Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Summer Camp

I was ready to skip summer camp this year.  I told my kids we probably weren't going because I hadn't booked our flights soon enough and the prices were too high and I wasn't going to drive to Ohio by myself with no other adult to help me drive.  Plus, it was so close after our California trip I was exhausted thinking about going away again.  They took it pretty well, but I still felt bad.  Even though they were acting like it was no big deal, I knew that they would have a great time if they went and I really wanted them to have the camp experience.  It would be the first year for my boy to go and it would be the last year for my girl to be a junior camper (next year she'll be considered a senior camper and they get to stay up later).  

As I am finally learning though, my plans aren't really my own, and God had other plans.  My mom decided to go to Ohio and offered to help me drive.  The camp director contacted me and let me know how much they wanted us there.  My mother in law had planned a day for us at Kings Island the day after camp ended and I didn't want to disappoint her by cancelling our trip.  So, to make a long story short, we went.  And I'm so glad we did.

Camp week is such a blessing.  I went as a counselor and I got to be with my bestie in the cabin with the oldest girls.  They were mostly Juniors and Seniors in high school or they had just graduated.  I had so much fun getting to know those girls.  I haven't really worked with older kids much seeing as my oldest is just 12, but they are awesome.  I loved it!  I hope I get the opportunity to do it again sometime. I feel like I was able to have some great conversations about real, meaningful things and they were so receptive to what I had to say.  

It was fun being able to see my kids having a great time too, but since I wasn't assigned to their age group I could kinda watch from afar unless they wanted to come find me.  My boy did come for hugs every day and to tell me all about whatever injustices he felt he was experiencing.  He didn't love every minute of camp, but there were a couple of older boys there who really made all the difference in his week.  One thing I love about our old church is the way the older kids look out for the younger ones and include them in things.  The ages really mix well and it doesn't feel like a high school vs middle school vs elementary mentality.  It is a wonderful thing to witness.  One highschooler saw my boy hanging out alone at free time and took him over to the game room and played with him and then took him to Candyland and bought him a ring pop.  To hear my boy tell it, it was like he won the lottery.  Another cool thing they do at camp is pair up the junior campers with a senior buddy.  They go to the little carnival that they put on together and that's usually the extent of it.  My boy's buddy totally went out of his way to hang out with him other times as well though.  It was so sweet and my son just thought this kid was the coolest, funniest person ever.  Those two boys seriously made his week and for that I am so thankful.  I'm glad he now has some nice, godly young men to look up to.  Now we just need to cultivate some relationships like that at our church in Florida.  My boy is going to student group this fall so I'm hoping that will help.  

My girl had fun too, she didn't really come see me too much though.  She was busy with her friends.  I missed getting to be with her age group in that sense because I feel like I really don't know what she did all week and didn't really get to know her new friends, but that's okay.  I know she likes not having her mom hovering around all the time.  I totally get that and I respect it.  

I was the camp photographer for the week so I had like thousands of photos to cull through.  I tried to just pull out some favorites of my kids and some of their friends.  Here is a super condensed photo version of our week!

Neither of my kids do the blob, but it's fun to watch.  That's the outside and inside of the lodge where the girls stay.  It's broken up into 'cabins' on the inside. 
Everyone passed the swim test and got to go in the deep end of the lake.  Whew!  They were so worried about this before camp!
One of the boys' cabins in the top pic.  The bottom is the lodge where some of the lucky few men get to stay and where the devotions for the counselors were held each morning before breakfast. 
You have to make quite a hike up the hill (I forgot how hilly Ohio is!) to get to the ropes course and the climbing wall.  I miss walking in the forest, it's so calming.
My boy did the wall but not the zip line.  My girl did both.  I think next year she will try to conquer the hard side of the wall.  That's one of her friends on it.
At the craft area.  The sight of my former near death experience.  They rebuilt it and it's much sturdier and more permanent now.
I love watching the kids do the giant slip and slide.  Dave always tortures the kids by spraying them.  My boy decided he didn't want to do it because he didn't want to hike up and down the hill to change into his swim trunks.  Oh well, that was the afternoon he hung out with the high school boy. 
All the juniors were just hanging out and watching while the seniors did the Steeplechase relay race.
My girl and her friends dressed up as Moses on Mt. Sinai for costume night.  That's my boy and his senior buddy playing foosball. 
The carnival prize table.  My boy won the most expensive prize, a remote control truck. That's my girl with her senior buddy.
The juniors do 'Anything Goes', a bunch of relay races.  They are so competitive and it's so fun to watch.
Love the reflection in the lake in this shot!
They ended with tug of war.  I love their faces in these pics!
Capture the flag.
All the junior campers together at the fire pit for a class.  I didn't get a pic of just the seniors. 
Proof I was there too!  And I am short, but I'm not that short...I think I was standing a step down from everyone else or something!  That's my cabin of girls on the top left.

I'm so, so glad we went to camp this year!  I hope we can go again next year.  In a way I'm kinda glad that our new church doesn't do a traditional camp or we'd be forced to choose between the two.

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