August 7, 2006

The stamp of camp

When I was 14, camp was the culmination of two things: a candy fundraiser of half-melted chocolates and gooey gummy worms and a summer of relative boredom. For me, camp held many things in store, including fast rides on the waterslide, a sweet tan on the beach, and a chance to try boating, as per the brochure. This time was no different.

Back then Camp Michindoh and my denomination, Open Bible made every slimy Hershey's bar I slapped into a customer's hand more than worthwhile and exceeded every expectation of summer fun and spiritual revival.

However, since my two trips Michindoh while I was in youth group, I had heard that church camp was going downhill with fewer campers and sad upkeep of the camp grounds. Sadly, before traveling this past week, I mentally prepared myself to reconcile my former memories of a bustling camp of noisy teens to a delapidated set of sheds inhabited by a few ghost children.

After pulling into the camp and seeing its intact and beautiful state under the now-stable new owners, I was uplifted; and hearing that 40 more campers than the previous year were enrolled was even better news.


When we arrived on Monday the temperature spiked 100 degrees and at night, on my top bunk, around 110. The rayon fabric was about unbearable, but after throwing it off and sleeping on a sheet, I was okay. Thankfully, that was the one hot night the whole trip, but the days were another story.


The next morning, I savored the first camp breakfast. Though camp food is always held right down there beside hospital and airplane fare, I am astonished at Camp Michindoh's quality for three meals a day all week. Needless to say, there weren't any calls home from Michindoh campers about going hungry.


The day at camp is structured around worship and ministry services, so after breakfast, a morning service is held with songs and then the group is split in two. One group went with my church's affiliate college: EBC, for improv, skit and testimonial time and the other learned about Master's Commission, a nine-month Peace Corps-like program.


After that service is lunch and then free time.

During my free time, I was doing this....

Flying down the waterslide.

And this...
Flying off the blob. Not shown in the picture is the pier--I jumped off one end, crawled across to the other side, and sat there with my legs bent. When Scott Radford, my church's youth leader jumped off the pier onto the blob, I was catapaulted. What a rush!

I also took part in an indoor volleyball game and a kickball game. Though I was on a winning team that swept the whole competition, I lost in kickball by two runs. Shucks. The camp PR team takes photos and videos of the entire camp experience, and captured me missing the kickball, my leg extended straight out and the ball underneath it. We got some laughs out of that one.

My church's boys got in trouble the third day of camp. They stayed out past the 12:30 curfew and were throwing waterballoons into girls' cabins. They were punished with kitchen duty. Here they are with their bus pans. For shame, gentlemen. :-)


On Wednesday night, storms rolled in and the waterslide wasn't open for our night period. Though I wanted another chance to beat all the church boys down the waterslide (which I did the following night), the showing of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was a great idea. How relaxing after a week of on-the-go action!

My favorite part of the week by far, however, was the last night of services. Everyone spent the entire week having a great time and getting plugged into what God is trying to say without distraction. The final night is a great time to just really listen and worship and that's what we did. We took communion and each counselor prayed over each camper and each camper over each counselor. As an adult, this meant a lot to me, but I can just imagine how special it was for the kids to be viewed as an individual and important to the church and to God.

Coming home is always a downer, but I think I brought home more than dirty tee-shirts and wet swimsuits--I brought back a renewed self in Christ. Time away from the madness of life and fun with friends is a great way to wind up the summer. And I went canoeing, climbed a big hill, swam in the algaefied lake and caught a glimpse of that embarrassing unmentionable...mission accomplished.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at August 7, 2006 10:06 AM | TrackBack

Sounds like you had a great time, Amanda.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at August 9, 2006 1:47 PM

I love the slide picture!!! That is my signature hand move!!

Posted by: stacy at August 9, 2006 5:47 PM

WOW, Amanda those pictures bring back so many memories.
All of us look so different now. When i saw these pics i laughed so hard! :p

Posted by: Megan at January 24, 2009 4:32 PM
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