Friday, August 3, 2012

Camp CedarRidge 2012

Where to even begin?  Wow, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind.  I always look forward to camp, but this year I think I looked as much forward to going home as I did to going.  Not only was it EXHAUSTING this year, I also didn't see Rosebud nor Monkey Man for nearly two weeks.  That was emotionally hard.  All of my "free" time was spent nursing, so I only talked to #1 maybe three times for a grand total of maybe thirty minutes during my two week stay.  

Here it is in a nutshell.  On the way up I stopped at "The Bear Store" where my family would often stop on the way home from camp.  There used to be a live bear there, hence the name, but he is no longer with us.  Instead they have a variety of animals (deer, llama, bobcat) on display along with, of course, their ice cream. This trip could be called "Snug meets junk food".
 Along with the horses (which he never got to ride, I was WAY too busy) Snug and LMM talk about Tuck Shop when they talk about camp.  They LOVE our camp store.  Apparently last year they each got a ring pop while we were at family camp, and Snug went and bought one ASAP this year.
 The last time I had a baby (Rosebud) at camp she was eleven weeks old.  And she had a super sunny disposition.
This time while I had a baby (Sweet Pea) at camp she was seven months old.  And she has a sorta sunny-if-you-stand-on-your-head-and-bend-over-backwards-to-please-her disposition.
A mere four days previous to our being at camp, Sweet Pea learned to crawl proficiently.  As in FAST.  Our camp is rustic.  It is not exactly "baby proof"  so I had to get creative in keeping her contained when she wasn't on my back or in a sling!
 This crate filing system box was perfect in the camp office for most of the two weeks until the end when she learned to pull herself to a stand.  We all just worked around her and she had plenty to watch!
 A friend of mine gave this to me when Snug was a baby.  We've lovingly named it the "hexagon of death" as most of our children have SCREAMED bloody murder whenever placed in it.  Thankfully no one has clued Sweet Pea into the fact that she is supposed to hate being in there and when we were outdoors it would buy me 10 minutes of baby-free time.  You may or may not recognize it from early episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond.  It was a staple in their living room set.
 Snug had a fantastic time.  The first week he was mostly with me or my girls (for those of you who don't know I am the Camper In Leadership Training {CILT} instructor).  He got bored at times and although he was a great help with Sweet Pea doing things like running to check and see that she was still napping or getting a dry diaper, after a week I could tell he was done being a babysitter.  The second week there were four other boys as staff kids and he joined their ranks.  I lost my help, but staff stepped up and filled in and Snug had a better week.
 One of the things our girls have to learn is to build a one-match fire.  It then has to burn for 10 minutes.  They are allowed to light two matches if the first one blows out before it lights anything (as is often the case...some of them have never even lit a match on their own before!).  If they have need of a third match they must knock their fire down and start again.  Snug took note of the fire building and began his own.
No one had to knock his over due to too many matches, he did a great job bumping it himself.  I caught this moment on camera when he was upset that it fell.
 When he finally had what he believed to be a good fire, he asked me to light it.  With one match I got it going and it actually burned way more than 10 minutes.  He was pretty proud!  He
 That's me on the left.  This is what I do at camp.  I teach.  I do other things too, which you'll see later, but mainly I am there to lecture.  I teach about things like fires, how to lead a Bible study, discipline, personal Bible study, how to lead group games, how to lead songs/worship and the list goes on and on.  This year we had six new girls begin the program.  I will not (NO.  I seriously won't) be their instructor next year as I cannot put in the time it takes over the winter anymore nor do the two consecutive weeks without my family. However, I have every intention of keeping up with the girls this year via Facebook and being at their graduation next summer.  I love them very much and I love the CILT program.  It is so hard for me to step down as I LOVE the CILT counselor I work with (we make a great team) and I love the program.  This was my ninth summer as instructor.  This was my 25th summer at camp.
 I got this picture one afternoon.  This is our camp road.  It is sand.  We are in the woods.  It is super rustic, but what a place to be quiet and listen to the Lord.  That was one thing that didn't happen for me this year as I had two young children with me.  I felt pulled in too many directions.  My quiet times were rushed at best.  However, most summers I have time to really reflect on my relationship with the Lord, pray, and return refreshed.
 Our camp, like every other, is full of traditions.  One of them is swamp stomping (pretty sure that isn't like most camps).  This is Snug right before he had his very first swamp stomping experience.  I didn't go...but I have been in the past.
 This is him after swamp stomping.  Our cedar swamp is full of black black icky mud.  It doesn't look that black here because the kids get out of the swamp and then roll in the camp road to make the white sand stick all over them.
 He had a great time.
 One of the things that our girls learn to do is run an overnight.  This year it RAINED almost the entire time.  Made no difference to me as "Mallee" (the CILT counselor) and I sleep in a tent.  There was a tent for Snug to sleep in also.  However, the rain definitely persuaded the girls to  construct a good shelter for themselves using only twine and two tarps!
 They did a great job also of getting a fire going so that we could eat dinner.  Snug loved being around campfires and I was surprised when he didn't request one this year for his birthday-he usually does.
 In the morning Mallee and I cook breakfast for the girls as they clean up and pack up to go back into camp.
 Snug made many craft projects during the first week as the craft cabin was where several of my girls spread out and studied/worked at the tables.  There are a million things there to keep someone busy!
 The pool was also someplace where Snug hung out quite a bit.  It was in the hundreds several days.  Thanks to his Pop Pop working really hard to get the pool going, he had a place to cool off!
 Over the weekend we went back into civilization to do laundry and buy supplies for the next week.  Snug's job was to push the quarters into the machines.
 Cell reception is sketchy at best at camp, and my girls enjoyed getting their phones back for the weekend (they don't get to have them at camp anyway).  A couple of them let Snug play games while at the laundromat.
 This is one of my former CILTS.  She is now the business manager and I LOVE her.  So do my kids  :o)  It has been an honor the past couple of summers to look around and see so many of my former girls serving the Lord at camp.  Very humbling to be used of the Lord, and such a blessing.
 Town also means more ice cream.  Heavens.
 This is Sweet Pea in one of the three places in camp where she could crawl around.  We stayed in the Health Center (because there was running water and electricity right in the building) and I was blessed by two different nurses who helped care for her and who kept very clean floors!

 Midweek of the second week we take our girls to visit another camp and this year we went to Barakel.  I love to see the work God is doing there.  It is a very different camp than ours, but I consider them to be brothers and sisters in ministry.  When we arrived we were asked if we'd like to try the zip line.  OF COURSE!!!!  That's Mallee above, my partner in crime.
 I had never done a zip line before, but I loved every second of it!
 Liz, do you recognize this???
 Week two I also taught a class (I always do, but this one was special) with regular campers.  It was called "Extreme Makeover, Camp Edition".  We have a Rec Hall which, as a kid, I always thought was called the Wreck Hall because, well, it has always been kinda a mess.  Our program director had visions of it NOT being a mess and being someplace the kids actually want to hang out.  It was assigned to me to make that happen.  I was given an assistant (who we call Hammer) and he and I led these wonderful young ladies on a crazy adventure.  They willingly gave up part of their camp time to sew, clean, and paint.  I was "T Pennington" as my nickname at camp (we all have one) is Tito.
 It was hours of work, and I don't have a before picture for you...I forgot to do that.  Just trust me.  The room was a dark blue and everything in it was painted primary colors.  Most of the game tables had tons of junk stacked on them that people had just put there to get out of the way other places in camp.  There were tons of mattresses stacked in there for extra beds when needed.  We cleaned it all up, put things back where they had migrated from, threw stuff away that was not useful/clean enough/in one piece and made some new throw pillows to brighten it up a bit.
 But this is one of the "after" pictures.  The colorful flooring above is one of the three places in camp where Sweet Pea could crawl...but not while there was wet paint so that made her time here very limited.
 I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but I was so tired.  I was afraid I might not make it home driving.  Thankfully one of my girls whom I've known pretty much her entire life rode up and back with me so she was able to talk to me and keep me awake.
 LMM got to come up Friday of the last week to be there with my dad (he does tons of maintenance).  I didn't know it but the camp board and my dad had something special planned for the Friday night campfire and thanked me for being the CILT instructor.  It has certainly been my pleasure.  Of course LMM also remembered Tuck Shop and also remembered last year's ring pop.  He bought another one in no time and was quite pleased.
On our way out of camp my parents used to take a picture of my brother and I by the camp sign.  I now take one of my kids too, but I took a closer one because the looks on their faces is too funny.

I love camp, and I love my family.  It is so hard to be torn between the two, but for now my family is coming first.  I'll still be involved, but not in the same capacity.  I sincerely hope that camp will be around for each of my children to attend as campers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bless you Jennifer, I know what a terrific job you did/do with the camp and your children. I know it is hard to give up camp. I loved it too -- but other things (family) and other ministries will fill in. Nothing will ever take it's place completely -- that's camp -- but there will be other loves and God will bless you in whatever ministry you choose -- love you, AB