Camp News & Blog

Be Prepared

Speaking with a number of our new camp families through a Facebook Live event the other day has me thinking about being prepared. A wonderful coincidence, then, that one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books comes back to the movie theaters today:

“Be prepared to appreciate what you meet.”

Fremen proverb, Dune

Everything – literally everything – can be instructive, can be helpful. For example, a few weeks ago, I slipped while stepping onto a small bridge. My right shin caught the brunt of the impact, sliding along the rough edge of the wooden bridge.

Now, why the heck should I appreciate that moment? Because it will remind me – for a long time – to take better stock of my surroundings. The bridge was in perpetual shade. It had been a damp morning. I was not wearing good shoes for wood which would obviously be slippery. And, I was in a rush… for no good reason.

So, I appreciate the lesson. (I didn’t at the moment – it hurt like crazy!) I simply wasn’t prepared to appreciate it at the time. Which made the accident hurt more than it should have.

Prepared the First… and Second Time

So many of our first time campers go through very natural missing-home-feelings during their first summer with us. These campers – and their families – are prepared for their feelings and appreciate them for what they are: a reminder that they are doing something new (and awesome) away from something they know, trust and love.

The real surprise comes when our campers meet those same feelings of missing home in their second summer.

“What a second – I thought I LOVED camp?” these kiddos think. Because many of second-summer campers aren’t prepared to meet (the still very natural) missing-home-feelings, the experience throws them for a loop and makes them question their desire to be at camp… even though they don’t want to leave on the last day!

Appreciate All of It

Campers, you need to prepare yourself to appreciate all that you encounter at camp: a TON of fun experiences, a bunk full of new friends from all over, fantastic mentors, coaches and teachers… and the feelings of missing home and a gaga knuckle or two and a bunk full of new friends. The great food and the every now and then ‘meh’ food. The sunshine and the rain. The wins and the learning moments.

Be prepare to appreciate what you meet. Come to camp with that plan in place and you’ll have a blast. See you soon!

Lesson in the Woods

While Kate traveled with our middle son to a college visit recently, I took over the enjoyable task of walking camp dog Maverick. Not too far from our home sits a relatively new network of paths through a beautiful wood. Being a lovely Saturday morning, we took a field trip to the trails. Little did I know it would lead to a lesson.

The trails had been laid out by a family wanting to leave a positive impact. It wound through the woods, across and alongside streams, under a patchwork canopy of beautiful leaves for just under 3 miles.

But the path itself… there are stumps and rocks and roots. After stumbling a few times while watching Maverick bound around, I realized it was important to pay attention to on the path itself. That’s when I ran into the spider webs….

I’m not talking about little spiders and simple little webs. The newly arrived Jurro spiders are really something and their webs like to stick. (They look a lot more dangerous than they are….)

Against Me? Nope….

The stumps, the rocks, the webs, the spiders… for a moment, it felt like everything on this beautiful trail was out to get me. But, as Mav rollicked by me, I realized all those things had nothing to do with me. If I wanted to make it out of the woods safely, I needed to pay attention to the path and what was around it. But if I wanted to enjoy the experience, I needed to take some time to look around and enjoy the scenery, the leaves and the dog.

So how does one do both? I think it’s by accepting that, as we walk along a beautiful path, there are going to be bumps and bruises, a few spider webs and maybe even a tree branch you run into. Those things aren’t out to get you. They weren’t traps set just for you. They were simply the result of sharing this world with all of the plants and creatures and nature itself.

As many with many things, this reminded me about camp. Camp is BEAUTIFUL. Sly Lake glistens, the trees are tall, the grass green and the bunks comfortable. And, sometimes, you get bumped into in the Dining Hall and your food plops to the floor. You get a great note from home that actually makes you miss home a bit more than it props you up. Or, try as you might, you can’t quite master getting the wakeboard under your feet.   

Your Choice

Do these (very natural) setbacks take away from the beauty and joy of the experience of being at camp? They can… if you let them. However, if you realize these things are ‘not out to get you’ but rather simply the small bumps that you’ll inevitably get when experiencing camp (or school or working or… life!), you’ll be able to take more moments to look around and enjoy it all.

Remember, in a beautiful walk through the woods, you may stumble on a root or have spider web or two clinging to your shoulders. That’s ok. Those just add to the experience of a beautiful journey. We should be grateful for these little bumps and reminders!

No Words….

I’ve been trying to put all of the feelings and concerns and thoughts about this past week in Israel and Gaza into words. For the first time in a long while, I don’t think I can do it in a way that would communicate the heartbreak I’ve felt this week.

So, I’ll say this:

We have a number of friends and families who have been directly affected by all that has gone on during this past week. We stand with y’all and will support you however we can.

For our campers who are frightened and confused by this violence and all the news coming out of Israel and Gaza, I’ll pass along one bit of wisdom introduced to me by Munner, my grandmother. One of her favorite verses from the Old Testament adorns more than a few Temples and schools I’ve visited. It seems appropriate to remember and put into action now.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

  And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

  And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Love y’all. If we can help, let us know.