See, I should have titled the last blog "Red, and Back." That pic, by the way, was from the day I got to be my team's flag bearer for no other reason than I was on the red team and happened to be sitting on the aisle when the Rec Director was looking for a flag bearer that day. Hey, I'll take it.
I think I actually held up pretty well at camp. I made it to every 7:00 a.m. sponsors' meeting, spent each day walking everywhere and Star Trekkin' when necessary, and managed to fall asleep by midnight every night. I tried to set an example for my kids, getting them to dive in and do crazy things or try new things, which means I did venture into the mud pit for tug of war, and I engaged whole-heartedly in the silly dances, and I made sure I was actually doing a quiet time during "cabin quiet time" (as opposed to, say, catching a quick nap or going over the schedule). It was a long and full five days/four nights, but I really enjoyed myself.
The worship music was really good. However, they always projected the words on the screen with animated screensavers behind them. You all remember that 3-D brick maze screensaver that you couldn't take your eyes off of no matter where in the room you were and what else was happening? This was a lot like that. Also, because this was preteen camp, the camp director's M.O. from the get go was to get the kids really psyched up. Like, the entire first day was pretty much geared to get the kids screaming for everything. Good morning. RAAAAAAAAAAAR!!!! How are you guys doing today? RAAAAAAAAAAR!!!!! Are you ready to have a good day AT CAMP? RAAAAAAAAAAARRR!!!! How many of you ate BREAKFAST THIS MORNING? RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! WHO LOVES JESUS??? RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! I'M HOLDING A TOILET BRUSH! WHO WANTS A RUBBER DUCKY? RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!
And I get that. Believe me, I do. You want to get the kids invested early, and sheer enthusiasm for enthusiasm's sake is a good way to do that. However, if you get to the end of the week and the kids won't pipe down long enough for you to finish your important announcement, well, don't stand on the stage and look down disapprovingly at them. 'Cause you brought that on yourself.
Also also also, if you're a magician, and you use a magic trick that you can't solve as your visual aide, explaining that it's simply impossible, much like it's not possible for us to justify ourselves to God outside of the blood of Christ, that's actually pretty cool. If, however, at the very end of your message, you snap your fingers and then complete the impossible trick, you've pretty much ruined your object lesson.
All in all, though, it was a good camp. Not great, but good. I liked everyone on the staff, I enjoyed the speaker and the worship band, and the guy with the monkey puppets was phenomenal. (Years from now, all that the kids will remember about this trip was the guy with the monkey puppets and 'Nana puddin') It was also a great learning week for me, too. The camp staff hosted workshops for the sponsors during some of the activities, and I was able to slip away and catch a couple. Not only did I come back with some ideas for things I'd like to try at our church, but I've also developed a better understanding for what children's ministry is/can be. I see a lot of areas where I (and/or our church) is lacking, and I see areas I want to continue to grow in. (For the record, Star Trekkin' is not one of these areas, as I'm apparently already awesome at that)
Oh yeah, and two of our kids got saved. I had the privilege of praying with one of our boys to receive Christ. Both of the kids who were saved (all eight kids we brought, for that matter) were born and raised in the church. I can't wait to see the reactions of all the folks back home who have loved, taught, and prayed for these kids their whole lives. Now, I pray that I'll learn how to better equip our kids to take the next step in their faith.