Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Made This Week Of Camp So Awesome: nThe Costumes

And now, the final installment of
What Made This Week Of Camp So Awesome
The Costumes

Though I am an avid fan of costume parties, I do not have the same excitement for camp themed-rec days. Last year, my friend Luke really outshone me in this department. 

This year, it was essentially handed to me when I found out we were Team Star Wars. I called my friend Sara, who owns a rarely-worn Jabba costume (I borrowed it a few years ago) and then I knew, I knew the way you know about a good melon, that this was the year that would make up for all other years of poor participation. 

Typically, the third night of camp is "Fancy Night" which students have hijacked and made "Date Night" which essentially means that one girl from my cabin and I would be the only two left out of the boy-girl-boy-girl pre-dinner photos and I would be left to tell that lone girl that "it wasn't a big deal" and "that nerdy freshman boy was forced to ask ____, so it didn't really count anyway..." It was painful. Every. Year.

Thankfully, this year, the staff switched things up and made Fancy Night in to 90's Night. 
^^ the invitation said to "dress like your favorite 90s Pop Star"and that's exactly what Jordan did

The girls in my cabin were hilarious: running around the room borrowing lipsticks and passing out scrunchies (which are, evidently, on sale in packs of 5 at Target) and stopping by my bunk to ask how to do their hair to match the 90s niche they were working toward.

Halfway through the 90-minute prep period, I began to look around the room and realize that each girl had, essentially, decided to dress as a specific memory from my elementary school years. Lauren was the first to dawn on me when I realized she was dressed exactly like "the coolest sixth grader at school" wearing "all of the things my mom wouldn't let me wear" (black knee-highs, dark eyeliner and a flannel around her waist.) Jazmine was dressed in an updated version of what I wore to a birthday party at Hard Rock Cafe when I was in 7th grade: a body suit with a big flannel open over it, jean shorts with bike short AND tights underneath, scrunched socks and boots. (An outfit inspired by something I saw on RoundHouse--incidentally, I'd like to have the blazer Crystal Lewis is wearing at 0:52 if anyone knows where to find one--which took me ten minutes to take off to go to the bathroom!)

^^ then there was Rylee...wearing my Mervyn's-purchased uniform from fifth to seventh grade: a baby doll dress. 

^^ Cheryl is a pro at the whole costume-thing (and partially responsible for the switching of the evening's theme) so, of course, her costume was incredible: Blossom (she carried around a photo of Joey Lawrence for most of dinner!)

^^ Austin won the costume contest with his perfectly 90s-look: a gross striped velour button-up shirt, that shark-tooth necklace and the purple-tinted skinny glasses. How in the world was this ever cool?!

I'm still waiting on some of the videos to be edited--hoping sometime I can post one of the highlights know, for posterity.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Made This Week Of Camp So Awesome: The Activities

What Made This Week Of Camp So Awesome
The Activities

The camp we visit is incredible for so many reasons: the layout (everything centered around a main lawn, no big hills or dark paths to get to and from your cabin), the cabins (they provide bedding and pillows, no sleeping bags!), and the free time activities (zip line, blob, water slides, and a giant swing.)

^^ my crazy girls decided to go on a morning hike. i took this photo from my bed, thankyouverymuch.

^^ each day, there's a huge recreation game designed to engage all 300 campers at once. most of the games are messy, all of them are perfect for my ultra-competitive girls.

^^ the water slide in to the pool is my very favorite piece of camp. but this giant swing is a close second. i can't begin to explain the emotional dichotomy that occurs the second that swing starts to ascend.   

^^ this was a new addition to camp this year. they sent two guys to the middle of the lake (in a boat they paddled out using two frisbees) and launched water balloons at them from shore (while the rest of us watched from the dock.) you would have thought they were launching daggers at them based on the squeals coming from the boat as the balloons approached. when the water balloons ran out, three boys swam out to capsize the boat. one leader paddled the boat to the blob and jumped out while the other tried (and failed) to keep the attackers at bay. in the end, luke ended up under the boat, losing his glasses to the dark depths of the lake. i could not stop giggling through this entire event and requested that we do this every summer.

Friday, August 15, 2014

What Made This Week Of Camp So Awesome: My Friends

What Made This Week Of Camp So Awesome
My Friends

I firmly believe that great work is done by great friends. I have loved, so much, being able to work and serve alongside of some of my very best friends over the years and this week of camp was no different. 

Taking a really long bus ride, only to walk in to a cabin of equally as exhausted, but super excited, high schoolers has the potential to be defeating. But when you get to sit between your great friends at leader meetings and spend the last hour of free time (read: typically the hour the cabin is empty and best time for the leader to take a nap) rehearsing with a band-full of people you love, that makes things a little more manageable. (Don't get me wrong, my girls were the best this year, so I really only had one "shut down" evening and even that only lasted an hour or so.)

Anyway, here are the friends that shared the week at camp with me.

One of the costumes for the skit was a pair of overalls. (Mine are not a costume) When Trevor and I realized we had matching shirts, he graciously agreed to be my twin for a very-well-documented hour or so.

The bus ride home took a few extra hours, for some reason...even the students were  d o n e  with being trapped.

But we made the most of it with lots of photos (including quick photos on each cell phone before handing them back to students) and several rounds of "what are the odds?" and a rousing chorus of "Take Me Out To the Ballgame" as we passed a very full Angel Stadium.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What Made This Week Of Camp So Awesome: My Girls

Looking through the photos from camp, I think it's easier to separate them by categories than by, here's the first installment of 

What Made This Week Of Camp So Awesome
My Girls

This year, at Summer Camp, I had a cabin of 15 Junior/Senior girls. For many of these girls, this was our third (and final) year together. For a few, we'll have one more to make four. 

These girls came to camp ready. Ready to dance. Ready to spend full free times running from the pool to the zipline to the blob and back. Ready to eat ice cream every day. Ready to share the burdens they've been carrying. Ready to cry together. Ready to find freedom that only God can provide.

We had difficult, painful, and hopefully, healing conversations in cabin time...and we laughed and led incredible dance parties during every other moment of camp.  

We also slept from midnight to 7:30am every night. Tell me that's not a dream come true with a cabin full of girls!

Making sure to capture the group as much as I could, here is a group photo (or at least13/15ths of one) from each day.

Eaaaaarly morning Monday

Monday evening with our cabin cups

Tuesday: Team Star Wars
(I'm in the Jabba suit, obviously)

Wednesday: Photo Shoot while in line for the giant swing

Thursday: 90s night

Friday: our traditional cabin photo

Ladies, I am so proud of you. For the ways you love one another. For the way you are seeking to follow God's will for your lives. You are fighting heavier battles than any group I've had before and you are caring for each other so beautifully in the midst of the pain. I love each of you for all that you are...and all that you are becoming. Thanks for a really great week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Home Again, Home Again...

Just getting settled back in to life after a week at summer camp.
I am almost ready to call this my favorite week of camp ever.
Which is saying something considering I've been to (at least) one camp per summer since 1993.
This year just felt different, for some reason...

More stories, photos (and, hopefully, videos) coming soon.