Last week I posted on Instagram about our church sending over 1,200 people to our junior high/high school youth camp in Glorietta, New Mexico. I’ve been wearing these prayer bracelets all week and tuning in at night to the “live stream” of worship and teaching going on and it has stirred my heart.
What you might not know about me, is I am a camp girl. I grew up attending a christian all girls summer camp for 12 years in the Texas Hill Country that shaped so much of who I am. It was a place of disconnect from the world, a place of friendship, learning to be a servant, learning to be a leader, having fun and growing spiritually. It fostered relationships I still have to this day. Every summer (except when I studied abroad) I worked as a counselor at Camp Mystic, and my last college summer, I worked in the office as a part of something called “big 3”. I have countless memories from my time at Mystic.
growing up, I loved spending a week of my summer at cheer camp, sometimes basketball camp, and always youth camp. our youth group went to a different centrifuge camp every summer – so I got to expierece camp in Glorietta, Louisana, and even Disney World! the images are engrained in my mind. [I so wish there was Facebook back then, so I could easily find pictures…]
sophomore year in college came around and it was time to pick a major. I loved camp y’all, and it was something I dreamed of doing full time. so I majored in “recreation and leisure services”. Camp. as in my friends all made fun of me saying “how was your dodgeball class?” really, they were just jealous that I actually did “get” to play basketball, soccer and softball for one of my classes. no but for real, quite possibly my favorite class in all of college was with my bestie Brynn taught by the late but great Burney – Camp Counseling. Imagine 2-3 athletes from every major sport at our university and two sorority blondes. yes. I made a 101 in that class. [we did do skits for grades…]
I digress. in order to graudate, I had to do a semester long internship. for whatever reason [only a god thing], I chose to apply for a job at Hume Lake Christian Camps in California. I didn’t know a soul there. I was one of two people on the entire camp staff from the south. my nickname might have been Dixie. that summer was one of the best of my life. I can still remember gathering on the steps that first day with our summer counseling staff team, knowing that we would soon become family. I vividly recall packing my bags Sunday morning before church + lunch knowing full well during our SCS weekly meeting, I could be packing up for the week to head to one of the camps to step in as a counselor. I remember somehow by the goodness of God one week, being chosen to go to San Diego for two weeks to help launch the first ever Hume: SD. and then sitting in a meeting with our recreation guy, informing him gently that recreation was indeed my college major and why I was at Hume. I quickly became his sidekick, right hand gal, and had the privilege of running recreation next to the famous Mingo for two weeks. alongside this crazy crew.
we became family. I have more than 100 memories with these people, and although I haven’t seen them since the summer after this epic summer, they are family. just like my Mystic family, and just like my Op Camp family [that’s for a whole other post].
we sweated together, we prayed together, we worship together, we sat at the back of the autotorium during teaching and prayed for students together, we had crazy dance parties and had fun “testing out” all the recreation games together, we had days off going to see movies and wondering walmart together. we served together. there is a bond there that I can’t quite explain or put into words.
I love camp. and as I sat up late this week looking at old pictures, and reminiscing over old memories, tears streamed down my face. this thing, this camp thing, it has been a huge part of my life. and now i’m in a season where it isn’t, and
part a lot of me gets really sad about that. but as this was going on in my heart one night, I heard a whimpery cry coming from the kids room, and as I walked into see my sweet Camp sitting up in his crib calling my name, I know that HE is the Camp in my life right now. He is what God had in store for me, and this is all why his name is Camp. I didn’t give up on my camp dreams, but I saw what kind of Camp God had in store for this season. knowing full well, my season for the other camp could come back into my life at any point.
I love Camp, do you?