It’s Middle School Week! (July 16-23)

We were so excited to welcome this group of 6-8 graders up to camp this week! The fun began on Sunday afternoon when the campers arrived on the bus. The campers had time to settle into their cabins when they arrived after we as a staff went over introductions and our community covenant. The campers were then split by cabins into two groups. The first group headed to the camp tour given by fun squad. On the tour they get a lay of the land and learn some camp lore. The second group headed to the waterfront for the swim test! Then each group switched. Cabin unity dinner followed the second switch, and then everyone got to plan an all camp game in the field of death called “Finding Grandma in Costco” (aka capture the flag). After the game, all the campers and counselors headed to campfire where they sang a bunch of songs and then raced to the canteen as soon as we finished the closing chords of “Go in Peace.” That is always a bit ironic – racing after such a peaceful moment – ha!

To close our first night, we had one more final activity of pictionary after canteen before heading to cabins for devos and lights out. During devos each cabin got to a further introduction to our theme for the summer, which is “In the Light.” During the campfire talk our camp director, Sarah, had shared about how walking in God’s light isn’t always as easy to figure out as it seems. Oftentimes you are following what feels more like a candle in the dark rather than a big spotlight. God’s light isn’t pursued by everyone, and it often doesn’t have the typical cultural markers of success – like wining games or gaining fans. However, it is worth it every time, and our keywords for the week, if we learn how to be courageous and actually live them, circle back around to us and pay us back tenfold or more. Our words for the week are inclusion, compassion, forgiveness, and generosity.

Monday our first full day was filled with tons of activities, all the campers got a chance to participate in bible study and 11 o’clock activity choices, such as field of life, canoeing, arts and crafts, and others. Lunch was sport themed, and then in the afternoon the campers got to swim at the waterfront where they got to enjoy the raft and the lilypad as well as the waterbees. They also all got to play duel ball in the field of life and have some canteen time. After our Paul Bunyan themed dinner the campers played mighty mighty scoop noodle challenge in the field of life, followed by campfire. At this campfire, first year fun squader Becky Perkins gave a campfire talk about her faith in God and how it has grown over time. After campfire the kids rushed straight to canteen, just like they did on Sunday night. We ended the night with devotions in the cabins with each cabin’s designated staff member. We closed Monday with an early bedtime which was loved by everyone after a long day!

Tuesday was just as jam packed as Monday, with mostly the same activities just different games and meal themes. At our usual evening campfire the talk was given by first year fun squader Brock Reding. Brock talked about how much this camp community has meant to him over the years, and how he has learned to open up to his friends through hearing these campfire talks. This night we held devos a little earlier, then the campers headed to the chapel for a movie, and the counselors got a little bit of well deserved free time. Then it was lights out. 

Wednesday held the same basic activity rotation as the two days prior, but with even more games and swim time. Dinner was superhero themed, then the kids had a talent show where each cabin got to show off the skit they had created. After this we had an indoor campfire due to weather, where first year God squader Izzy Gonzalez gave a talk. Izzy talked about her love for dance, and about she has learned to keep a positive mindset and pray about all things. After campfire as usual it was canteen, devos, and then sleep!

Thursday is known as Olympic day at camp!! The beginning of Thursday went normally with bible study and 11 o’clock activities, but the afternoon is Olympic time. At lunch the campers learned which team they were on. One group started at the waterfront where they competed in canoe racing and canoe sinking followed by synchronized swimming and sand castle building. And the other group started at the field of life for land Olympics where they competed in tug-of-war, some relays, and a cheer contest. Before they switched to the other location they got the chance to refuel at canteen. Once Olympics were done, they headed back to their cabins to get ready for ‘dress your best/worst dinner,’ which was then followed by another super fun camp game called bonkers!

After bonkers the campers migrated over to campfire, where they received ashes. Borrowing from a traditional Ash Wednesday service, we all receive crosses on our foreheads with ash from our campfire. Our camp director talked about how ash represents change, and how changes in our lives are always chances. When wood burns in our campfire, it gets a chance to go back into the ground and nourish all the trees around it. Similarly, when we go through changes, even when these changes feel like loses, we can find new nourishing connections in our lives. Every change is a chance for something new to grow in our lives, and sometimes what grows is better than anything we could have imagined beforehand. Thursday night’s campfire talk was given by a first year life squader, Lydia! Lydia inspired us all with her thoughts on her faith journey. After Lydia’s talk, God squad wiped the ashes off of everyone’s foreheads. After this the campers had canteen then headed to the lower lodge for a game of ships and sailors. Then they headed back to their cabins for the final night of devos. 

On Friday the campers and staff got to wake up a little bit later, but then proceeded to morning worship followed by breakfast. After breakfast the campers headed to the chapel for the camp video before they started packing up and cleaning their cabins. After the staff members checked off the cleanliness of their cabins the campers met in the canteen area for all camp clean up followed by a corn dog and hot dog lunch. At this time they also had a chance to buy some last minute items for the bus ride home. After everyone was finished eating and both buses were packed up the staff said goodbye to the campers and sent them on their way back to Eden Prairie. 

We had such a fun week this week and are so so glad that you decided to send your campers to hang out with us! We hope your kids had a fantastic week up at camp and are so excited to see them again next year. 

Sierra Luna