|Subscribe to the Spirit Calendar here|
by Anne and Tim Hughes
SHARON (09/19/2012) -- At the end of the first week of camp at Silver Lake Conference Center...
One hundred and fifty campers, some here for the first time, some homesick, some exuberant to finally be joining in the fabled experience they've sampled while dropping off their older siblings on Sundays past, some returning. The emergency phone rang four nights out of five, but only one fire alarm going off at 1:30 a.m. thanks to all God's critters (or rather, one particular one making its way into a smoke detector).
At the beginning of summer, we are certain we cannot possibly get through 7 more weeks of this grueling pace. Yet and still, with God's help, your prayers and our prayers, we can and do. We joyfully proclaimed "It's all good!" We watched our Counselors-in-Training burst into a "Call me Maybe" flash mob dance during lunch. We frosted cakes reflecting our diversity of God's creation; conferees made litter box cakes, and there were so many accessories during the "Hats, Scarves and Capes" dinner, it out-accessorized our Waterfront staff's Lost and Found Fashion Show.
There were stream hikes. There was a victorious group hike at Bash Bish Falls, by some who really weren't sure they could do it. We played Quidditch, softball, and even soccer on the soccer field. There were people of every age and size flying around the high ropes challenge course in the trees.
There were sailboats, and cookouts, and campfires, and lots of singing, and night hikes. There were scrapes, a few sprained ankles (for staff and conferees), and there were moments of courage, moments of despair... And just as suddenly in the next, moments of friendship and loyalty and support.
All this was experienced in community. Big, riotous, awkward, planned and unplanned community. Then it's over. It's Friday, then Saturday, then parents pick up all those changed kids, kids who have learned the songs, fortified themselves with new friends, with new thresholds and challenges overcome, with new skills learned, and hopefully, with some glimpses of God in our midst. We emerge from this week, never again the same.
And we’ll turn around to welcome a new group of deans, counselors, chaplain, nurse, and another big, exuberant, unsure, and hopeful and fearful group of conferees. God, give us this day our daily bread and a big dose of stamina, and bless us in this Ministry you've graced us to do with your children. A-MEN!
Anne and Tim Hughes are co-directors of Silver Lake Conference Center. Sign up to receive the weekly Spirit Calendar at ctucc.org/fido.