Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Wouldn't Be Summer Without a Week at Camp

Today Chris and I finished his summer camp shopping, rounding out his wardrobe to include a couple more pairs of shorts, a new pair of swim trunks, a few toiletry neccesities and of course a couple of cans of silly string!  His overwhelming enthusiasm for time to move faster burst out during the ride home. He pleaded with time, "Please go faster!" as he sat staring straight into the digital display on our van's console.  Teen Camp is the last camp of the summer at Camp Hickory Hills so I understand his lack of patience.  He's already listened to his brother's camp stories which only fuel his excitement for his turn.   
Jeff and his cousin Jon with their Cabin at Senior Camp!

This week long summer camp experience has been in our family for several generations and I can get extremely nostalgic remembering my own weeks of summer camp.  I started when I was just 6 years old and spent two whole nights in a cabin filled with squeals and giggles, living the scenes from the Disney classic movie "The Parent Trap."  My summers of youth camp continued each and every summer for as many weeks as were available and well into adulthood.  At some point I just switched roles from camper to staff and continued until having kids of my own. 
Cousins at Camp - It's a family tradition!

Jeff and Chris both have spent at least a week at youth camp each and every year since they were 6. For both of them, it truly is the highlight of their summer. They come back sharing stories of new friends, practical jokes, catching crawfish in the creek and sliding down the plastic water slide.  I listen intently, reliving my own experiences through their stories.  I don't want to miss a single detail. When they pause for breath, I pose questions to stear our conversation towards the nightly chapel services, the cabin devotions and their classes. It can be hard to cheer from the sidelines knowing there isn't anything that quite compares to a hundred plus kids experiencing a mighty move of God's Spirit in their lives and in the lives of their friends. 

Tomorrow morning, after we swing through the ATM machine for trip money, we will pack our Chris with his sleeping bag, duffle bag, backpack, and pillow into the church bus. Somewhat resembling a can of sardines, he and his friends will make the three hour drive to Camp Hickory Hills.  Before they drive away, parents will gather around the bus and pray for traveling mercies, health and safety, and most importantly for their week to bring spiritual growth.  Church camp is life altering.  It's part of what shaped me and is now shaping my sons into Godly young men.  I am so thankful my boys have the opportunity to participate and look forward to next year when we can take our Tim to Big Shot Camp.  Big Shot is for the younger campers and their parents so next year I will be trying to coax time to move faster right alongside my boys! 

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