sooooo yeahhhh - camp involved a lot of puke this year.
At least it wasn't mine! That's ALWAYS a good thing. Praise the Lord!!!
Anyways, before I jump in, I wanted to thank everyone for the sweet comments & messages about being away at an amazing opportunity to serve doing middle school church camp & away from the comfort of my home & leaving my hubby & doggies. Always tough for me.
When I got home, my email was so overwhelming, I may not have gotten back with most of you (& by most of you, I mean like 99% of you - & the other 1% was because of a question) - so I am back in routine this week & cant wait to read your blogs & comment away.
& a heads up, this is going to be long. I get it if you dont want to read it all... but I gotta document it for myself & memory sake. I'll sum it up if you dont want to read - IT WAS AWESOME... anyways, I think its worth reading ;)
So yeah - Camp started on Tuesday, but I ended up working & leaving from work to take care of some things & then headed up late.
But I am not going to start a youth event without my usual stop. STARBUCKS!!! Its tradition. Caffeine overload to handle middle school kids.
When I got up to camp, all the kids were in the first session & I tried to text our youth pastor & he couldnt find a cart to come get me... so I ended up starting my camp trip by dragging my luggage & sleeping back & pillow through the pouring rain. That's fun.
|Hiding under my car hatchback waiting for the rain to let up|
I went in to find my room & saw all the other girls had taken all the beds.... except the top bunk.....
Uh Oh!!!! I just planned on sleeping in my car. haha. This 45 year old girl wasn't going to climb up a ladder 10 times a night - I have a 45 year old bladder after all. I was rooming with 5 high school girls & 2 college girls so they have the ability to get up & down easier than me. & bless her heart, I had one sweet girl change beds so I could have a bottom bunk. I am forever in her debt.
I headed over to the worship center a little upset, feeling my age in the first 15 minutes of arriving but my feeling were instantly perked up when I walked in & I was swarmed with girls running to hug me & excited that I was there.
The first night was rainy so it limited our game time but it made for a good group time.... here's all our Indiana campus together in our "Family time"
The first night when we got back to our dorms, it was like ENERGY CENTRAL. The kids could care less about the time scheduled for "lights out" & even in my own room, full of teenage girls, no one wanted to settle in. I have to say, I so enjoyed spending time in the room with these girls. Listening to them & their stories & laughing & sharing with one another. I honestly love these sweet girls & am always impressed by them.
|Morning Meeting Time... all the girl leaders +1 - the girl on the far left is at another campus but we'd love to have her at ours|
But every morning started with a youth leader meeting right after breakfast... which I didnt go to, because you know..... the C-word. When you are at a camp with a few hundred kids, its going to be eaten at breakfast so my routine was to go over & get coffee & a banana before anyone came in to eat & before smells were drifting. I would come back & have some alone time to start the day while every one was away or one of the sweet college girls came back & sat with me & chatted until the meeting started. I had never really spent a lot of time with this particular young lady & she just won me over throughout the weekend (she's the same one who switched beds with me too)
After the meetings, we'd have a morning session with some morning games, some early morning worship & then a small lesson to get an idea on what the main event lesson was going to be on that night. & then we'd be sent to small group time with our individual groups... usually about 16 people each.
They are just THE BEST!! Honestly, the best group of girls a leader could have.
One day, they scheduled our MIX game during the free time & it was so much fun. It was super funny because NONE of the girls wanted to do it in my group. (Getting that 8th grade "too cool" factor happening) & I asked them if I did it, would they do it. They all were excited for that. In the end, they all came up to me & said they were so happy they did it & it was one of the most fun things they've done before.
Some times, people need that push to do things they'd otherwise not try..... #lifelessoninbubbles
How do you not love running through bubbles?
& Please note, we had to fight off a "Sweaty Getty" from stealing our snowman we had to build... & my scream totally made them run off. I'm proud.
A lot of free time was spent either in the pool, or the lake, & I even pulled out some cards & we'd just spend it on the front porch of our dorm & play some games & I'd brought my speaker & playing some christian music & sing along. It all just went by so fast & we had so much fun just having the funniest conversations.
It would be time to clean up, go to dinner & then back to the worship center for our Night Session - that was ALWAYS so powerful. So deep & meaningful. These were some GOOD TALKS. & the worship time was just so uplifting.
We'd close out the night with either another quick small group time... or one night, we had a worship session outside & did a prayer walk & ended it singing praises under the stars (one of my favorite things) & another night, we ended up having a Christmas scavenger hunt that ended with a Popsicle party in the middle of a field.
|Scavenger Hunt goodies|
This is camp... for sure! SO MUCH FUN!!!
The worst part of camp were the kids were just going down fast.... so many pukers! It started on day 1 with 2 boys that threw up... but they were both from another campus & their dorm was far away. We'd thought we'd be safe. We were wrong.
2 nights later, one of my girls looked at me in the middle of a session & said, "I GOTTA GO TO THE NURSE NOW"... & she just felt awful.
That same night, another girl in our dorm left too sick....& the day after that, another one of my girls left nauseated & feeling awful.
The doctor & nurse on staff there thought it was from dehydration. The kids werent drinking any water... & it was SO HOT. & plus, they are kids. They are running & running & running. So between no water & all the moving, they think dehydration & exhaustion was key.
I actually had 2 more girls that got sick but they both laid in the nurses room & slept for 2 hours & then woke up & drank & ate & they perked right back up & was able to stay. SO GLAD!!!
But the worst of it was the last night.... I got woken up at 2:30am with the news, "We have someone who threw up all over her room".... OH JESUS... HELP ME...
I ended up walking with her over to the nurse... again, at 2:30 am (MERCY) & bless our sweet little college girl's heart - she's studying to be a nurse so she was OK with the room & cleaned it up. THANK YOU LORD!!!!... I stayed with the girl & she said she was feeling better so we walked back to the dorm, ONLY for her to throw up 4 times on the walk. Nope - back to the nurses office. I was just trying to hold it together.... I dont do well with things like this.
We finally got back to the dorm about 3:30... only to be woken up AGAIN because they said she had been throwing up NON STOP for another hour & they had to call her mom so we needed to pack her up. Luckily, her small group leader went & got it all together. So you could say, that night was a bad night.
& while that was awful, there of course was AMAZING moments that made it all worth it - even through all of THAT yucky stuff.
The conversations that we had... the questions asked & the discussions that were struck up with debates, the relationships & friendships that were formed or strengthened.... It's just the best time. What camp is really all about.
& the last night... I get teary eyed thinking about it. It was just so special because we had the opportunity as leaders to go pray over every one of our kids in our small group.
Having a close relationship with a lot of these girls already, it was just so touching to be able to pray with them one on one asking for God to help them show them their talents that they can use to become Kingdom Workers.... & knowing some of these girls, I loved speaking into them the talents that I saw in them. It was just so moving.
My poor girls... they were all so emotional. I cant blame them being an emotional gal myself.... but I told them, "You have to stop crying - you're all already dehydrated" haha... it was just the best moment of the entire trip for me & I know for them too. I know they all walked out that final night feeling a renewed closeness to God.
But OF COURSE, the most ultimate part of church camp is when kids make the choice to follow Jesus through baptism. I think this just has to be the COOLEST WAY EVER to get baptized. In a lake, with your family there & surrounded by hundreds of people who are praying for you.
They had the decision time on Thursday night so parents could be called & told what was happening so they could make the trek up to camp the next evening. & there were even 2 kids that one had their grandpa come in the water with him & baptize his grandson (cue the tears) & one where a father baptized his daughter after just getting baptized himself months ago (cue the sobs on that one... it was so touching what he said before)...
We had 2 kids from our campus get baptized & it was just such an honor to watch & celebrate with them.
29 lives changed.... forever....
It was definitely an amazing time... exhausting & trying... but so worth it. I am so thrilled I went.
but when I left, I was sooooooo excited to see Ricky. I was so busy through the days that I probably talked to him maybe 10 minutes the entire 4 days I hadnt seen him....
so when he met me at Panera so I could get some really good decent food, when I saw his truck pull in, I started crying. Honestly. I'm a sap. I was just so excited to see him.
I never really got why the people on Survivor cried so hard when they saw loved ones after 30 days on an island... now I get it. I hadnt seen him for 4 days & was that emotional.
I was a sap when I got home & saw my fur babies.... I think they were equally happy to see me too.
& then the happiness continued when I got in my OWN SHOWER & could lay on my OWN BED.
There really is no place like home.
I thought I'd take a nap or be in bed early... but I actually wasn't too tired or drained. Nothing like I thought I'd be. Which I'm really happy about.
I did though skip church on Sunday & decided to sleep in - though I was up at 7:30 - so not too bad sleeping in... but I had my own little church playing the worship songs from the weekend on Spotify & reading the scripture we went over during the week... & drinking my OWN DELICIOUS coffee. Not camp coffee. There's a difference. Truly.
& then it was time to remember in all of this, days pass & its really Sunday & its actually Father's Day. Time to celebrate my daddy!!!
|Sorry... this is the "you're 45 years old & hung at middle school camp for 5 days" look|
I had gotten him a fitness tracker - especially after the stents being put in his heart - I want him to be able to track his heart rate & check his sleep activity with his sleep apena. I'm actually proud of myself for thinking of this gift for him.
|My dad walking to the barn to check out his heart rate on his fitness tracker|
My mom kept saying she thought I grew while I was at camp.... I told her I was like the Grinch. Except it was my height that grew 5 inches with the fullness in my heart....
It took a bit to get the tracker set up but after getting dad going & hanging out for awhile... its time to get home & get back to real life.
I'd rather be at camp.
Even with puking kids.
How was your weekend?
Did you go to camp when you were little?
What did you do for Father's Day?