I must have really been on a high at the end of Quest because I didn't mention my personal tragedy yesterday - I was so excited to be back at the helm of the baptism station after a three-year hiatus that I walked out into the lake with my brand-new Nokia 5310 cell phone in my pocket. ...Let's just say I am in mourning. So if you've been trying to text / call me in the last twenty-four hours, you're not going to hear back from me (that goes for today, too).
Last night, worship ended with communion just in time for DHC staff Paul and Kara (a former Week One JC) to inform us it was time to run down to the camp center storm shelter. The run from the dining hall to camp center was awe-inspiring but creepy. Deep black clouds like silky fabric bunched and pulled taught at the top of a dress and then billowing out in all directions. Unique, twisting bedsheets rising and diving in every direction. The whole scene was too dark to capture by camera, and Kristen made me go inside before I could video tape it. At any rate, we were stuck inside until 10:45pm, but we grabbed our snack of root beer floats, played some group games, and the time passed by quickly.
Every other night, the junior counselors (JCs) or the senior counselors (SCs) get together for their "night out," basically an extra hour or two to relax with games, continue planning and discussing camp, or doing other activities. Last night was SC night out, and we took the time to affirm one another. The number one message the deans convey to counselors is that camp is about the campers, and the opportunity to affirm one another as SCs is so rare, I'm glad we took advantage of the time window.
Our remaining staff of seven (we affirmed Kent on Tuesday before he had to leave) went around the circle with amazing, honest thoughts on how each of us has touched one another. Our staff is such a unique mix. Kristen and I have been SCs together for eight years. Robert was the Dean when I was a JC. Eric was Maggie and Emily's SC when they were campers and now they're SCs together. Abbi conducts herself like she's been at camp for years, not just this - her first year. To hear everyone pour out such genuine emotion was powerful, and I'm going to say that for me, without a small group while in my Dean role, I was reminded that the SCs are MY small group - and we had an amazing time.
This morning, however, I woke to a flooded cabin. The toilet in Spear sprung a leak at the water pipe pushing water onto the landing and into my bedroom (but not the campers - what happened to campers first?!). I drove Ben J., Dylan J., and Jacob B. on a little adventure across camp to the staff shower house - old school, curtain-separated stalls - so we could get clean. Unfortunately for the boys, curtains aren't soundproof and they got to hear every noise I made as a result of using my Neti Pot. Ew!
But let's move to something more pleasant - the theme of the day, "L.Y.F.E." - Live Your Faith Everyday. Small groups are spread throughout camp right now sharing, laughing, crying, hugging, praying, and trusting. I know one question each small group is facing this morning is "What is your plan?" How will they take the feeling camp gives them and live their faith at home everyday to the fullest? What will it take and what will hinder them? How will they get back on the right path when they stray (just like anyone)?
The best thing you can do upon your youth's return, dear reader, is to be a part of their plan. It's easy to point out when someone strays off their path - that's not what they need. They need you to do something harder - they need your patience, acceptance, non-judgment, and forgiveness. Those models of behavior will help them return to the right path quicker and more invested than disappointment and ridicule. In that question, "What is your plan?" we're also asking Who is your back-at-home peer in your plan? Who is your camp friend in your plan? Who is the adult in your plan? For some, the adult may be me, but for each camper, I hope an adult in their plan is you.
Today sees the end of the volleyball tournament, the variety show, one final worship service, a 'goodbye' to seniors at campfire, and a few thousand memories packed into just a few brief hours.
Leading up to camp, I've often said how it sneaked up on me. That was nothing compared to where I am now. Camp is almost over. And wow, did that sneak up on me!