Part Deux

Okay, it looks like I focused a great deal on one small aspect of camp last time, but hey- it was new, and I enjoyed my role as director as much as how the skit went.  How about something a little less focused?  A lot of the camp activities was same-old for me, but how else could some thing be after seven years, even with a new cabin each year.  The camp staples were there- archery, riflery, crafts, competition games, food, bedrest (Michigan law- an hour each day must be spent in bed during the day to avoid overexhaustion).  Some things are new every year, like the Zorb this year as I already mentioned.  Also new this year was a game in the courtyard called gaga-ball (nothing to do with the pop star, actually a game imported from Israel) and one in the swim front area called nine-square, though we never played the latter.  Also new this year was the almost daily rain.  Years past have had no more than a couple days with some rain, but until the last day we had some rain every day.  Last year that rain canceled our wacky water sports instructional, but it was replaced by- a different wacky water sport the entire camp engaged in.  What they did was lay a tarp across a large portion of the game field and create a giant slip ‘n’ slide.  On it they had races and wacky games like an extreme duck-duck-goose.  Well, we had one time like that this year as well, during our canoeing time and free time after that.  That time started out normal, mind you.  By the time we actually got into our canoes, however, the rain started.  Meh- a little rain never hurt anyone.  But then it turned into sheets of rain accompanied by thunder.  Whoops- time to get out of the water.  No one overturned their canoe, but by the time we were ashore it sure felt like it.  We spent the next 15 minutes or so in a shelter before heading out, ending up in the tarp-encrusted game field.

Erm- so much for unfocused I guess.  Let’s see now.  Besides raining out part of an instructional, one of the competitions got rained out, except that time we all raced for the shelter of the lodge.  Our infamous counselor hunt also was nearly rained out, but it did stop in time for the hunt.  Last year I hid so well that no one found me.  This year I made it easier for them.  A group of three leaders were hidden as it turned out not very well, and I went downhill from them.  All the kids had to do was look down and there I was!  Then they had to climb down a steep hill to get to me- mwa-ha-ha-ha.  Well, once they saw me not a single group passed up the chance, but not all saw me oddly enough.

At the end of the week, the students were given an opportunity to give testimonies about their week at camp, and I was happy to see two of my own cabin go up to the microphones.  There they talked about accepting Jesus if they did, rededicating themselves, how they learned what kind of heart they had (shallow, crowded), and how they wanted a fruitful heart (see the parable of the seeds being sown on different soils).  A testimony that really touched me was from a boy from Iowa who started his testimony out with “I thought I knew God, but I really didn’t.”  I may be paraphrasing a little, I don’t remember the exact words.  How many of us think we really know who God is only to find out through some teaching somewhere, or some action by someone, that we really don’t know Him at all.  That’s the point where God enters into our lives as He revels Himself, and we either gladly grab on to the life preserver he gives us, or we utterly reject it and spend the rest of our lives trying to manage on our own.  Has He revealed Himself to you?  Did you grab on, repent, and become His adopted child?

I will leave you with these few pictures and videos from camp.  By the way, did anyone catch the title of my last post?  It is from a song we sang daily at camp, one where I witnessed the Holy Spirit at work more than some of the other songs, Like a Lion from the Passion Awakening album.  The Youtube video is at the end.

Gaga ball: dodgeball with nowhere to run!


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Just a minute to win this…


Help- I’m upside down!


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Humans + Foosball = life-sized foosball



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Now this is a worship time!


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My God is Not Dead, He’s Surely Alive

‘E’S BACK!  Yes, I have returned from the state of Michigan to learn there was a tornado in the area while I was away.  Two towns away, with little damage and no casualties, so not exactly those news breakers of weeks past.  Moving on, in addition to the additions and subtractions they make from year to year (i.e., the Zorb this year replaced mountain biking), there are always differences in the kids and the weather.  Each group of campers is different.  I had ten boys in my cabin this year, and a junior leader who was one of my 4th/5th grade kids at church (not camp) from years past.  I have had the sweetest kids you could know, and some, well, not quite the other end of the scale but leaning that way.  Sometimes strongly.  The most difficult one I had this year was mostly trouble at bedtime, not wanting to stay in bed, his own bed, etc.  During the day he was great to lead.  I originally had nine boys, but one was added at the last minute so in addition to the nine 5th graders, I had one 4th grader.  I won’t be able to form a strong relationship with him however, as his family will be moving out of state soon.  Nor will I have any relationship at all with another, who came as a friend of one of our students.  He has Christian parents however (and he already accepted Christ), unlike another guest I had a few years ago who came from a decidedly non-Christian family, though he did accept Jesus during his week at camp.

One of the new things this year was a talent show.  I made sure to sign up for a skit, though I did come prepared with some songs from Oliver! in case we had to sing.  You see, there was only one slot available each night for skits.  This will have to be tweaked a bit for next year as no one signed up for the first night.  Too little rehearsal time?  Together we decided to do a backstage audition scene, though looking like an Idol episode with three judges holding their product-placement IBC root beer bottles.  We came up with a script the first couple days, tweaking it even at the last rehearsal.  I assigned three judge roles, one being kind of a mean one (yeah, you know…); six contestants in three acts (one became a security guard instead during a tweak); and one cameraman who dropped out when he wasn’t feeling very well on the day of performance, giving me his line which didn’t quite work out as it was meant for a cameraman, not someone yelling from offstage.  The one who didn’t want to even do a skit turned out to do a great job as a judge.  I would say that they wrote half the script adding great ideas like a group doing a purposely bad “pattycake” routine, calling themselves the Pattycake Pros, or PPs for short (remember the audience/participant ages!).  We also had a male diva contestant named Justin B-[eye]-ber, who the judges naturally mispronounce.  The mispronounced name was my idea, but the kids came up with the contestant idea among others.  He was dragged off by the security guard after hitting a judge, only to return later chased by that same security guard.  The kids added being chased by some girls at the end, so we borrowed a few from a girl’s cabin who would chase him thinking he must be the famous pop star, where he once again shouted that he was B-[eye]-ber, not B-[ee]-ber.  The most amazing addition they came up with was changing my generic “Jesus Rocks” at the end of another bad performance (making it a smashing hit in the judges eyes as a result instead of another flop) to a bible verse from the lesson earlier that day about not fearing, finding comfort in God instead.  I believe the verse was Psalm 27:1.  That was the Holy Spirit talking through the boy who came up with that change!

This post is getting kind of long, and I have to get a couple things done before I go to bed, so I will leave you with this video from the Zorb activity.  This answers the question, “Is it safe to be in front of a moving Zorb?”

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Counting down

It is June already and it looks like warm weather is finally here to stay.  Two weeks ago we somberly said goodbye to the 5th graders, sending them off in a prayer as we laid hands on them.  They finished not only the 4th/5th grade ministry, but moved out of children’s ministry altogether to student ministries where they will spend the next seven years.  This weekend, the third grade room remained dark, as it will for the next two months or so as we welcomed them as the new fourth grade.  At our church 3rd grade and up get bumped in June for camp reasons, but the younger kids have to wait until August.  I guess it is a little strange, the first weekend or so in June, to be called a fourth-grader (for example) when many have not yet finished third grade at school.

We also kicked off our summer series, Transformers.  Yes, we are borrowing off of a popular movie theme (yes it was a cartoon first, but seeing as how many of their parents weren’t even grown up at the time, let alone their own existence…).  However, the name is where similarities begin and end.  Unfortunately our worship band moved up with the old 5th-grade or out (the college-bound ones) so we are working on replacing them.  Hmm.  Actually, it was the Saturday night band that is gone, but we still did the song videos instead of the normal worship at 11:15 even though those band members were still present- I wonder why?

Saturday night I think we need guy leaders now in a big way.  I was the only one there, along with two gal leaders.  I know one will be coming back in a few weeks, but we could use more.  My “small” group was twenty-some boys- ideally, groups should be about six or so.  So anyway, the lesson was one on being rooted in Christ, and not comparing ourselves to one another.  As Paul wrote to the Phillipians, he had much call to call himself better than others as he was a “Hebrew of Hebrews,” a Pharisee, and zealous for his religion.  Instead, he counted it as loss, rubbish compared with his identity in Christ.  As His, we are equal no matter our station, our jobs, our finances, etc.

Moving on, did I mention camp?  Oh, yes I did.  Less than two weeks, and I am making trip #7 out there with an all new group!  There is much to be excited about, but one thing tops all others.  Every year we get something new.  In the past additions have included  a lodge building, a zipline, pontoon boats, and a waterslide (thankfully I started there the year after they got permanent showers…).  Well, this year apparently we got something a bit different.  Raise your hand if you ever wanted to be a hamster after watching them roll around in their hamster balls.  That’s right, our new addition to camp is in the form of two giant inflatable hamster, err- people balls called Zorbs.  Here is a random video found on youtube:

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and from the inside:

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Now that looks exciting.  I hope they don’t roll it down too steep of a hill though.  Imagine what would happen if one got sick in one of those…  Or, best not to imagine.

Anyway, a new year at church, a new post. I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

I really will try to post at least once more before Camp 2011.  I mean it.  That I will try, that is. 😉