Camp Season 2014 has just ended and with school just around the corner I want to take just a moment to reflect and breathe in the magic of camp. *breathe* My job as female counselor-in-training leader this summer provided me with more of an opportunity to see just what a magical place this camp is, because I was able to see more of the behind the scenes work being done. I have compiled a list of reasons (some of which I acquired from other staff) about why Cedar Lake Camp is a magical place.
*I should preface this to say that I don’t mean magic is performed there because Jesus is not magic, he is very much alive and working. I mean magic in the sense that it is beneficial and doing great work in the lives of people. It has a special aura.*
1. It is a place where people can truly be themselves. I had one of my girls tell me how at home she is told to be quiet and not so annoying but at camp people love her bubbly personality. It’s the love of Jesus in people that allows us to respect the fact that we are all different.
2. We can wear what we want. The camp staff jokes that we have banquet in the middle of the week to ensure that maybe the children and staff will shower at least once a week. It’s not uncommon to see people wearing the same clothes over and again. It’s also not uncommon to see shirts with lots of hotdogs, African clothing, or hunting garb being worn on a regular day. Feel free to experiment with fashion while at camp.
3. We can be silly. It’s okay to take a break from making bread to throw dough at the ceiling. No one will mind if your entire cabin comes to dinner with painted faces singing tribal songs.
4. The staff comes there to serve Jesus and share the message with the children, but the staff leaves with so much more. We learn about ourselves and about how God is able to work through our lives. We are challenged and loved and encouraged. We gain a family.
5. It’s a place for people to learn the value of hard work. This is something I saw especially in my position. The counselors in training (CITs) are 14 and 15 year old teens who are too old to campers but not old enough to be junior counselors. They are not put in cabins with children but instead perform the grunt work. The guys work outside, sweep, mop, and mow the grass. The girls wash dishes, clean bathrooms, watch babies, and clean the kitchen. It’s an important part of growing up though because it teaches these soon to be counselors about working our bodies for the purpose of Jesus. It prepares them to be counselors who will step up and do jobs just because that is what it takes to keep the camp running. It reminds us all that if the dishes are not washed and the lawn is not mowed, children can’t come to camp and learn about Jesus.
6. It’s a place where people can bond. It’s hard to live with 50+ people for 5 weeks and not bond with at least a handful of people.
7. Trends are so easy to start. Some years it means that all of the guys grow facial hair (or draw it on with sharpies) and cut off their jeans into “jorts” (jean shorts). This year it meant singing the national anthem at almost every meal. Get a group of people to start doing something with you, no matter how silly, and pretty soon the entire camp will follow along.
8. The outside world fades away. If something big happened in the world this summer, I missed it. With only 24 hours of freedom on the weekend, checking the news is not my top priority.
9. Narnia is in the freezer and in the pine forest.
10. There’s a kayak in the pine forest. Not sure about that one but I’m sure it made sense to someone. And when it moves back to the pond that’s okay as well.
11. Toilet paper is a luxury sometimes, enough so that we thank the Sysco man when he brings us more. Other times we have so much of the stuff that we start wondering if we could sell it to the public to raise money for the camp.
12. Poop is an okay subject of conversation. See number 1.
13. People understand your church jokes.
14. Finally, camp is a place where Jesus is shared and lives are changed. It’s okay to be a Christian at camp. God is moving and it’s cool to be involved in that process.
I don’t normally like to share my location on this blog, but I will reveal that the camp I am discussing is Cedar Lake Camp in Livingston, TN. If you’re in the area or would like to send kids there, check out their website. www.cedarlakecamp.org