Thursday, August 4, 2016

Summer Camp

Last week I went to church camp for the first time.

I volunteered to be a camp counselor for our church’s youth group during senior high week.

We’ve gone to the same church for fifteen years, and I always knew that the teens there went to church camp each summer, but it wasn’t until my kids were old enough for youth group (and I had been roped in signed up to be a youth leader) that I realized HEY! I can go, too!

As you know, I’m not much of a camper. My top ten dislikes involve everything that camping stands for:

  1. Camping
  2. Campfires
  3. Camp chairs
  4. Cooking over a fire
  5. Bugs and other wild animals
  6. Sweating
  7. Being dirty
  8. The woods
  9. Outdoors
  10. Being outside

My top ten likes? Oh, very well:

  1. Climate control
  2. Not being sweaty
  3. Feeling clean
  4. Real beds
  5. Non-folding furniture
  6. Walking around, knowing that you won’t step in poop, or on something that’s already dead, or squish something that is living
  7. Babies
  8. Red Vines
  9. Indoors
  10. Being inside

Because of this very established set of dislikes that was set pretty early in life, I haven’t camped very much. As a kid I went to sleep away camp for a night or two here and there, but not a whole week.

Anyway, the time was right and I offered to go based on my qualifications of 1) being an adult, 2) having the required clearances to work with students, and 3) already being a youth leader anyway to join the ranks of camp counselors for our church, but only if they needed me. I didn’t want to take the place of someone who was chomping at the bit to go along to camp. And guess what?

They needed me.

To tell the truth I was sort of excited about going to camp because although I’m not much of a risk taker, I was curious about this whole camp thing. After all, the literal dozens of people who love camping can’t all be insane. Plus, I knew this camp included things like “hotel” and “beach”, so it wasn’t really a stretch to envision myself staying there for a week. I packed my bags and beach chair, and away we went.

And it was pretty amazing. Awesome, even. Like, on the last day I found myself thinking, eh, I wouldn’t hate it if we had to stay another couple days.

Did it help that there were other adult friends around to talk to and share with? Yes. Did it help that the kids who surrounded us were awesome and fun and funny and friendly and open and generally great people? Yes. Did it help that we slept in a hotel-like building with air conditioning and that we ate hot meals at a table each day with real silverware and there was indoor plumbing and hello, the beach, too?


There were so many other reasons why this particular week at camp was so great, such as watching relationships among teens I know and love bond and gain strength, laughing so hard I nearly peed in my pants while avoiding getting beaned in the head during a seriously aggressive dodgeball tournament, and hearing speakers talk about God and faith and love, and even listening to some pretty great Christian music (even though I’m not much of a fan in general).

And this, nearly every night:

It only took thirty years, but I finally made it to summer camp.

It was worth the wait.


This post inspired by:

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop

Prompt #2: Show us a summer sunset!


  1. That is SO fantastic! I remember being a youth leader when my girls were in youth group. It was one of the best times of my life. We took some long trips with those kids, and I wouldn't have changed it for the world. Now, I didn't go camping with them, but I would have if necessary. I'm probably more towards your Like list like you. HA! I'm so glad you went with the kids, and it sounds like you were definitely blessed by the experience. My post with Kat is a sunset one, too! =)

    1. It was definitely a blessing, like most things I've done with our youth group. We are often called to "make memories" for the kids; little did I know that the memories made would also be mine. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. LOVE your voice. So glad you enjoyed your camping experience. Sounds like a great time and connected with something new! Stopping by from Mama Kat's...

    1. So glad you stopped by - thank you! It's always a pleasant surprise when something new becomes something well-loved. That's never a guarantee. :)

  3. I'm so proud of you!! I actually do love camping, but I would never want to be a camp counselor. You have to be way too responsible for that sort of thing.

    1. The responsibility was real. I had 11 girls to keep track of. I spent a lot of time counting heads at meals, at chapel, at the beach, at bedtime. Thank goodness they liked being around me and weren't interested in running off or hiding to get out of camp events.