Thursday, July 25, 2013

Church Camp 2013

We have just returned from Church Camp and it was a wonderful time spent with a great group of kiddos and adults falling deeper in love with the Lord.  To witness kids on fire about Jesus is an amazing feeling and one that left my heart filled with so much hope.

Camp was filled with water slides, swimming in the pool, blow up obstacle courses, jump houses, crafts, activities, bible study, hikes, praise/worship, mail call, making homemade ice cream, gaga ball, ping pong, friendships, prayer time, hayrides, county fairs, nature walks, quiet time and a hoe down with a real caller.

Emma begged to go to camp last year as a 5 year old, but she was not old enough.  Our church participates in 4 camps a year and this year we participated in the one that was for kids who have completed Kindergarten - 2nd grade.  There was no way my 6 year old was going to camp alone for half the week, so I prayed about it and went along as a cabin counselor. 

Emma was super excited when we arrived at camp and she found out she got to sleep on a top bunk.  The initial sight of the cabin made me a little nervous, but I got over it quick.

Sweet Lauren is one of our Praise Team members at church and she assisted me as a Junior Counselor which was a huge help.

Each day was jam packed with activities from 8 in the morning until 9 o'clock at night.  I was exhausted after chasing little girls around all day.  Every bible story was associated with an activity that had great meaning and gave the kids a better understanding, wonderful.

These are the babies at camp and they were all so precious and sweet.  They were so proud of their initial batch of homemade ice cream.  These girls looked after each other all week long and provided each other comfort and encouragement on their first camp adventure.

Proud of that top bunk, can you tell?  This girl was such a trooper and I was so proud of her to be a first time camp kid.

I grew up going to church camp from 3rd grade thru high school and it is still some of the best memories of my entire life.  It was so special that I got to be a part of Emma's first time camp experience.  I was a little worried when I agreed to go and actually requested NOT to be in the same cabin with her so she could fully experience camp.  I actually thought I was going to be in a boy cabin, but it ended up that she was in my cabin, but you would have NEVER known she was my child.   She was a trooper, never hung on me, tried to sit in my lap or whined about a single thing.  She fully engaged in every activity and was such an independent little thing.

She was so proud of this pet rock that she made for her brother while we were away at camp.  She kept telling everyone he was her best friend and would love it.  This little face just screams happiness to me, this girl had fun.

Good ole pie eating contest and no hands were allowed on the table.  It was hilarious to watch these kids participate in this, some of them got on top of the table (ha ha).

Three of my little cabin mates ready for the Hoe Down. Before every activity we had role call and when they would say, "Cabin 3, are you here?"  My sweet girls would yell, "Cabin 3 says HOWDY!"  You would have thought they had been doing this for years.

Emma's 3 favorite things at camp were praise/worship, the hayride and small group bible study with your cabin everyday.

The hoe down was such a fun time with all of the kids and the 77 year old caller that came to teach all the dances, he was such a sweet little man.  I wanted to put him in my pocket and bring him home.

Yee Haw, look at them go.  So many cute dances they learned and so much fun was had the last evening at camp.

Blair and Emma became the best of buds at camp.  So crazy that we learned the Sunday before camp that these two were on the mountain together at ski school in Steamboat last Spring Break.  When Blair's parents picked her, her sister and twin brother up from ski school they kept telling their parents that they saw a boy and girl from church and the parents didn't believe them (ha-small world).

These two are quite the mess together and know how to have a good time.  Of course they were dreaming about Leigh-Leigh during the entire hoe down (silly girls).

This little finger light was a huge ordeal at camp.  The director had it on the first day at camp and she passed it on to someone she saw letting their light shine for Jesus.  Each child had to continue passing it on and tell the other person why they were getting it.  One of the sweet little girls gave it to Emma and she was beyond thrilled, by the time camp was over about 20 kids had worn the little ring. 

The last day of camp we took this group picture of the kids from our church and had a shirt signing.  These little troopers knew exactly what to do and walked around with Sharpies signing and getting signed.

It was an amazing honor to accompany these children to camp, share my love for Jesus with them, teach his word, serve as an example to them through my own actions, listen to their stories and answer their questions about what God has in store for them and their little life. 

To watch my own daughter be so excited about Jesus, share what he has done in her life,  sing with all of her heart to him and to have such a deep understanding of Christ filled me with an indescribable amount of JOY! When we left camp, she started asking me about returning next year and has not stopped talking about how much fun she had, singing all the camp songs and how much she loves Jesus.  No doubt in my mind that Emma Caroline will be attending camps for years to come and her little brother will soon join her. 

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