Monday, June 19, 2017

The weekend I survived Pukefest... or what I call MIX CAMP

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.

It would be time for lunch right after our small group & then we'd have some free time.

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.

Image result for gagging gif

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.

LEADERS SURVIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
& then it was time to pack up & leave all the fun behind... & hopefully all the germs too....

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.

Work.  ugh.

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?


  1. Oh man well aside from so many of the girls getting sick I'm glad you still had a great time! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. O wow, those kiddos really worked you hard!
    I agree, it's nice to get away and have fun for a few days but it's even nicer to come home and be in our own beds and showers and be with our own "people/fur-people". I was away all week as well and have been ill ever since. I hope I didn't contract a foreign disease?

  3. Oh - great memories from church camp! There is such powerful energy there - it's difficult to come down from "the mountaintop" after it, but that's where life takes place. I'm not sure I could have handled all the puke though ... ick. Great idea on the fitness tracker!

  4. We always got sick in some way or another during or after family camp every year; I'm so glad you were blessed with that girl who wants to be a nurse. She sounds like a treasure. And it's just so sweet to see that you wanted to go and immerse yourself in a week of sharing wisdom and love and friendship with so many kids. I'm sure they will remember you for a long time, because I've heard so many stories about camp from different people and camp counselors. <3

    And I bet that reunion with Ricky was so sweet. :)

  5. Oh my heavens, what a week!! Think of the difference you made in those girls' lives just by being there and worshiping with them and praying over them! Such a cool opportunity for everyone involved!!
    I love that Ricky came to meet you! And I'm sure the fur babes were so, so happy to see you!! I'm glad you had a wonderful week, even with all the puke. Lol!

  6. Wow, Rebecca Jo. Sounds like an amazing time, even with the pukers. And I don't do good with puke either, so I feel ya! I'm glad you were able to spend time with those girls and make such great memories and friendships. Plus, even though it was really hard to be away from Ricky and the fur babies, I bet it made it even sweeter when you go to see them again! :D

  7. Wowzers! But you survived, you thrived and touched those hearts probably more than you know! You and your daddy are so cute!

  8. I'm so glad you had a good time! They're lucky they got to hang out with you :)

  9. What an amazing experience. I Just love reading about your experiences and the love you have for the people around you. We went swimming a lot.

  10. What an amazing weekend (aside from all of the sickness going around). I loved seeing all of the photos and your shots on instagram-- it made me so nostalgic, and looked so similar to the camp I went to and worked at when I was younger.

  11. I remember sports camps in the summer were always rough due to dehydration and they stayed on us to drink our weight in water and gatorade. It sounds like other than that, you all had a great time. I think it is funny that the girls needed you to say you would do the mix game for them to join in. Kids. The nighttime stuff worship sounds good for the soul!

  12. What a week you had! I went to 6th grade camp growing up and it was one of the highlights of my childhood. However, when I was in my 40's I was a camp counselor one year. Only one year. I know what you mean about missing your hubby and family and home and your own bed... I'm a very shy person and not really a people person so this took me waaaay out of my comfort zone. We had a dunk tank that none of my girls wanted to do, so like you I asked them, "If I do it, will you?" They all yelled and cheered (5th graders) so I did it. Then they all said, "We changed our minds." Anyway, we had a good time, we all survived and no one puked. So there's that! Glad you made some memories that will last a lifetime!

  13. God is going to bless you so much! I just know it! Puke and all!

  14. So much awesomeness with the youth camp--except all the sickness! Man, that's brutal! Actually at the last teens camp I went to with the youth group last year I ended up getting sick--not a great move as a leader but oh well! Good for you on having a tough constitution and helping out with the sick ones!

  15. What a truly amazing experience! I'm glad you got to be there for them! I'm glad there was more good then bad, haha. Aw, poor kiddos.

  16. That sounds so amazing!! (Besides all the puking) I still remember the camp counselors at my church camps growing up, and the lasting impact they had on my life. I know you did the same for those kids. Oh my, I love baptisms, I cry every time!!

  17. So glad you had such a good time at camp. My husband and daughters always loved camp and spent as much time there each summer that they could. Between going to their own camp and then being Junior Counselors. It's never been my thing, but I'm so glad they loved it.

  18. I'm so happy that you had a good time at camp!! I have never been to a camp before but I think I would like it. Although, I'm not much of an outdoor person at all. I hate bugs, dirt and I'm not to fond of birds or anything that flys and poops.

  19. I have the weakest stomach ever so I'm going to be honest, I skipped over those paragraphs because I wasn't sure what I was going to read. God bless you for whatever you had to deal with and I'm moving on from that lol. What an amazing experience. There is something so moving about seeing a group of teenagers and children praising and worshiping God. It gets me every time. I love how excited you were to see Ricky and how sweet your mom is and her comment about you growing at camp. Beautifully Candid

  20. It sounds like an amazing week! I hope non of the kids were sick with anything serious and that they still got a chance to share some of the experiences of the week. That's so true that sometimes people just need a nudge to do something they wanted to do... and it's even more true for kids that age. That's great that you were able to do that for them :)

  21. You are just so amazing with the way you work with those kids. I don't do middle school kids. They are so emotional! It sounds like they were a wonderful group too. I know that you blessed them so much by being your wonderful self!

  22. It sounds like a great time at camp other than the puking. that is the worst. Ugh. You are amazing for doing camp this weekend.

  23. Oh my gosh. I could not handle all of the puke! Glad you had someone who was a nurse who could help!!! Lordy!! Glad the rest of it was good. SUch a bummer that the puke bug spread around like that from one camp to the next. ick. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things


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