Hello again, friends! Welcome back to the blog! By the time you all are reading this, I’ll have just come back from another weekend at Camp! Being at Camp got me thinking about something I really miss and value about when we all gather there together- the culture of Camp and the pure joy that just radiates from everyone.
The Teen Retreat was just a couple of weeks ago, and like I said before, it was a BLAST. It was so good to see everyone and know that we were all at the safest place on the planet besides our homes.
Of course, the property itself is beautiful and sparks tons of memories from the summer- but it’s totally not the same without all of you there!
There’s a reason why Camp is always such a breath of fresh air- a reprieve from the chaos of the world. Because we know that we’re safe- inhibitions are more easily let go, we have more fun, and we’re able to see God in dazzlingly clear ways.
There is, of course, a very high level of intentionality that goes into making Camp the amazing place that it is- part of that is evident in the values page on the website. There are 10 different values that Camp prioritizes in order to make it the place that we all know and love- let’s talk about them! Safety is the first value listed, but you’ll find that all the values tie back into Safety one way or another, so we’ll talk about that one last!
The first two I want to talk about are Diversity and Food! One of the things that INSTANTLY hooked me as a 9 y/o camper was the fact that I could be myself without a care in the world- and for some reason that was okay. People respect each other at Camp, and I genuinely think that’s something that’s hard to come by. Feeling respected and seen is actually another value of Camp that ties right into that, and helps everyone to feel safe and included. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who can tangibly feel the fact that no matter who they are, what they look like, or what they like to do for fun, they are safe and welcome at Camp! And honestly, there’s diversity in the AMAZING food as well! Whether it’s a potjie pot, or classic chicken nuggets with mac and cheese, the food is so good and easy to bond over. In the Bible it talks about how the disciples broke bread and fellowshipped together, and I’m always reminded of that during mealtimes at Camp!
Another value, and one of only THREE rules at Camp is having FUN! There are so many amazing things about Camp, but the fact remains that a lot of kids might not want to come if it wasn’t fun. Even I’ll never forget the first year we installed the slip and slide- I had bruises all over my legs because I refused to do anything but dive down the slide, but it was SO much fun! It’s part of what makes Camp so memorable.
The next two values are Leadership and Roles! If not for the strong leadership and a clear understanding of the roles we have, Camp would fall apart pretty quickly. Mr. Jeff sets clear and easy to understand expectations at the beginning of each week, so everyone knows exactly what they should and shouldn’t be doing- those expectations are enforced in order to make sure Camp doesn’t get chaotic or spin out of control. It also takes a clear understanding of your role at Camp to keep the rules in place- Counselors have a different job than the campers, and campers have a different job from the workers, who have a different job from the nurse, and so on. It keeps order and flow about things. :) Every part is important, and the Bible talks about that as well! 1 Corinthians 12 talk about how each part of the body is fully necessary in order for it to function properly.
By passing knowledge of our roles to the people who are younger than us/newer to Camp than us, we’re also setting ourselves up for longevity. Investment, another Camp value, is all about preserving Camp and making sure our kids will be able to come to Camp one day.
The last two values are Spirituality and YHWH. A lot of kids, including me, were able to pursue a relationship with God because of the things we learned at Camp. Of course, there are always other external factors, but there’s something about the way God seems to meet people right where they are at Camp. God is made to be real, and not just something we hear about in Sunday School.
Like I said before, all of these can be boiled back down to safety. Kids who don’t feel safe or feel seen can’t have fun- and they certainly wouldn’t feel confident enough to seek a relationship with God.
I am so grateful to God for giving us such an amazing space, and to everyone who gives to Camp and helps to keep that carefully crafted culture intact- and we can’t wait to see you all again!
Speaking of seeing everyone again- the Middle School Retreat is just a couple of weeks away now!! It starts on October 15th and goes all weekend! Make sure to sign up while you still can, you can use this link right here!
Well, friends, that’s gonna be all from me this week! Thank you so much for taking time to read the blog! As usual, I’ll be praying for each of you to have a safe and encouraging week!