Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summertime is here

And along with it come 90+ degree temps (at least here in Texas), swimming, family vacations, and, for many, church camp. Last week, baby girl and son number one went to camp. It was his first, as an incoming seventh grader, and it was her last, as a outgoing senior. I kind of liked that because I knew I could count on her to look out for him. I also knew it would prevent him from getting homesick.

They both had good experiences, or so it appears. He talked non-stop from the time we picked him up until he went to bed later that night. We haven't figured out if it was because he had loads of fun or because he was extremely horse and was enjoying hearing himself talk.

Baby girl was much more subdued. Perhaps a tad melancholy, or just exhausted from the week. I had to laugh when I asked our son if God showed up. He gave me this strange look, a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth, and said, "No!" Obviously he didn't catch my drift, so I quickly tossed in, "Not physically." That was met with a shrug of the shoulders and a blank, "I don't know."

I can relate. I remember going to church camp as a kid. The anticipation. Then, about mid-way through the evening worship service on the first day, thinking, "we gotta do this twice a day?" All I wanted to do was swim, play volleyball and go to the canteen (no ice cream bar has ever tasted so good as the ones at camp). It's not that God wasn't important to me, but my own entertainment was more important. Not unlike most kids, back then or now.

How else do you explain churches going out of their way to entice these kids so that somewhere in all the fun they can share the gospel of Christ? In this modern, high-tech world we live in, sometimes it's hard just to pull the kids away from the TV, computer, Gameboy or X-Box. Back in my day (I can't believe I just said that), camp was in the woods. We stayed in cabins. We had cabin clean up every morning after breakfast. We walked what seemed like a mile to the lake where we swam in freezing cold water (did I mention that I grew up in Michigan?).

In sharp contrast, the last two years our church's summer camp has been held on a college campus--last year Baylor University, this year the University of North Texas. There was no scent of pine filling the air (PineSol doesn't count). No arts and crafts time where they made lanyards or painted a plaster of Paris plaque with a Bible verse on it. Instead, they have crud wars (think food fight) and crazy rec time. The more outrageous the better.

What do you think? Do churches go overboard trying to reach our kids? Do they set the bar too high? Or do you think they need to keep up, doing whatever it takes to save our kids from the world around them? And don't forget to share your childhood camp experiences. Remember that cute counselor the boys in cabin 4 had? The one you drooled over all week, and even though he was way too old for you, you just knew you were meant to be together? You know the one. Come on. . .fess up. Enquiring minds want to know.


  1. I can't wait to hear every one elses camp experiences.

    Unfortunately, the only camp I EVER went to was not affiliated with a church. It was just a bunch of outdoors stuff like camping, boating and other stuff. I was all girl and hated stuff that made me itch. Most things outdoors make you itch.

    My one memory of this camp was that a bird pooped on my friend's head. She was really grossed out.

    Sorry y'all wish I had a better story to share.

    But I do think it's important for churches to reach out to the youth. Amidst the angst my church is going through, they say the youth is a strong group. I hope so. I want my daughter to be brought up in a strong church family and be able to share conversations about God with her friends Something I'm just now doing.

  2. I'm like Christy. I never went to church camp. I did go to a Shriners camp though. The thing I remember about that was I was the "Free" kid. We didn't have any money and my mother kept telling me over and over before I went, "Don't tell anyone you are going for free. Don't tell them you are the scholorship child."

    And then, while I was there, I was riding a horse, it went off the path and I yelled at the instructor because I was scared and she yelled at me.

    I do remember a girl who taught us crafts. Her name was Wren. I love that name to this day.

    We have a great camp here in No. Ga. Camp Glisson. I know Missy is familiar with it. My friend Rick, his son is working there all summer.
    I think camp is a great thing for the right child. There are kids who just don't like to be away from home.

    Thanks for the camp post, Mindy.

  3. OH, and Christy,

    All me emails I'm sending to you are bouncing. I don't know why. So are you going to the GRW meeting this Saturday?

  4. Hi Lindi!
    sorry about the email trouble. I'll try to send you an email and see what happens.

    I won't be at GRW. I'm helping my church decorate for VBS that starts Monday.

  5. I never went to church camp. My mom never had the money and could never commit. I did go to Girl Scout camp twice. I also went to Vacation Bible School. I have been able to send my kids to church camps. They've done all sorts of things from swimming in the lake to sailing on Flathead Lake in a boat all week. I guess I get to live vicariously through my kids' experiences:-)

    Funny thing is that I don't like camping. At all. Nope. Not at all. I wonder if it is because I never went to camp?

  6. My kids LOVE the camp Lindi mentioned. It's the old fashioned type. They do the lanyards and other crafts. And they have chapel twice a day. But my son talked about how fun they make chapel time. I was blown away last year when he came home (aged 11) and said he could really feel God there in the laughter. He said it was like God himself laughing.

    I love that they're having that experience!

    I just cracked up, Christy. I had a friend that got pooped on by a bird at came one summer, too. :)