Monday, July 03, 2006

Church Camp Reflections

Last week I made the trek up to Lakeside for the last part of our high school group's church camp. It was a privilege to get to go and be a part of what was going on, even though I felt like I was somehow intruding (nobody made me feel like that; quite the contrary, but there's something about coming in on Thursday to a week that started on Saturday or Sunday).

I thoroughly enjoyed the talent show. Mostly for the talent part, especially Jacob's juggling act. He rocked. I really liked his "sudden gust of gravity" comment. There were a few acts who, well, didn't quite get the "talent" part, but I'll just leave it at that.

Communion and the candlelight walk to the Gazebo by the lake were wonderful.

The whole experience brought me back to my church camp experiences.

I remember showing up and the excitement of wondering who is going to be there this year? (I was usually most interested in the girls, of course).

There was the year when our missionary was from Australia, and some of us dubbed ourselves the "Mateys" and went around with bandanas on our heads shouting "Oi!" all the time... it was great that year to really feel like I was part of things.

I remember piercing my ear in the bathroom of one of the cabins & the counselor who came running back shouting, "Ain't nobody piercing no ears in my cabin!" and my "too late" response.

I remember all the tears. I remember that if you managed not to get too emotional on the last night that lots of cute girls were available for hugs.

I remember making commitments every year but never having any plans in place to help me to keep those commitments (or even knowing that it would help to have a plan in place or some accountability), so by the time school started, whatever commitment I'd made was already out the door. (There was a good talk this year at Lakeside on this point, btw).

I remember being terrible at softball. It was always humiliating to be an athletic guy who couldn't bat to save his life; they'd always start way out in the outfield for me, but by the second or third day, they'd bring everyone in, and I'd still barely manage to hit back to the pitcher. And the time when I did get a hit and I tossed the bat back and hit the catcher. I felt terrible about that -- so I suspended myself from the next game. Then in 8th or 9th grade when I hit a bases-loaded triple and scored the winning run, and "retired" from softball (until I came out of retirement in college).

I remember trying to fit in somewhere. I remember my best friends at camp being counselors. I remember (in adult hindsight) searching for a mentor among them.

I remember a conversation with my sister, who apologized for being a "bad sister" -- that really made me examine what kind of brother I'd been -- and that was the turnaround point for our relationship (it was really fun having a wacky great-friend sister around, no matter how rocky our middle school relationship was).

Of course, camp memories wouldn't be complete without the tales of camp romances. My first kiss was at church camp. I fell in love with someone from church camp (that was the worst decision of my life, let me tell you).

Church camp was awesome. If it wasn't for church camp, I'd not have memories of Rod Cameron and Gabby, of Tommy Oaks, or of Old Can Ear (or Old Guitar Case Arm either, for that matter). One of my best Communion memories was from church camp. I still have some scars from church camp (physical and otherwise), but I'm glad I went.


Jen said...

memories are here for a reason. so let us grow with and because of them.

the Sister said...

So not fair because I was writing a reflection on church camp just the other day and it got to babbly and blathery and I gave up and went away.
But it may resurface at some point, and perhaps in a slightly concise manner like yours. Except you already stole my thunder: the excitement of "who's going to be there??????"
But I can mention that I knew I'd arrived one summer when I was being a counselor for the 2nd graders and Gabby commented on my presence there.

Big Mama said...

philI'm so glad you got to go and the tuition didn't raise until you were past that age! Strangely, I always missed you little rascals and wondered what you were doing especially when 2 or more of you were gone-though i felt like you had each other to be accountable to ("Im gonna tell.....". Silly me: I don't think anyone ever did. How Naive could I have been????