Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Two Weeks of Sweat and Blessings

The third week of June my three kids and I packed up half the house and headed to Grand Lake Baptist Assembly in Grove, OK, for a week of Children's Camp. I was going as the girls' sponsor and while Abby was technically too old and Kady was technically too young, Sam was just the right age (this was his last year at Children's Camp, though). My nephew, TotTwo, also went that week. Given my pops' recent health problems I didn't want to burden Mom and Pops with taking care of two extra kids for the week, so Kady went as a "junior camper" and Abby went as a "junior sponsor". We all loaded up my van to nearly bursting and left Paul here to hold down the fort.

All together, including sponsor's kids, we had 11 girls and six boys. Some were from our church, some were from the church whose cabin we were using. The girl's dorm was positively brimming over with estrogen and drama, but what a wonderful group of girls they were! As it has always been, I was the cabin hair stylist, spending a good chunk of every day braiding, French braiding or fishbone braiding someone's hair. I also spent a good deal of time hollering the words "SHUT THE DOOR!" Our pastor, Jerry, and his wife, Nickie, and Melissa, another female sponsor, said it, too, just not with the same volume I did. I definitely had the best lungs in the group. The girls called me Camp Nazi. I took it as a term of endearment whether they meant it that way or not.

There is something positively awe-inspiring in an open-air Tabernacle full of boys and girls singing and clapping and praising God. No matter how many times I go to camp, I will never get over that. Three girls in our cabin accepted Salvation that week. Hallelujah! There was only one truly miserable evening in the Tabernacle when the wind decided to not blow, but the rest of the week was hot, but not too hot. The band was a string trio and the pastor was Royce Railey, a professional bass fisherman who really knew how to get the kids' attention.

Thursday night was the last night in camp and the boys had teased the girls all day about "prank night", so when it came time for bed the girls asked if we could push a bed in front of the door to ensure our safety from all pranky-ness. I had no problem with that at all. I do not enjoy pranks, doing them or being the subject of them. The door securely barricaded, I hollered for lights out and told the girls to get quiet, but they had a problem with the fact that there was SO. MUCH. NOISE. coming from the boys dorm. Considering Jerry and I hadn't really discussed enforcement of lights out or noise reduction that final night I figured well, he's the pastor and followed his lead. I then told the girls I was tired and was going to sleep and as long as they stayed in our dorm and kept the noise to a minimum they didn't have to sleep. They were giggling and talking and bouncing and giggling and giggling and giggling and I was just about to doze off when we heard WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM on the front door of the cabin.

All motion and noise stopped instantaneously. Then again WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM on the door. Immediately girls who were not in their own beds dove for their own in the dark. All I could hear was heavy breathing. I also didn't move because, hey, I was tired and snuggled in. I figured Jerry would answer the door seeing how he's a man and all. Then again with the banging, only seemingly louder this time. The girls started stage whispering "Kristin! Do you hear that?" Well, DUH, girls. I said, "I do, but I'm letting Jerry deal with it. If it's security, he'll smooth it over with them." Quiet reigned once more.

WHAM WHAM WHAMWHAMWHAMWHAMWHAM!!!!!!!

I was more than perturbed at Jerry for not handling the situation and wasn't at all excited about greeting a security guard at church camp with no bra on, but with the whamming still continuing I didn't have time for a support garment. I had one of the girls help me move the bed blocking the door and out I stomped to the commons area. I flipped on the inside and porch light to see not a security guard, but OUR PASTOR.

No wonder the boys had been so noisy on their side! They were un-chaperoned!

I unlocked the door and opened it to the greeting of  "WOMAN! YOU LOCKED ME OUT OF OUR CABIN!"

We both got completely tickled as I told him how he had scared our poor girls nearly to death and how I had begun doubting his chaperoning skills as the noise from the boys dorm grew louder and rowdier as time went on. Ahhh....communication.

We left camp around 9 that Friday morning and took the kids to McDonald's for breakfast. We were bordering on Duggar status escorting that many kids into a fast food restaurant. The boisterousness from the night before had all but dissipated and they ate in relative silence and we adults were thankful for that.

The kids and I got home and dumped all camp laundry into the living floor, divided it into 15 loads and then I started running them all through the shower so they could scrub off a week's worth of dust, grime, goo and sweat without having to wear shower shoes. There is nothing quite like that first post-camp shower.  By 5pm I had all but the sheets washed and re-packed because Abby, Sam and I were heading back to camp on Monday for Youth Camp. Kady stayed with Mom and Pops that next week because that first week had just worn her little junior camper self out. Also, knowing the temperatures were forecast to be in the 100's by mid-week, I figured she needed to stay where there was ample air condidtioning.

Monday afternoon we headed back to the cabin and greeted the other sponsors doing a second week with a hearty "WELCOME HOME!" This time we had three boys and five girls in our cabin, some ours, some the other church's- considerably a smaller group than the week before. We were okay with that.

Praise and Worship at Youth Camp is also an even more awe-inspiring event because those youth just get all kinds of crazy with the worship. It thrills my heart to see them abandon "cool-ness" to praise their God holding nothing back. The band was Ryland Russel and his band. A-MAZE-ING group of guys who just knew how to play what the kids (and sponsors) needed in order to worship God. The camp pastor was Eric Hovind, aka Dr. Dino, with Creation Science Evangelism. His mission is to prove God and Creationism and disprove evolution. It was enlightening to say the least. There were times I thought my brain was going the explode from all the information he presented.

One girls accepted Salvation and I am so proud and joyous to say that it was my darling niece, TotOne! Talk about a happy family last week!

The temps soared and kids were sunburned, tired and very, very dirty. Recreation involved blood, sweat and tears and that camp nurse was kept hopping. Most of our kids just hit the pool and tried to stay cool there. It was simply an amazing week. Exhausting....but amazing.

I am so thankful for where I am in life and that I am blessed with the time and ability to take two weeks and go to camp with these kids. They are the future of our churches and they have so much to offer. I get my socks just blessed right off when I'm around them. They are hungry to learn, but also teach me in the process. I am so excited at where our little church is headed and how it is growing! God is so good and loves us so much it's just ..... well, it's just awesome.

1 comment:

Jill of All Trades said...

Oh gosh I was church camp counselor ONE time and once was truly enough for me. There was a few hundred Senior High kids and the last night they were running amok throughout the entire camp ALL NIGHT long. I just knew that nine months later there could have been a surprise for some girl or even someone snake bit from running in the woods in the dark...made me NUTS. I never wanted that responsibility again.