June 2008 Archives

June 27, 2008

Searching for God knows what

The dean of my camp this week has given me until dinner off. Two things...first is that this is very nice, second is that I miss my campers. This week I am working with Elem. Sports Camp. I have to admit that at the beginning of the week I didn't feel like helping with this camp. Sports camps at Jumonville are typically run by the same people every year and the campers usually come back to the same camp each year until they become too old and advance to the higher age level of sports camps. (Last week I had Sr. High Sports and it was hard to cope with because the campers were almost my age and I was the only one from Jumonville's summer staff helping with it.)

I have to admit that because of that week, I thought that this week would be the same. Though my campers last week and I really started clicking together by Wednesday and we made some good connections, it was a late start and got me thinking about how well I will be at this position through out the rest of the summer. However, all of that's changed. By the end of last week my campers and I had made great relationships (we're even Facebook friends.) But this week, I'm back to the age group that I love most. Upper elementary. Good times.

I like this age group because these kids are still cute, they don't talk back, and they are just figuring out what sarcasm is and they try to use it as much as possible. I love my campers this week. I only have five girls total and seventeen boys. But at this age, the girls come for the sports not the boys, so it's an even mix. They are all so different in their own little ways, but I love them. They all are trying hard to do well in each sport and they come up with AMAZING ideas during Bible studies, it's very inspiring to see a child's faith and be able to witness to them and watch them grow throughout the week. I'm so blessed to have this "job." Even though at times I feel like we don't get paid enough, or we aren't getting enough sleep, or enough time off; each time I see a smile on a campers face because they accomplished something during the week, I forget all of that. All the struggles that the staff goes through and all the heartache that we put up with, and all the little things that pile up on us all week long are all worth it when it comes the a camper smiling or hugging you, or even that annoying tugging on to your arm, pulling you down slightly and not letting go thing, makes all that other stuff totally worth it.

It will be hard to let go of these ones tomorrow morning. It always is a bittersweet moment to have the campers leave. But today when I was walking towards the office, to start my "off time" that the dean gave me, four of my campers started to follow me. I turned around to see they were about five or so steps behind and saw Kayla, Jacob, Natalie and Jay, some of my favorites from this week. I told them that they had to stay with the rest of the group and I would be back soon, and I kept on walking. But I could hear them not paying attention to a thing I said and kept following and carrying on with conversation behind me, so I turned around again and told them that I was leaving for awhile but would be back later. (At this moment I felt like that part of the movie when the main character leaves their puppy in the woods and starts to walk away.) They all just looked at me like they were lost and didn't know what to do, but I turned back around and kept heading to the office. Then Kayla; probably the cutest one we have this week, the one that is going into fifth grade but is about the size of a second grader, the smallest but the only one that made it to the top of the pool climbing wall, cried out, don't you love us anymore? My heart melted.

June 16, 2008

And give us clean hands...

So last week was my first week with campers. It was honestly the most amazing experience ever. I love the age group (elem.) and my campers from that week are really being missed. It was an beginning adventure camp so we did a lot of exciting things on and off the campus and really were able to grow together as a group. It was truely amazing learning from such a young crowd, but through them I find myself maturing. They were a great way to really start off the summer.

Now I am working the Senior High Sports camp. It is SOOOOO MUCH different. This group is taking some time to get used to and is much harder to work with than I expected. I thought that since we are so close in age that I'd be able to relate to them better, but it is hard to believe what a year of college has turned me in to. (Well a year of college and a month of being here, has turned me in to.) I'm in Washington Lodge this week, which is really nice with the AC and the queen sized bed for the counselor :) But the downfall of that is that I only have four girls in my room so they are the only ones I can really get to know. But the four of them are great girls...clearly high school aged, but great girls.

I love the relationships that are still growing through the staff and what great friends I have made and continue to grow with, even though we are not always assigned to the same camps or even the same areas. It is incredible what you can do with 24 hrs off on the weekend though, and I truely love my staffers.

June 7, 2008

The beginning of chaos and fun

Training just offically ended. For our last activity for training we had to facalitate groups through the low ropes course. My group was the youngest (6-8) which at the low ropes course people asume is the easiest group to work with, when really most people stray away from this group and use older kids because they are actually able to do the activities properly. Anyway, it was difficult because these kids are from a group that works with children that have lost a loved one and are in the grieving process, so they are not my campers and it was hard to really understand who these kids were from just knowing them for a short time. However, I feel that for such a young age we got through VERY well and they exceeded my expectations, so over all it was a great morning.

God is pretty awesome up here. So much spiritually is going on with each of our staff members and I cannot wait until tomorrow when campers come and we are able to share all of that love and grace with them so they can feel the same way about God. We have been using a great curriculum that focuses on some of the harder parables that Jesus told and gives us a lot of freedom to be able to disect each activity, or bible study or worship time to really get into the Word at every age level to make it understandable. It's a really great rescourse and I think that the kids will be able to get a lot out of it.

Jumonville has a tradition to do a camp wide worship service on ever Wednesday so that all the camps on site are able to have one big time to worship together, since the only time that all the camps are together is during meal times. So for this year the theme is focused around the whole bridegroom and Jesus idea so it's pretty intense. But I am so excited for it because as a camper Wednesday worship is what I really looked forward to, to see the staff get involved and God really move through everyone when everyone is together. (There are usually a lot of tears and random emotions with everyone there at these services.)

I'm really excited that this year since I'm on staff I can really be involved in this service. I will be doing a 10 minute long dance at the very beginning of worship. I am sooooooo excited to do it. I feel like though it's not all put together now, it will be great in time for Wednesday and that it will be a great way to get everyones attention right away. The song that the dance goes along with is so powerful. When the staff first heard it we all just sat there in awe and everyone had chills. I'm so glad that we'll be able to really bring the song alive even more with the dance too. I honestly cannot explain it, the song is just so powerful and I'm really privledged to get to open up worship with it each week. I really feel that I was leaving dance out of my life for awhile and that this will not only bring that back to me, but it will show the kids that there are a lot of other ways to use your gifts for God and to make it an offering for Him. I'm pretty pumped.

The first round of campers will be on their way by this time tomorrow and I cannot wait for them to arrive. My first camp is one of the many adventure camps that Jumonville holds through out the summer and is for 9-11 year olds. I'm really excited for the kids to get here so we can go on all the adventure courses here and make the fun trips to Ohiopyle, Coopers and Greenbrier. The week involves a lot of hiking, rock climbing, caving, canoes, and rafting along with all the other normal camping things like bible studies, worship, and cookouts, so it is sure to be a good week. Please keep the campers in your prayers that they all have a great time up here and that God is able to touch them in some way, through some activity while they are here. I'll keep you all posted on how it goes!