Friday, June 24, 2022

Day Five- Heading Home

 Friday is the day we return to town to reconnect with the campers’ caregivers. During the Welcome Home event We have a small program where we share a couple of camp songs and a video of the campers’ experience at camp.  It was heartwarming to see the campers on the risers, singing the songs they learned at camp, with large smiles on their faces. Everyone knew the words and the motions to the songs and the caregivers’ smiles were as big as the campers’ smiles while the campers performed. 

 Photographers covered the camp throughout the week, taking photographs of the campers while the campers enjoy their activities. The photographs are place into albums by the buddies for the campers to take home and relive some of their joyful moments at camp.  Some of the photographs were set to music and made into a video for sharing at the Welcome Home event.  It started with the bus arriving and took us through the crafts, boat rides, swimming, the camp rodeo and graduation.  The recap of the program’s songs and video were a good reminder of the fun we had and we were pleased to share those experiences with the caregivers. 

The cast of the Esther play

Earlier in the day, we had the last installment of our play, which is based on the account of Esther, as told in the book of Esther.  Esther’s father Abihail and her mother had died and Her cousin Mordecai took her into his home, later adopting her.  Circumstances were such that the king of the land required a new wife and through an extensive selection process Esther was chosen to be queen. During Esther’s time at the palace, a prince named Haman had plotted to kill all of the Jews in the country, because of his hatred for Mordecai who was of the Jewish people. Esther also a Jew, learned of Haman’s plot and approached the king.  Approaching the king without and invitation could result in death.  In this case the king was pleased to see her and she was able to plead for her life and the lives of the people. The king felt tricked by Haman, and Haman’s evil plot was his undoing; he lost his life.   Mordecai with the support of the king created and carried out a plan that ultimately saved the Jewish people. 

Our campers can relate to this story. They too are deprived of the parents in one form or another and are sent to live with others. If fortunate enough, they might later be returned to their parents or adopted like Esther.  Through this account of Esther, our campers learn that with God’s help they too can be destined for great things. 

Camp 2022 Buddies and Staff 

As we close out this year’s camp, we are reminded of how blessed we are to be able to support these foster children and will cherish the memories made during this time. It’s time to start getting ready for another camp. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Day Four Is a Day for Grads

 Today started with much like other days at camp.  First a hot breakfast, followed by Breakfast Club and then J-Zone.  In J-Zone we heard the account of Daniel, who was pulled for his homeland and taken to a foreign country.  Daniel, renamed Belteshazzar, was chosen to serve the king Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel was singled out by his enemies for praying to God, rather than considering the king a God, as required by law.  Although this brings trouble for Daniel, in the end God recognizes his faithfulness and helps him persevere. 

Campers play King Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel with a little coaching from Pastor Sue

Our campers can relate to Daniel's story, sometimes moving, possibly experiencing name changes, and experiencing being the "new kid" in class.  We learn that through it all, God will help us deal with our circumstances.  

After lunch we headed to the waterfront to ride the camp pontoon boat. This boat is new to our camp and the campers really enjoyed the experience.  The rest of the time was spent swimming and enjoying the beachfront.  

Camp pontoon boat

 On Thursdays, we celebrate our graduates.  Campers are considered graduates if they will reach the age limit for attending camp. Graduates receive a medal and a new Bible to take with them as they head into their next adventure.

Prayers for our graduates  

Ready for the traditional throw of caps in the air.

Graduations are an emotional time, knowing we might not see our graduates again.   

Wrapping up our evening was a time to reflect on what our fears might be and how we can replace those fears with hope.  Campers, buddies, and staff were encouraged to write their fears on a rock and throw the rock into camp pond as a symbol for releasing our fears and refocusing on hope. 

Camper and buddy toss their rocks with fears written on them in the pond

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 6-7.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Day Three Memories Made


As mentioned in years past, our camp mascot Kid Royale looks for Random Acts of Kindness made by our campers. These kindnesses are rewarded with a prize. Random Acts of Kindness aren't big ticket items. In fact, they are small kindnesses like sharing a toy, or some sunscreen, helping clear a table, or trading notebooks with another camper because the other camper likes the color. 

Kid Royale with a lion prize

This year’s prize is a small lion.  The interesting thing is that the campers still enjoy doing Random Acts of Kindness even after they've received their prize. You can still see them going out of their way to help out, fellow campers, buddies and staff. 

One of our staff, Pastor Sue, provides object lesson that help our campers deal with issues in a positive way. Today's object lesson has the heroes of the story, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego facing some very tough choices; follow the will of the ruler King Nebuchadnezzar or follow the will of God. Not following the king appeared to be certain death.   But God honored them and their desire to serve him and spared them from a fiery furnace.  This amazed the king so much, he too honored God with his praise.  Our campers learned to apply this lesson, which promotes our doing the right thing, even when it's not popular with our friends. 

Campers dress up and play the parts of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

The waterfront offers a lot of activities for our campers.  They can swim, build sandcastles, or jump on a trampoline. Today, the campers had a special treat - the option of speedboat rides.  

The camp speedboat 

It was clear the campers enjoyed this special treat. You could hear them laughing as they skimmed across the lake.

It's been a tradition for a number of years to have a birthday party that celebrates all of the campers' Birthdays. Each camper is called out based on the birthday month, given a birthday bag, and then once everyone has the bag, we sing Happy Birthday, and they open their gifts. We end the party with pizza and cupcakes. 

Packages ready for the campers

Camper diving into his Birthday bag to see all of his presents

The finale of the day was the annual Give it a Go Show where campers are encouraged to display their talents.  Campers showed the bugs they caught, sang songs, shared information about dogs, did backbends & gymnastics, displayed art, demonstrated animal noises, and gave puppet shows. it warms our hearts to see and hear our campers encourage one another to "Give it a go" and "You can do it". Our Music Lady asked who had not performed in front of other people and hands were raised. It was rewarding for us to provide this safe, friendly space for them to give it a go. 

Congratulations to all of the performers for have the courage to take that big step of sharing their talents with others, even when it seems like a scary venture. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Day Two- Yee Haw or Words to That Affect


Day two has a western theme, with campers and buddies dressed in their finest western apparel.  We’re dressing in western gear in anticipation of our rodeo, which we’ll talk about later in this post.  The cowboys were found participating in all sort of activities. One activity, bug boxes, is a big hit with the campers. They build them, paint them, and the fill them with the bugs found around camp.

Camper and buddy putting in the final nails

This camper has decided to makes some 
changes with bugs in residence

First construction, then comes the paint

Putting the wire netting on his bug box

Camper and buddy getting some painting in



If  you get tired of building bug boxes, there’s always the spin art or the music tent, where many a country ballad can be sung.

Remote control speed boats were added to the camp activities.  The campers quickly got the hang of it, racing around the pond.

Remote control speed boats racing in the camp pond


Camper and buddy driving the boat

Uncle Henry's there in case a speed boat
 needs to be fished out of the pond.

Trips down the zipline are always popular ways to spend activity time. Safety is always first at our camp.

Safety first stepping into a zipline harness 

Flying down the zipline

Tonight we had our first ever camp rodeo.  We had barrel racing, steer roping, snake in the boots, horseshoes and much more.  At our camp, everyone comes out a winner. This year each contest got a sheriff’s badge to denote their winning style. 

Horseshoes camp style

Steer roping

Camp Jenga  

Water pistol sharp shooting 

Stick horse barrel racing 

Clowning around rodeo style

Uncle Jim and Aunt Kathy manage the game

Cactus ring toss 

Pastor Sue ropes her steer

It’s time to say, “Happy trials to you, until we meet again” which for us will be breakfast.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Day One- Camp 2022 In Full Swing

The camp excitement crescendos with the arrival of the bus. 20 campers were met by the excited buddies displaying signs of welcome with their names on them. 

The bus arrives 

Buddies welcome their campers

Welcome to camp

A welcome from the Chapel Crew

After a brief safety discussion and lunch, it was off to the lake and down to the Activity Center to check out the cool things campers can do. Campers could be seen rushing from activity to activity.

Bubbles at the Activity Center

Bug Boxes

Woodwork at the Activity Center

Buddy and camper checkout the water

The Drama Team started play practice with costume fittings and rehearsals. This year's play is centered around Esther, a poor girl who was made queen, and later rescued her people for a certain death.  The story will unfold throughout the week. 

Mordecai played by Uncle Bill 

Day One is also a time for new campers to receive their quilts. This has been a longstanding tradition for our camp.  The Linus Project is a group of quilters who have been providing quilts for our campers for a number of years. The quilts are cherished by our campers, and many have turned into keepsakes for campers long after they attend our camp. We are grateful to the Project Linus group for their many years of service to our camp. 

Happy camper with a new quilt

To learn more about Project Linus, follow this link to their web site [Project Linus]