It's gone—the last airplane, carrying the last group of campers. Suddenly reality hits home. It's all over.
Our summer retreat occurred on the island of Barbados, the most easterly of the Caribbean chain of islands. It was to be the home of nine female and 13 male campers, accompanied by their nine counselors, all coming from the five countries of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Bahamas and Barbados. Unfortunately two of the registered campers were unable to make it this year.
Camp officially started on Thursday, July 19, at 7 p.m. with camp orientation.
Before this was the counselors' orientation. Todd Carey, the camp director, explained the role of the counselor and the objectives of the camp. His wealth of experience came to bear as his inquisitive audience—mindful of the responsibilities placed upon them—made queries on a number of issues. He was also assisted by the other elders, Arnold Hampton, Leeford Burke and Kingsley Mather.
With this information in hand, the campers were ushered in for their orientation. They were introduced to their counselors and given a list of guidelines including the camp theme, "Bearing Fruit." With all the bases covered, the campers prepared for the first activity of summer camp 2007, a domino tournament/games evening.
This event provided lots of laughs, especially for one of the Jamaicans, named Teo, who controlled his table from beginning to end. Most of the laughs came, however, from a group of about 10 gathered for a card game called "donkey," while another group preferred a quieter game of Chinese checkers. The two-hour session came to a close, and so it was time to sing the camp song, "Thank You, Lord." With that, it was off to the dorms in anticipation of day two.
What do Star Wars and Chronicles of Narnia have in common? This was the question asked the next morning at the Christian Living class. The teens were able to see the attempt by the media to weave their version of biblical insight into motion pictures without using God's name or biblical references.
Mr. Carey then keyed in on the "true force," which is the power of the Holy Spirit. The campers were encouraged to recognize that they had "the real deal," and a Father they needed to become more aware of. Mr. Carey spoke of the steps to conversion and the benefits of being different. During the session the campers turned to scriptures and some chose to read aloud for the group.
The next destination was Ocean Park, where campers saw and learned about piranhas, sting rays and other aquatic animals. Many of the teens amused themselves with touching and holding the sea slugs, conk shell and sea sponge. One even dared to pick up the island's largest sea crabs. Outside of Ocean Park the group played miniature golf.
After Ocean Park it was off to the beach. Dover Beach, one of the many beautiful beaches in Barbados, was chosen as it also provided the group with an opportunity to shop for souvenirs. Eight of the campers formed teams and played "pass the ball" in the sea, while several others swam.
With day two almost over, we headed back to camp, ate and prepared for the Sabbath. The next activity was Bible study. The group, including the counselors, was split into two. Each team was given the same three rounds of questions. It was a most intense search of the Scriptures. The other three elders were the judges. In the end, the winning team won by only two points. Sabbath notes were written afterward, and the camp song ended that night's activity.
Sabbath morning provided for another exciting Bible game—Bible baseball, the girls vs. the boys. With some good pitching by the guy's pitcher, Mosi, the girls struggled for home runs. Trudy Burke, the girls' pitcher, fought hard for the ladies, but fell just short, as the boys won by one.
The next highlight was reading the Sabbath notes as we prepared to leave to attend services with the Barbadian brethren. At services, Curt, one of the campers, volunteered to be songleader. There were two pieces of special music, one from the children's choir and the other from the Barbados choir. The sermon was given by Mr. Carey. This message encouraged all to pack the things mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-7 2 Peter 1:5-7  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
American King James Version×and to leave behind those mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 Proverbs 6:16-19  These six things does the LORD hate: yes, seven are an abomination to him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,  An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,  A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brothers.
American King James Version×.
Back at the dorm at the close of the Sabbath, the campers and some of the counselors entertained themselves with a little friendly water warfare. The night had just begun. Up next was karaoke, followed by a dance. It was a night that revealed some hidden talents among the young, and the elders were not to be outdone. When it came to the dance, the Bahamians and Jamaicans really came alive. The deejay found himself swamped with requests.
This was to be the last night shared by the campers, with only the Barbadians and Jamaicans staying on for another day. E-mail addresses and telephone numbers were exchanged, and for the first time, rounding up the troops became a challenge. But dry your tears—next year promises to be longer and louder than ever! UN