First off – who knew a monkey riding a motorcycle would cause such a stir?!?! This humble little blog doesn’t generate much traffic beyond friends and family who keep up with us but yesterday…Oh. My. Word!! I kept checking the blog stats just because it was quite the phenomenon to see that line of the stats graph get taller and steeper practically by the minute!
Okay, moving on.
Every summer for the last six years (’02-’07, except ’05 for me), we have travelled up to Pennsylvania to work at a summer Bible camp for kids. We generally leave Nashville on a Thursday morning and return the next, next Sunday – eleven days later. Right now it takes two days to get up there since our children are young and restless and have such short attention spans. For our sanity, we drive 6-7 hours each day, someday we’ll be able to drive it all in one day! The reason we go to this camp is because it’s such a special place for both me and David. The poem I posted a couple weeks ago was inspired by this camp. We have some really good friendships with the people who come each year to staff the Senior High 2 week (campers that week are just graduated Seniors and rising Seniors). David was a camper in his youth (he went for at least 8 summers, maybe more). I went as a camper my last two years of high school.
A couple notes about the driving trip itself: On the way up we stopped in Christiansburg/Blacksburg, VA. At my request, we went to Virginia Tech’s campus because I wanted to see the memorials, etc from April’s tragic event. (There’s a He Said/She Said coming about this, I think it’ll be really good.) We ate dinner and hung out with Tanya and Jonathan and their crew. Day two always includes a slight detour onto 66 East to have lunch at The Apple House and purchase the best sparkling cider…well, ever! On the way up, our children were near perfect angels with minimal whining and complaining. On the way back, I was ready to “sell ’em to the gypsies”! But to be fair to them, David and I were so weary and tired, as well, that we simply didn’t have the energy or brainpower to adequately distract/entertain them!
About being at camp: It’s not a vacation because we’re there to work and we’re there for the campers, not for us. This year, instead of being a counselor, David was a Bible teacher and I worked in crafts for the second year in a row (which I enjoy!) In addition to your main role, all staffers have secondary jobs to do. For instance I also did cabin inspections and helped set up for the end of week “banquet” and David had some devotional speaking assignments and dining hall moping duty one night. The schedule is brutal. They get the campers up at 7 am (of course many of the girls are up way earlier for their required primping!) And they keep them up until past 11 pm. Of course, not being counselors, we didn’t have to adhere exactly to this schedule but there are many, many activities that all or some of us are involved in each day.
It is a “vacation” in that we are somewhere we love to be and with people we enjoy being around. For me, I get several days of not having to plan, cook or clean up each meal! Our accommodations are quite pleasant, too. It’s a “cabin” (1/2 of a single wide trailer built to resemble a cabin), but it’s a nicer, newer “cabin” with our own bathroom facilities, kitchenette and most importantly…air conditioning!! We do have to sleep in bunks on not so comfy mattresses but no complaints when it’s free and air-conditioned!
Camp is one of those special places that you really can’t describe to anyone. It has little to do with the location or facilities or the really good food, it’s more about the people and what happens each week. It’s about impacting lives and spending time in worship and fellowship. It’s about creating relationships and sustaining them over time. (For example, our son is named after a man we met at camp who was quite influential in our lives.)
So, we’re home again after our yearly camp excursion. We’re worn out and road weary and trying to settle back into our normal routine. But we are also blessed and humbled to have been apart of a very special week at our home…away from home.