So as some of you know, and the rest are literally about to find out, I spent this weekend at camp. It was one of our Fusion Weekends (a week of camps packed into a long weekend) and was held at the Ranch. Now, before I get to the topic of the post, I would like to briefly talk about the weekend.
I left for camp early Saturday and got to camp in time for breakfast. The rest of the day was spent in true camp fashion…never stopping. From breakfast, it was on to fireside then camp games followed by lunch and activities all afternoon. It was amazing and it felt great to be back in the swing of things-truly back in the hustle and bustle of camp life. To be able to work and worshiping along side such great people as the camp staff and hang out with campers was truly a blessing and just what I needed. Although I am back home now, completely tired and worn out, I also feel so rejuvenated and refreshed. It’s truly only a feeling brought about by camp, and something that people who have not experienced camp may not fully understand.
Now I would like to dive a little more into the purpose of this post and how the title relates.Then on Sunday afternoon, after I left the Ranch, I headed up for a quick visit to IslandLake(where I worked for the past two summers as the Recreation Coordinator). During part of my visit, I spent time simply walking around camp, taking it all in. While I was walking and revisiting all the different areas, I was hit with overwhelming feelings and emotions as memories of all types flooded back in to my mind. I have so many memories associated with camp, it seems that literally everywhere I looked I remembered something else. You see, working and living at camp was a life-changing experience for me. As I think about it, I do not think any singular place or time in my life as affected me as IslandLake. The memories I have from camp vary across a wide range and spectrum of emotions and stir up various responses. It was during my time there that I learned, lead, grew and deepened my faith more than at any other place or time in my life. The people I met during my time at camp have changed my life forever, in various ways, and some of them I consider my closest friends and confidants.
This gets more to what this post is about…the stark truth about my future with Camps. I was really hit by the realization this weekend that I do not know if or when I will be returning to Camps, in any sort of capacity. This may not seem like much to someone who has not experienced something like this, but I assure you that it is to me. As I think forward to the summer, it is strange to think that I will not be returning as a member of Summer Staff. Do not get me wrong, I have a great career job now and enjoy it immensely, but I am still not used to the thought of not returning to Camp. I have gone several times since the end of the summer to help out, and I will keep doing so from time to time, but I feel that even those times are coming to a close. As the summer gets underway, there will be a new staff, a new community, one in which I am not a part of and I do not overly belong. I do not want it to appear that I am intruding in any way on this new and developing community and will base my visits/volunteering accordingly.
Camp has truly changed my life. From the people I met and interacted with, to the activities and experiences, and everything in between, my life has been altered. I am so thankful and feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of this environment and I will always remember the times along the way. I am not saying it was all easy or good at the time, but everything worked and flowed together to put me where I am today. I love the mission and drive behind Island Lake and Miracle Ranch and will continue to pray for continued growth and outreach over the years to come. And, should it be according to God’s will for my life, I may just return at some point; for now, I am left with the memories, relationships and lessons from along the way…things I will never let go of and will always remember.
Here are just a few pictures I took while I was there this weekend. A very small, limited glimpse at Island Lake. Any amount or quality of pictures does not fully give justice to the place. There are more pictures and videos on both mine and Crista Camps Facebook pages, I encourage you to check them out.
The main sign at the entrance to Island Lake.
Fireside...The place of so many wonderful experiences...from fun times with fellow staff to watching campers choose to follow Christ, this is definitively hallowed ground.
My favorite place at Island Lake. Out at the waterfront, looking out over the lake. Such a peaceful place. I have done many devotions and had numerous conversations out at the very end of the dock.