Tag Archives: week 4

week four: “my goal is just to have something i say be the title of one of your blog posts.”

week four has historically been fantastic (see here and here and here), and this summer has been no exception. everything was fun, we all made some great connections with the campers, and it was the kind of week where we wished all ten of them were stayovers. just full of blessing and fun. lots of fun.

i mean, just look at these guys. they’re all studs.

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we were set up for success right from the beginning. four of those guys had been in my cabin two years ago, and were some of my favorites of all time. one was the younger brother of a close friend, and another was a camp kid that i’ve known for the past few years. four were ones i’d never met, and every single one of them was awesome.

we did tons of awesome things, like every week. a favorite was once again the minifarm. it’s always a blast seeing the tough guys get really excited about petting baby bunnies. we had a contest to see who could sound most like the pigs, and also took some time to play chicken round up. becca and katherine’s cabins were with us, and becca managed to conquer her (apparently intense) fear of… chickens. we were all very proud of her.

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this week, we brought back a favorite of mine from last year: the gentlemen games! i brought all the guys into the cabin and gathered them in a circle to relay our mission parameters. together, we decided to focus on the blazer girl cabins. we grabbed some sticky notes and markers, mentally prepared for the challenge at hand, and sprinted to the oregon territory. our cover story was that we were on a camp tree photo tour. naturally, we had to get some photos so our story was legit (also, note the ties we wore. we simply told people we were on a gentlemen’s hike).

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we plastered cabin doors with odd complements (e.g. “you’re better than apple pie. and apple pie is my favorite dessert.”), straightened lines of shoes, and organized clotheslines. most of the girls were out of their cabins, but for the last cabin we had to do all these things without being seen or heard by the ladies inside. it was intense, but we managed to accomplish our mission and sneak away unnoticed. win.

since we were working so well together, it was a great week to do the optimist challenge. we paired up with some of the blazer ladies and trekked across it, encouraging each other along the way. there are so many reasons i love this activity. it’s fun and challenging, it forces people to ask for help and encourage each other, and it creates space for leaders to step up. one of my campers had told me a little earlier in the week that he was praying for God to grow him in his leadership skills (so cool. just so cool.), and so i asked him specifically to be setting the example for encouraging his partner and having a positive attitude. he totally did, and we were all really proud of him.

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on wednesday i had the honor of being selected as a safety officer (well, batman did… and he and i are pretty close). it meant that i got a cool fluorescent vest and had the responsibility of making sure that everyone stayed safe. so later that day there was only one thing to do: take safety selfies with everyone. it was a hit. they were some of the safest pictures i’ve ever seen, to be sure.

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another reason this week rocked was that i had the chance to be in an awesome chapel. in the skit, milson keeps getting torn down by people, who tear a piece of his heart each time they hurt him. towards the end, milson starts tearing his own heart because he starts believing the things that people are saying. representing Jesus, i came in and gave him my heart. it was a cool picture of the way that Jesus took on the pain and hurt that should be ours because He loves us so much. and even when there is deep pain, we still have an anchor in our loving God.

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those two photos were taken by ben dehr, one of the camp photographers. he’s pretty awesome and you can look at all of the camp photos here. he also got some sweet pics of the firewors show (you can see them below), because of course the fourth of july happened this week. along with the fireworks show, we had a spectacular theme dinner on friday.

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everyone gets into it, and it’s the best. hands down though, the best part is the relationships that are built here at camp. i love seeing guys, who don’t know each other on sunday when they arrive, leave being best friends. camp just does that. it’s in the dna here.

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so, another week in the books. another week to come. crazy how it all flies by! what a busy, busy, sweet, sweet life.

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week four: “farting is a gift from God. it helps with digestion.”

let’s talk about how awesome this week has been so far.

it’s been pretty awesome.

started off perfectly, with me seeing ike and tj, identical twins that may or may not be two of my favorite people God has ever created. they’re both such amazing guys. polite and respectful, intelligent, lots of fun to hang out with, and totally invested in all things camp. it’s like the best. this year, they’re in separate cabins, because they wanted to try something new. before they even checked in, they swung by mine and hugo’s cabins to say hi. hugo had (naturally) gotten them brazil shirts, and so i ran and got mine so we could take a matchy-matchy picture.

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it’s bittersweet to see them around this week… i love having them here, but i just want them in my cabin again. then again, that’s one of the cool things about being at camp for a few summers… i have the opportunity to see the way God is growing some of my favorite people on the planet into even more amazing people. that’ll happen regardless of whether they’re in my cabin.

also today their mom mailed two cakes. one was for me and my cabin, the other was for hugo and his. i’m talking 9×13 pan filled with delicious cake. no big deal.

other things that happened on sunday include us getting a new day camp counselor:

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this is awesome for two reasons. first, victor is the bomb. he rocks. the kids are obsessed with him. second, our old dc, jack, is a res counselor this week! i have loved seeing him step so easily into the role. he just doesn’t realize how much of a rockstar he is.

it was also adam’s birthday:

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we all love adam, which means we all had to do the order of the oar for him. like all of us. i think the kids were fine while we were gone. but it was really loud so i might have missed something. i believe in this picture adam was reminding us not to jump because the floor might cave in.

that is a legitimate concern for river lodge. but it’s kind of endearing, in a scary way.

also on sunday was opening campfire. river village attempted to dress as minions from despicable me. i was proud of the miami effort.

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you can see how awesome those guys are from the picture, right? they’re amazing.

there were many awesome things happening for campfire. ottowa came as a deck of cards:

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every now and then they would yell “ottowa shuffle!” and everyone would run around and switch places. the kids absolutely loved it, and it was hilarious to watch.

lake village came as a bunch of people dressed in white things:

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jackie was looking extra lovely that night:

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this week is eval week, which means that i get to spend lots of time talking about how awesome the brave counselors are and then tell them how awesome they are. seriously, i still stand by the fact that our unit is stacked. kellie and i talk about it a lot.

doing evals does mean that i’ve had to spend less time with my kids this week, which has been tough. but praise God that it’s such an amazing cabin, because that means it’s been super easy to connect with them all in spite of the time i’ve had to spend away from them. they’re so awesome.

on tuesday the gentlemen of miami and the ladies of catawaba did some team building up at lake village. we managed, after some really intense brainstorming and lots of loud words, to get all ten guys onto one 2×2 wooden box for long enough to shout the miami cheer. they were beyond proud of themselves, and it was really cool to see which ones became leaders and encouragers and communicators.

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the catawaba ladies also managed it, but they stayed on for an entire verse of twinkle twinkle little star.

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the boys then got to get on the huge see-saw and balance it out with ten of them. then nate jumped on. they kept saying that if he farted it would throw it all off, which may or may not have been true, depending on the day and what nate had eaten recently. fortunately, it all worked out.

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oh man were they excited when they saw this picture.

yesterday we also got the golden toilet seat! i legitimately think this is the cleanest cabin i’ve ever had. i had no doubts we were going to get a perfect score on our cabin when we left that morning. and low and behold, after nate won a round of psychic paper scissors for the tie braker…

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and then yesterday we had another installment of the gentlemen games. we went to the oregon territory this time to get all the lady cabins we missed last week. they were very creative with their complements this time around. here were some of my favorites:

“you smell better than a pile of roses.”
“i like you better than cheese.”
“you smell better than peach perfume.”
“you have nice shoes and a nice clothesline.”

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one guy has been super quiet and timid all week. but the moment we started crawling around (we were gentlemen ninjas, and since gentlemen don’t do nice things to be recognized for them, we tried not to be seen by anyone as we did this), he lit up and started spouting off brilliant ideas for creative complements. i had never seen him so animated as he was when he was straightening shoes and clotheslines. it was the best ever.

we also made nice signs for the kitchen staff and nurses, and since we were presenting them in person, we had to have moustaches.

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naturally.

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week four: best ever.

and so concludes the best week of camp I’ve ever had.

it was so tough saying goodbye to the kids this week. each one of them, while they came in as new, unknown boys who had potential to be so many things (challenging, awesome, fun, exhausting), left as friends, as people that i will seriously miss this summer.

it’s just another example of how God totally flips my expectations. like i wrote earlier this week, hugo and i really were preparing ourselves for a cabin that might be a little more frustrating or tiring, simply because our week three cabin was so great, and it would have been difficult to measure up.

yet as God is wont to do, He blew my expectations out of the water. not only did hugo and i connect with each of the kids, the campers themselves really connected with each other and became close friends. many were really sad to leave these guys that they didn’t know just six days earlier. it was really touching to watch these kinds of interactions as they all headed back home.

our last few days this week were lots of fun. we did lots of awesome things like hang out in the nature center…


     

have massive fourth of july dance parties in the creative arts center…

traverse the always exciting and heart-pounding optimist challenge (although nine times out of ten the guys will call it the optimus challenge)…

     

it has the only head-first slide in all of camp. it’s kind of a big deal.

     

on Friday night our theme was, naturally, america.  we had all kinds of costumes.

     

my favorite was uncle sam and nephew sam though.

after dinner (consisting of asian cuisine, which felt oddly appropriate) and trading post we got to watch some awesome performances by the drama and brazillian dance clinics. then we ran back to the cabin to change into our unit shirts.

we have a pretty crazy bunch. but we love them all.

then we had a dance party over by the blazer cabins again.

i love that camp is a place where people (especially guys) feel comfortable dancing in front of others, because no matter what happens, people will always cheer them on. reason #1824 that the real world should be more like camp.

     

     

campfire was, as usual, crazy and fun. we had some hilarious skits, and i feel like the whole camp was somehow more involved tonight than usual. everything was bigger, crazier, and definitely hotter. i got to teach show choir clinic with katie this week, and all six of our kids totally rocked it on stage! one of them, gabe (the only guy), was from my cabin. during the week, we established that the entire group needed to perform at “gabe level: midnight”, which means acting like you’re having the time of your life and making everything big and fun.

devos were started really late, but the guys were still awake and paid attention through it all, which was totally a God thing. usually that doesn’t happen. after the bead devo, hugo and i went around to each of the bunks to tell the boys how glad we were that they were in our cabin and what specific things we saw them doing this week that we thought made them really cool. this week it was so easy to find words of encouragement for these kids, because God’s so obviously working in all of their lives. it’s probably my favorite time of the entire week, because some of these boys have never been told that they’re a leader, or that they have a kind and compassionate heart, or that we’re proud of them not because of the things they say or do, but because of who they are. many have never been told before that God is crazy in love with them.

i used to think that telling ten-year-old boys that God loved them might make them think God was weird. but now i know how impactful those words are. now i know how much ten-year-old boys long for that kind of a promise from a perfect God, to know that they are loved no matter what they do and no matter how many times they mess up. i think ten-year-olds and a-hundred-and-ten-year-olds alike need to hear that.

the following day, i woke up to find this on the table:

are there any of you that are somehow still not sure why i work at camp?

everyone wanted to take pictures with felix before they left!

      

     

this guy loved his stuffed animals. i told him felix wanted a picture with foxy, bunny, scarfy, and teddy. he was more than happy to oblige.

some of our campers wrote home and told their parents to buy hugo some ketchup because he loves it so much (i’ve talked about this, right? hugo puts ketchup on literally everything except fruit and cereal. this is not an exaggeration). they also brought us some cookies (and put a list of the ingredients in case we had any food allergies). it feels nice to be appreciated, especially when we appreciate their kids so much.

     

saying goodbye to these guys was really, really tough. i want so badly to know how the rest of their summer goes, how God is going to be moving in their lives, and how each of them is going to be growing. but that, i’m learning, is part of trusting God. some of these guys i might never see again. and while that’s sad, it’s also a reminder that the role God gave me to play in their lives might have been small, but it was intentional on God’s part. week four of summer camp 2012 was the time slot God provided for me to interact with these young boys. and there’s nothing i can be but thankful for that amazing opportunity.

there are many, many things i love about camp.

i love parents who are involved in their kids’ lives even when the world gives them a million reasons to focus on something else. i love it when parents want their kids to grow in their faith at camp. i love it when parents are invested in their children. i love when parents and their kids run into each other’s arms on saturdays.

     

i love seeing even more campers from last summer, the ways they’ve grown up a little but are still young people.

i love how my campers can also be my really good friends.

i love seeing siblings that love each other. i love seeing kids whose parents have raised them to be respectful, caring, and compassionate. i love knowing that my campers have such bright futures.

i love that i worship a God who uses camp to show kids (and staff) that He loves them like crazy.

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week four: good things.

things i am really thankful for right now:

1.) my pink eye is clearing up.

2.) even though this is the case, i still actually like wearing glasses.

3.) the kids this week are simply amazing. as i wrote before, this is usually the case with campership kids, because they truly appreciate the experience and everything that’s involved with being at camp. even the ones who aren’t campership have just been raised well, so they’re respectful and happy and are making friends with the other kids, and the entire week has just been really filled with joy and excitement. i’ve loved every minute of it.

4.) water. it’s a blazing hot week, and we take every chance we can to get in the water. pool time today was lots of fun. i’m usually splashing around in the shallow end and throwing my kids around, which is not only a blast, but it usually gets the quieter kids to open up a bit. because let’s face it, who doesn’t like to be thrown around in the pool? it’s exhausting, but it was great to cool off, and the guys love it.

5.) we did gold rush today, and the kids had a blast.

     

so did the cilts.

it was super hot, but there were lots of sprinklers and water guns and hoses, and we had some rockin’ music playing by the pool so everyone could take a break and dance around (see above picture). we were drenched in sweat by the end of it, but the kids had a blast.

6.) clinics have been really great this week. i’m doing clay, show choir, and mountaineering. they’re each so different, and so it’s not really getting into a rut of the same old stuff… each day is different, and i’m really enjoying it. i’m not even a camper! the kids are all really into their activities as well, which makes teaching all the more fun. tomorrow in clay they get to paint their masterpieces. in show choir we’ll move on to the second song’s choreography (we’re doing a usa themed mix in honor of the fourth). and in mountaineering we’ll be tackling the toughest wall of the bunch: nub town! it’s gonna be a great day.

     

7.) i’m thankful for working at a place where i get to see counselors to crazy things for their campers. and also really intentional things. and also really loving things. and none of that is out of the ordinary. camp is a place where kids can come to be known, accepted, encouraged, and loved.

     

8.) the chance to reconnect with even more campers from last summer. one of my favorite campers and i wore the same wolf shirt today (just with different colors). many things are awesome about this. first, this guy intentionally participated in wolf shirt wednesday. second, walmart makes the same shirt with different background colors. third, we both must have specifically chosen our shirts for the same reason: wolves and american flags. perfect for the fourth of july on a wednesday!

9.) i had the privilege of being at the most wonderful devotion last night. i read from the devo binder and from my bible, but it was totally God leading it. we talked about love, and how love shows itself. we read 1 corinthians 13, and then translated it into our own, real-life version (ie: love waits in line without complaining; love stands up for people, especially those who can’t stand up for themselves). and the kids really seemed to understand and get it. there was no way it was because of the words i was saying, cause i was stumbling all over the place. but that made it just that much cooler, because it was so obviously God.

we talked about how important it is to encourage each other, and how we can still love each other even though we’re friends (and not boyfriend and girlfriend). i told them about the three kinds of love mentioned in the bible: ἔρως, or eros, which is romantic love; φιλία, or philia, which refers to friendship and affectionate love; and ἀγάπη, or agape, which is the only word that can communicate the perfect, pure love that God has for His children.

we talked about how the best example of love was Jesus; how His death on the cross for us (even while we were still stuck in our sin) was purely motivated by love, and how we’re supposed to mimic that kind of love towards others.

my favorite quote of the night: “this is really cool stuff. can we talk about it more?”

it was such a wonderful reminder of how beautiful the love of Christ is to people when they actually hear about it. when they understand why Jesus died, why wouldn’t they want to know more? it’s also an affirmation of something i firmly believe: God works in the hearts of His youngest children. even though we’re just in the brave unit, these guys can get it when God opens their eyes.

why would i not want to be working in a place like this?

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week four: connections.

i brought a friend with me this summer. his name is felix. he likes long walks on the beach, the color blue, and (when he’s not trying to cut back) a fresh, homemade chocolate chip cookie. he’s a cookie monster stuffed animal. and he’s quite popular with the brave boys. they ask him to come to activities and meals with us, and i think he’ll be joining us for devotions sometime this week.

that’s just one of the reasons i love camp. there’s not a whole lot of other places where this wouldn’t be considered that out of the ordinary.

this past weekend was a wonderful time to relax and recuperate. bec, mom, dad, and i met at camp and visited becca’s cabin, then headed to mom and dad’s hotel. the first few hours of our weekend were spet getting a new pair of glasses because of my pink eye, and although it wasn’t exactly what i had been hoping for, it is definitely nice to have an updated pair of glasses. the rest of our time was spent catching up and resting. it was awesome to see them again, and it was so great to get some time to just do nothing. i need to do nothing more often, i think.

this week is another amazing group. hugo and i were talking about how we were worried that since this past week the kids were so great, any other group might seem like i step down behavior wise. but we were both caught off guard by how sweet and respectful these guys are. i mean, this cabin more than any other this summer is so excited to be at camp. many kids this week are kids who are sponsored by other people. in fact, camp is hosting a massive project to see if we can sponsor 441 kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to come. many of them are here this week, and they are always the sweetest. i got to see some of my kids from last summer this week as well, and they’re all just so pumped! i love seeing the impact that one week out of the summer can have on a child.

it’s only monday, and God has been providing some really cool ways to connect with my campers already. it’s been such a blessing. one of them is in my show choir clinic (in which i’m assisting katie sink! what whaaaat!!) and while we were doing a couple of improv games, he hit the ground pretty hard. we went to the nurses’ station to get some ice, and while we waited, we played cards. it was during third clinic, so it was just the two of us and the nurses, and we had a blast. he’s such a great kid, and it was great to connect with him. i’m excited that it’s only monday!

later today, we went on a mud hike. one of our guys forgot the right shoes, so i walked all the way back down to the river with him. at first i was a little frustrated, but i could see that he was too, and originally he thought he wouldn’t be able to do the mud hike. it was just us on the walk down to river, and we just talked and got to know each other a little bit. it was awesome, and completely unexpected. and it’s only monday!

now i’m just hanging out with bobby and liz, watching a movie before heading back. it’s been a relaxing night, and i’m ready for tomorrow! bring on tuesday!

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