Rising Above the World Today
Most came from Texas and the surrounding states, but there were also campers from Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and even Holland. They were served a week of activities, social time and exploring biblical principles by 41 dedicated staff members. Although the temperatures were in the 90s each day, we were grateful for some clouds, nice breezes and the huge trees throughout the camp. Getting to the lake or the pool every afternoon helped keep everyone comfortable. The YMCA moved our dates up this year from the end of July to the early part, and it was a blessing for the camp since there isn't usually such a nice breeze at the end of July. The staff helped campers focus on this year's Christian Living theme of "Camp as a Bridge: Rising Above the World Today" to help them see how they are to stand out as lights in a darkened world. Our morning Compass Checks each focused on an aspect of how we stand out. They began with an overview reminding everyone that our way of thinking sets the stage for who and what we are. The next topic was appearance, where the main point was that it's not just what we wear, but our attitude and mental approach are also critical. That was followed by a reminder about how our speech should be "a cut above" the world. Thursday the focus was on the influence of media and a reminder that we must monitor what we listen to or watch. Wrapping up our Compass Checks for the week was the topic of our work ethic. The camp was reminded that we should work as though we're working for Christ. Those who show a good work ethic—being dependable and hard working—will stand out from the rest. The split sermons on the Sabbath also followed the same theme, exploring the topics of respect for God and others and of the importance of vision to keep us motivated to stand out from the world. The activity schedule changes from year to year and old favorites—basketball, crafts, dance, football, afternoon at the lake (with skiing, tubing and kayaking), strength training, swimming and volleyball—continue to rank high on the camper surveys. This year we added speedaway, a cross between soccer and football, and had a life skills class on nonverbal communication. We also switched the evening Bible study Q&A sessions to include an all-boys and all-girls session and one with each individual dorm. And we added a new addition to the Friday night meal that we hope to make a tradition—grilled steak and chicken. Evening activities are a chance for more fellowship, and on two nights campers were able to choose which activity they wanted to participate in. Monday night we added a camper-staff volleyball challenge, while other staff and campers did a mix and match in speedaway. Tuesday night was our Getting-to-Know-You Dance with mixers and line dances, and Thursday night the entire camp participated in Novelty Olympics. Bible-based skits were presented by each dorm for Friday night, followed by ice cream and more friendship building. Every year bonds are strengthened among campers and staff, and eventually it's time go back home. E-mail addresses and phone numbers are exchanged, and plans are made to reunite at the Feast of Tabernacles, regional sports events or at camp next summer.