In the morning Pastor Greenbean goes to kids camp. It is a yearly ritual I have observed for sixteen summers, with only one interruption (that was the year I had a doctoral seminar at the same time). There is a special place in my heart for Bible camp which borders on mystical. At this stage in my life and ministry I could easily pawn it off on others or say that I am too busy but the truth remains I could never live with that. I am drawn to it. I think there are several reasons.
Children are where the real action of ministry is. Most people make decisions about their positive or negative feelings about God and church early. If I can make a difference toward helping a little boy or girl recognize how wonderful Jesus is and how great a life devoted to the Lord can be, then it is time well spent. Camp is the one time every year I know that I get the opportunity to do that.
I have made friends amongst the adults at kids camp that I only get to see this one week a year. Some people come far away just to lifeguard (thanks Amanda!) and others are from sister churches nearby, but I never get to see them except at kids camp. What is neat is that these people are like me in their view of the importance of camp—they know how vital it is in the life and formation of these children. These people like Shirley, John and Dan have added so much to my life and appreciation of the greater Kingdom of God.
Camp represents suspended reality. Only at camp do we accept as normal that a sane grown man will yell at us with a bullhorn (thanks Pastor Dan) or people will compete to see who can eat chocolate pudding out of a baby diaper the fastest. No joke, they did that one year and it was great. Camp is almost a theater of the absurd. At camp you shower with flip flops on and dry your towel on a clothesline in the rain.
Camp is something I share with my daughters. There is so much about my daughters that I will never have the chance to share in because of age or gender differences, but camp is something we have. We know about the best places to hide, we know how great the food is, we know about the joy of campfire time, skit night, and cabin cleanup awards. There is one thing about camp, though, that we do not share. My daughters will never know how stinky the boy’s cabin is!
So tomorrow we leave. Pray for the kids, because I’m already trying to think up some cool ghost stories to tell.