It’s pretty close to Thanksgiving and our break and though I am eager to get back to the ol’ Land of Cleve and all my connections there, I am a little nervous about leaving camp for a whole week!
The past three retreats have brought home some of my favorite summer campers and counselors. Seriously. The things that have been brought up in the last week have been nothing but funny and proud moments that we have all been able to share. Of the 5 kids that I have seen (and somehow managed to have 4 of them in my different small groups!), 3 of them were in the village during my time with the explorers. I learned, laughed and cried a lot in those weeks, and I know the kids did as well. It was so wonderful to hear about their lives, how school is going and what has stuck with them from camp.
Unless you worked with the kids specifically, I think you can only tell so many stories about how great, witty, smart, funny, etc. they are until the rest of the population is sick of hearing about it. I know that’s something I struggle with here. Everyone “gets it” but they can only handle so many of these stories as well. To have the kids themselves here and reliving stories of us “stealing” cookies from the kitchen, the 3 hour siestas in the ‘vill and of course, the memorable frozen bagels and fruit snacks breakfast was just the pick me up I needed to head into the break.
My favorite moment, though, came from this last Confirmation retreat where we had 2 explorer ladies with us. I was preparing to give my testimony on how I “Live Like That” which usually involves a testimony on our gifts that God has given us. I had done this talk earlier in the week for some middle schoolers and while it went alright, it was not my best testimony and I knew I could do better for this group. So I was writing a draft and was thumbing through some old notes and stumbled across a few affirmations from the explorers this summer. One talked about how glad she was that I was “real” and showed them that counselors aren’t perfect but can still learn from their mistakes, like everyone else. When I found this, I knew that I had to scrap my draft and give a real talk. I ended up talking about how I haven’t always known how to “Live Like That.”I was honest in saying that my college life wasn’t always the most Christ-centered but coming to camp and surrounding myself with good people who can go out and have a good time, who love the same things I do, but still put God above the rest, has helped me learn to prioritize and live for God and live my faith to the fullest. It might have been the best testimony I have given all year. Probably the coolest moment for me was knowing that the explorer who wrote that affirmation was present for the talk and she was aware of how much her words impacted me. (I guess the hugs when the girls came racing off the bus ranks at a VERY close second favorite moment!)
So that’s what I’m most thankful for this week. Explorers, Confirmation, the Holy Spirit and Camp Gray. Not gonna lie, I live a freaking sweet life and I would not trade it for the world.