week brings!

here are some snapshots from this week that i love:

i love that these guys were looking for possible gemstones buried beneath the sand of the volleyball court. i mean, i wouldn’t doubt it here at camp.

i love seeing guys from my cabin last summer, and adding new friends that basically just act like they were in my cabin last summer too. that’s just how camp works.

i love watching kids praise Jesus at chapel, especially with silly songs.

i loved having a cabin full of awesome guys that i’ll be missing this summer, as well as an awesome cilt who loves what he gets to do, as well as a partner who supports and encourages me. what a great week.

and lastly, the thankfuls from the past two days:

1.) dance parties and kids that will dance the way they want to once they realize that no one is judging them.
2.) extra time to write parent letters and hang out with fun friends.
3.) closing campfire, and everything it entails.
4.) campers who don’t want to leave camp once their parents get here.
5.) thunderstorms after massive droughts.
6.) the chance to do this crazy thing called camp eight more times this summer! 

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week one: molehills.

i really can’t believe that it’s already thursday, that tomorrow is the last full day of week one. part of me can’t believe it because there’s no way the week could almost be over. the other part of me can’t believe it because it feels like i’ve known these kids for way, way longer than five days. i’ve gotten to see the ups and downs, the cabin dynamics, the craziness and the quiet, and through it all, how God specifically crafts places like camp into places where He can be known.

the past few days have held a lot of tiny stressful things that, when looked at in view of the big pictures, turn out to be molehills rather than mountains. i know i already wrote about how my expectations were flipped (as an omnipotent God is apt to do), but a lot of other things have been flipped as well. let me share:

  1. rowdy cabin that won’t listen in devotions –> cabin of boys that is simply just giggly. cabin of boys that just enjoy each other’s stories and laughter so much that everything is contagious. cabin of boys that see the bright side of everything. cabin of boys that, after laughing so much with each other, feel comfortable to ask (unbeknownst to them) pretty deep questions.
  2. stressful night of filling out paperwork –> night filled with encouragement. night filled with good conversation with friends that i wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. night of restful work and productive writing. night full of time to realize all the cool stuff God’s doing.
  3. out of control clinic –> opportunity to individually talk with and encourage each of the campers. opportunity to develop friendships with campers outside my cabin. opportunity to point out leadership qualities in campers who never realized they had them. opportunity to let go of my obsessive idol of control and just let God do what He will. opportunity to be reminded yet again that what He wills is always better than what i feebly plan.
  4. cabin mates picking on each other –> a chance to tell a camper, possibly for the first time ever, that he is admired and loved, no matter what mean things people say. a chance to learn to trust my partner with a tricky situation. a chance to teach young boys about the importance of being respectful and loving like Jesus. yet another chance to trust God that He knows what He’s doing, even if the words coming out of my mouth seem so fruitless.

this week has been a constant reminder that while things can always be twisted to make a day horrible, they can also be viewed in such a way that you end up just thankful for everything. one of the best pieces of advice i’ve ever heard (from whom i can’t seem to remember) is how thanking God for the crappy stuff almost immediately changes things. it’s spiritual as well as scientific (they aren’t, as some would believe, opposite ends of a spectrum): the spirit becomes thankful by default, and the mind is forced to process an otherwise negative event in a totally different (read as: positive) way.

something really awesome happened today too, to add to the series of positives the Lord has been laying in my lap. i’ve been able to see a bunch of campers from my first week last summer, and while most of them look the same, it’s interesting to see all the subtle ways they’re definitely older. one brought his identical twin with him (who is now joking around with me as if he was totally in my cabin last summer… i’m down with it), another picked right back up where we left off in our discussion of which mythological adventure book series was the best, and another fell right into step with me on the way to an activity so comfortably, it was like no time had passed at all. on our walk, we were catching up about how each other’s years had been, what we’d been up to, stuff like that. after a moment of silence, he looks over at me and says, “you know, i still have that letter you wrote me. it’s in the drawer in the table next to my bed.”

for those of you who don’t know, at the end of each week, the counselors at camp tecumseh write a letter to the parents of each of the kids that were in their cabins. it’s an awesome way to fill the parents in on not just the activities and clinics that the camper did that week, but also how they’ve seen the camper grow, the ways that they and the camper have connected, and, in one of my favorite turns of phrase, to show that they just know the camper. i love to write, and i love to encourage, and since the kids almost always read them too, it’s a totally great way to let them know how much you loved having them in the cabin. while the writing itself can get a bit tedious, i really do enjoy crafting a good parent letter.

it was this letter to which my old camper was referring. he apparently still had it, and kept it in his bedside table. i’ve heard many times that these letters mean a lot to kids, and i’ve heard many stories of current counselors that still have the parent letter their old counselor wrote, but i wasn’t expecting to catch a post-summer glimpse of how a letter i had written was still important to one of my campers, much less that they would think to bring it up. it meant to much to me to hear that. what an unexpected blessing.

now, in keeping with the randomness of this post, a few unrelated pictures from the week:

i love how much my kids love the cilt we have this week. it helps that he’s freaking awesome.

i love big smiles and new friends at s’more time.

i love seeing all my campers line up during pop stop.

i love seeing team spirit. i feel like it exemplifies camp.

i love watching kids build castles during world cultures clinic.

and finally, the list of thankfuls from the past two days:

1.) a God who puts up with my tendency to complain
2.) a clinic partner who really helps out
3.) really awesome chapel songs that i can connect with
4.) watching campers connect with really awesome chapel songs
5.) decks of cards. they’re so incredibly versatile.
6.) random times when i get to see becca. i feel like all we have to do is look at each other and we know what’s going on. 

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