Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Camp Wow part 2

 So, yesterday I told you all about the fun the kids and I had at Camp Wow. Today, I want to share a little bit about my experience at camp as an adult. It was truly a life-changing week!

I signed the kids up for camp all the way back in November, right before Thanksgiving. At that time, I already had decided that I was going to be going down to help (it's only about 25 miles from our house) during the day with whatever needed to be done-making sure kids got to where they needed to be, watching kids at the waterfront, sitting next to kids during service to help with behavior, etc. The main reason I was going was for Landon. He'd never spent the night anywhere other than grandma's house and because of his school experience, I was a little nervous about how things would go at camp. For multiple reasons, I didn't want to stay at camp at night, but planned to stay until lights out and then head home.

As soon as the kids were signed up, I began to pray for camp-not everyday, but a couple times a week at least. Mostly, I prayed for the kids to be safe and healthy during camp and that they would grow closer to God. I also prayed that they would have fun and make new friends or get closer to their old friends.

A few days before camp, we had a meeting and were given our leader packets. In them, were the schedule for the week, the devotion topics for each day, the kids' cabin assignments, and team assignments. That's when I learned that I wasn't going to just be a "helper", I was going to be a co-leader of a team! For someone who's main goal is to be invisible, this was a big deal. To say I was nervous about this is definitely an understatement.

That same evening, during our Wednesday night service, Pastor T. had two posters at the front of the church-one for youth camp and one for kids' camp. He asked us to write some specific things that we were praying for our kids during camp week on each one. Since I had kids going to both camps, I wrote on both of them. For youth camp, I wrote friendship and for kids' camp, I wrote confidence. Those are only two of the million things I prayed for my kids to get from camp, but at that moment they're the things that were most on my heart.

The day of camp arrived and I had to be at the church early for a leaders' meeting and to help get kids' checked in. We took over 100 to kids' camp alone, so it was a bit crazy for a while. Once things settled down, the kids went to the gym for lunch and pictures. I stayed with a couple of other ladies in the lobby to catch any late arrivals. We had such a good time just hanging out and getting things ready to go. It was a great way to get my camp week started.

When we got to camp, the kids headed into the cafeteria for orientation while several of us ladies stayed at the cabins (or dorms or whatever you want to call them) and unloaded luggage from the trailers. Then, we helped the kids get settled into their bunks. Making beds for 20+ little girls is a big job. There were 4 other moms in my cabin. I had talked with them some at church, on facebook, and one mom is even in our homeschool group, but I didn't really feel like I knew any of them well. That was definitely going to change! I have to say that those four ladies are some of the funniest ladies I have ever met. We laughed so much!
Cheyenne took this picture of me from her top bunk on day one. 

I told you a little about how we spent our camp days in my last post. Remember the picture of Landon playing the game with the cotton balls on his nose? Well, I failed to mention that there was also a competition each night between the leaders of each team. Again, not in my comfort zone AT ALL. I try really hard not to draw attention to myself (in person anyway. Online is a different story-ha!) But when you're standing in front of 100 kids and your team is cheering you on, it tends to draw attention to you. 
This is me on day one playing the oreo game. You had to move the oreo from your forehead into your mouth using only your facial muscles. I'm not sure if it was legal for me to have my hands up there or not, but after I dropped the first one within 30 seconds, I wasn't taking any chances.
Luckily, I had an awesome teammate who gave me some good advice for round two. 
 Each night, one team was eliminated from the competition. Wouldn't you know, our team stayed in the whole week, so I got lots of chances to get out of my comfort zone and in front of the group.

There were so many more amazing things that happened during that week, more than I could ever fit into one post. Times I felt loved, accepted, appreciated, and valued just for being who I am. Times I did things that I never  thought I would do. 

One night, as I was walking to my van at the end of the night-way later than I should have been leaving-a group of ladies pulled up in an ATV. I won't give away their identities, but it was 4 of these lovely ladies (you know who you are!) 
They told me that they had found something cool that I needed to see and asked me to jump in with them. When I got in, they said "put on your seatbelt." Uh-oh! As soon as I was buckled up, the crazy driver hit the gas and we took off. It was a crazy, fast, bumpy, buggy ride (I think they really just wanted me in the front seat as a bugshield!). If I had known what they were up to, I NEVER would have gotten in. But it was SO MUCH FUN! I haven't laughed like that in so long! After a few minutes of fun, we switched drivers and took off again. I think the second driver was a little crazier faster than the first. At the end of her turn, she pulled  back up to the parking lot by my van, got out, and said "Your turn!" I tried to resist, but when they started chanting my name (peer pressure anyone?), I gave in. I still can't believe I drove that thing! We somehow managed to make it back to the van in once piece. I headed home and they headed back to the cabin. (Thank you, ladies, you'll never know how much that little buggy ride meant to me!)

Here they are showing their true colors-hahaha!

 Everything that happened that week was fun and I wouldn't trade my experience for anything. But, the best part didn't come until the last night during the evening service. At the end of the service, Pastor B. asked the leaders to come to the front as the kids came forward for prayer. I had the opportunity to pray over several kids, something I had never done before except little bedtime prayers or at mealtime with my own kids. I don't know that I was very eloquent in my prayers or that I even did it right, but I do know that it doesn't matter because I did it from my heart. I can't even describe the feeling I had that night! 

After we were home and I had a chance to reflect back on my week at camp, I realized that the things I had prayed over my kids for their camp week turned out to be the things that God chose to bless me with. Health, safety, fun all were a part of my camp week. But the most amazing thing to me was that He chose to give to ME the two specific requests that I prayed for my kids on that Wednesday night before camp-frienship and confidence.

And I will never be the same!

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