Our last week of the summer! (Aug 6-11)

The summer has absolutely flown by! Somehow it is the last week of camp already, and everyone here has a bucket list of sorts to get to do before it’s over. It’s very special to be a camper here during the last week, because we try to build in extra layers of fun for everyone, staff included!

On Sunday the campers got off the bus right as the rain started falling! We were thankful we had the large screened in porch to quickly store all their luggage in a dry spot. It’s been a very dry summer, so we were grateful for the rain!

After meeting the staff and hearing about our camp rules and community covenant, the campers had time to settle into their cabins. We skipped the normal swim test, and instead played games and had a camp tour while everything dried up. Our camp theme this summer is “In the Light” and our director, Sarah, talked about how easy it is to dwell on this “wishing” feeling we all have. Sometimes we wish for new things or to be more like an admired person, etc. However, choosing to place yourself in God’s light means choosing to focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t have. God surrounds us with so many good things everyday, like friends, family, sunshine, etc. Everyday is truly an adventure when we are living in God’s light! And we can trust that God is always bringing us to a good place, even when the road is longer or harder than we imagined.

Monday was our first full day, and our regular morning schedule included a chance to participate in bible study and to choose an 11 o’clock activity option, such as field games, canoeing, arts and crafts, and others. Lunch is followed by cabin quiet time, and then in the afternoon the campers get to switch between swimming, canteen, and a large group game. We got the swim test in as the first thing we did during our normal swim time. Midway through the summer we had a neighbour on the lake donate a shallow water slide, and it’s been a huge hit! We also recently cracked open a new floating four square net for the water, which is so fun! Monday ended with a campfire talk from Andrew Spears, a second year staff member and college junior on God Squad. Andrew talked about his experiences growing up playing baseball.  He talked about how he had to change his motivation from wanting to win to wanting to enjoy the game. He talked about how in life, we often have to look for things we don’t notice easily, and often times they are gifts from God for us to have an abundant life. 

Tuesday was another very fun day! We have a mix of full week and half campers here this week, with friends crossing over in both sessions. Even as that has added some complexity to our schedule and cabin plan, it’s been nice to be able to offer these more customizable elementary weeks. On Tuesday afternoon we opted to do an additional round of land and water Olympics, which we normally only do on Thursdays. We had lots of campers leaving on Wednesday, and we didn’t want them to miss out on one of our most beloved camp activities, especially if it was their first time ever at camp! The half week campers were divided into four teams for the afternoon, and the team called “Cool Math Games” won! The full week campers got to enjoy their normal swim time and game time, with their Olympics to look forward to on Thursday. We ended Tuesday with our all camp talent show, campfire, and a short movie in the chapel. It’s always so fun to see what each cabin comes up with for a fun skit!

On Wednesday morning we said goodbye to our first group of half week campers, and we welcomed our second set of new half week campers! Our new campers had a catch up session on our bible study themes after lunch, and then they joined in with everyone else for the regular afternoon activities. Our four bible study key words this summer have been: inclusion, compassion, forgiveness, and generosity. During staff training in early June, the college staff made videos around camp that focus on each word in an insightful and hilarious way! Wednesday afternoon was delightfully warm and sunny, and we fell in love with our new campers right away!

On Thursday all of our campers got to participate in our last Olympic day at camp in four teams. As a special highlight for this last week at camp, the staff formed a fifth Olympic team and joined in the competition! They took turns leading and participating, and they were small but mighty group that spurred the camper teams on! Olympic events include a canoe race, canoe sinking, sandcastle building, synchronised swimming, relays, tug-of-war, team chants, and more! The winning team gets a free sticker from canteen, and this last Olympic day was for sure a very special one.

On Thursday night we play a game called “Beacons,” which is a brand new game here at camp this year. It uses much of the whole property, and it’s a great prelude to some of the bigger games kids get to play once they are able to attend the middle school camp sessions. After the Thursday night game, the campers migrated over to campfire for our special closing service. Borrowing from a traditional Ash Wednesday service, we all receive crosses on our foreheads with ash from our campfire. Our camp director, Sarah, 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 second year Fun Squader, Sydnee Condit, a college junior. Sydnee shared about how important this camp community has been to her all these years. She has been coming to camp since she was in third grade. Change is hard for her, and going to off to college wasn’t an easy transition. However, she always had camp to come back to, and she had the people she became friends with at camp to call any day she needed to. Even if camp has been a constant for her, it has also represented a way to deal with change well. Camp is never the same any summer, or any week even. But the values of loving others unconditionally and serving one another shine through every week, and she is so grateful for everything camp has taught her.

Friday was the day we said goodbye to all these campers we had grown to love this week! Campers headed to the chapel for the camp video before they started packing up and cleaning their cabins. We close with a picnic lunch every Friday, including chips and corn dogs and hot dogs and popsicles. 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 we can’t wait to see everyone again next summer!