Our theme this year was “God’s Commandments,” focusing on not only the Ten Commandments, but on the Great Commandments as well.
The campers enjoyed making Ten Commandment plaques in arts and crafts. The material to make these was mixed right on site and campers had to work fast to get the molds ready, put reinforcing mesh into the mold and insert a hanging hook into the back before the mix hardened. They painted them and took them home. They also created 400 cards to be sent to area shut-ins for the Feast.
Temperatures at camp this year were in the upper 80s and mid-90s. Mornings were cool and started with Christian living where campers learned targeted lessons under the beautiful canopy of the northwest forest, against a backdrop of Mount Hood. As the day heated up, campers found relief with a number of water-related activities like swimming, a river float and outside sports where water cannons and sprinklers made frequent appearances.
Archery is a favorite for so many, and this year campers got to shoot at a variety of targets designed to challenge and inspire new skills. Winners of the best shot competition were awarded with handmade bows by craftsman Mike Hunicke, with a third bow awarded this year based primarily on attitude and character.
In dance class, older campers learned to swing dance. The oldest dorms had a dance one night after campfire where they learned the art of asking one another to dance, and of escorting their partner out to the floor and back again.
Older dorms also had the additional activity of a challenge course, which taught them about the “Zone,” and what it is like to go to teen camp and participate at a different level. Concepts of independent thinking were introduced into each of the elements as they had to learn to work together and pass each level.
Another hit was the addition of indoor sports this year with activities like crab soccer with an oversized ball, kickball, and a life-sized Hungry Hippos game. The end of the day found us at the campfire where we recapped the day, watched hilarious skits, heard clever chants, and sang songs. The last day of camp had a camp-wide capture the flag game before the final awards ceremony. Each year activity leaders present awards highlighting achievements like learning to swim, achieving various goals and showing wonderful attitudes. The final award presented is one that is decided on by each dorm. This year, the award was named after our former director, John Cafourek, who gave so many years to this program and offered the type of leadership that we can all aspire to follow.
Our goal is for campers to leave with the word of God in their hearts and minds, reinforcing that there is a better way to live than this world has discovered. That we can support each other and inspire one another to grow and become faithful members of God’s family.