Tag Archives: camp

Hand-Written Letters

When I worked at camp, I received numerous hand-written letters from my friends and family. Some I continued corresponding with even after I left camp. I value every letter I received that summer. 

And so, now that my sister and cousin work at camp, I try and send them hand-written letters too. It is a bit tricky because they’ve politely told me they won’t write back. And you can only write so many sentences before you want to throw in a question or two. But I keep writing anyway because I know sometimes the highlights of my days came when I checked my mailbox. 

Writing letters takes time, though. I spent hours today writing. (Well, one of my letters was a 24-page response to a 16-page letter from an old friend who I correspond with regularly but haven’t since before I left for Thailand. Much to catch up on.) It takes time but is worth it! Especially when I get a response. 😉 


Old Friends, All the Acne, and Scary Amounts of Enthusiasm

‘That looks like Joel,’ I think as I stand in the church lobby and observe the other attendees. ‘But he lives in Virginia.’ 

Joel Grewe is the director of Generation Joshua and a mentor of my high school and college years. 

For a moment I marveled at the resemblance before realizing that Generation Joshua’s iGovern West camp started this week. It could be him. 

“Joel?” I ask. 

Considering the odd surroundings, he takes my presence in stride for a few moments before the oddity strikes him. He motions to where the other iGovern counselors are gathered, ready for lunch. I’m ecstatic. These are my old friends. I practically run across the sanctuary to say hi. 

Then I remember what I’m wearing. I chose sleep over makeup this morning; my jeans have a huge hole and my top is a castoff from my sister – a bedazzled Star Wars t-shirt I only wore because I haven’t done laundry. To match my odd shirt, I paired my choker necklace and I have a decided goth-wannabe feel. Or I would if I bothered with makeup. I wish I had; I’m so broken out today. 

I feel very self-conscious. But also excited. Everyone is confused to see me. It is so good to see them, even briefly. These are my people. They invite me to the camp gala on Tuesday night. I don’t have a ride but I will find one. I’m more excited about the gala than I was to go to the Supreme Court last weekend. 

My ecstatic mood lasts through brunch with the other Young Life interns. I’m bubbly and bouncy in a way they haven’t seen before. I’ve mellowed a lot…but there is nothing like Generation Joshua to bring out all my enthusiasm! 


Never Pee Alone

At this point last week, I was wandering around a campground hoping someone would eventually notice me missing and come find me. 

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For the first, and last, weekend of the summer, all 14 of us interns were in town. We decided to then all leave town and go camping in Buena Vista, Colorado. 

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As those who know me well, or not so well, know, I’m not a big camper. But I did spend all of last summer as a camp counselor in a wilderness camp, so I thought, how hard can it be? I felt particularly scornful of the mattress pads and tents. I was a real mountain woman! I did not need such luxuries! (Though I’d take ’em!) 

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Sunday morning I woke up and needed to do my business. I started walking away from the campsite to find a convenient bush…and kept walking…and walking…and eventually it dawned on me that I had no clue where I was. 

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I listened for the sounds of my somewhat loud compatriots but could not hear them. I looked for familiar landmarks but suddenly felt unsure. Was the house on the hill behind us? Or did we drive pass it when entering the campsite? And where had that river come from?

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I considered my options carefully. I could follow the river but, as there was definitely no river by our campground, this would get me nowhere. I could sit in one place and wait for someone to find me. However, I was not confident they had even noticed I was gone yet, or would think to walk this far out in search of me. Further, I was not dressed for the heat and already felt myself sunburning. 

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Worse, the only thing on my feet were cheap, Wal Greens flip flops. Every rock and thorn punctured them and went straight into my foot. No matter how judiciously I avoided the cacti, they somehow found me. 

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After wandering for what felt like days but in reality was only 30 minutes, I realized that if I could find the road that looped around the whole campgrounds, I could find our specific campsite. So I shoved my way through the brush until I located someone else’s campsite, and from there the road. I started walking on it until I heard distant shouting. Up on the largest rock they could find stood three of my fellow interns shouting my name. 

Apparently, they were the 4th group sent out in search of me. 

We made it back just in time for breakfast! 

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Moral of the story? Always take a buddy when you have to pee.


A Summer of Camp

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I am currently flopped on my bedroom floor staring at pictures from camp and trying not to cry. It is an unnerving experience. I didn’t expect this sudden, unexpected influx of emotion. Camp was wonderful, but come August, I was ready to leave. I arrived desperate for a break and camp gave me just that. It gave me time to recharge and refocus. By the end of the summer, I felt energized and eager to tackle the world (or at least, law school.) I was ready to go. 

Biking

Perhaps because of this readiness, I didn’t mourn leaving too much. I knew I would miss several of my fellow staff members, but I’ve said goodbye to people before. It was a great summer but one that had now come to an end. I was happy to stick all my emotions and thoughts into a “Summer 2017” box and move on with life. 

mountain view

I guess, though, that I should have realized that a summer like I experienced needs to be processed through. It needs to be remembered. The good, the bad, the fun, and the painful…all those things are valid and part of my experience. White water rafting, hiking, horseback riding and big base kickball, those are things I did. Me! The girl who previously ranked hiking alongside cavities, or rush hour traffic. 

Hiking

Turns out, I really like mountain biking and kayaking. I love the mountains. I’m not half bad with kids (though I’ll never be an elementary school teacher!) I really like Idaho and Montana. I proudly wear Chacos. You know, before leaving I wrote a blog post where I said, “At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m also excited to find a new side of myself.” Turns out, I did!

Eating

Camp was everything I hoped it would be and more. I found a new side of myself. I relaxed. I was challenged. I made friends. I learned to live more freely and more fully in the moment. Going forward, my hope is that the lessons I learned and the peace I experienced over the summer will stay with me. God is good. It was wonderful to be daily reminded of that this summer. Whether in the mountains of Idaho or the streets of Madison, may I always remember that God is at work and that He will accomplish great things. 

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(Photo Credit goes to Joe Jank who did an amazing job with pictures this summer)


Camp Life 101

Welcome to summer camp, future counselor! Here are a few tips – 

1. You’re going to get a camp nickname. Embrace it. Just imagine yourself as Wasabi from Big Hero Six…

(Incidentally, my camp nickname is Kindle.) 

 

2. Walking, running, jumping…you’ll be doing it all! However, you’ll also be eating camp food which is chalk full of carbs. The camp life isn’t as healthy as you’d think. 

big hero 6

 

3. To be a good counselor:

YAS Mulan/BH6 crossover

 

4. This is how you and your fellow counselors actually look:

“ Phone Backgrounds → Big Hero 6 ”

But this is how campers see you:

Big Hero 6

Embrace it!

 

5. Some campers are going to love you. Others…less so.

Of course this would happen... I don't know who to feel sorry for though, baymax or rocket...

Regardless, love them all!

Tastefully Offensive on Tumblr, briannathestrange: Baymax from ‘Big Hero 6’ is...

 

6. Sometimes camp life is like this:

I just saw this movie, and this guy is awesome!

But it quickly becomes….

Big Hero 6

Be flexible. 

 

7. Always follow the Rule of 3 – never be alone with a camper. It gives you better odds when running from a bear

 

7. Camp life can be exhausting…

Big Hero 6 = Love.

And a little bit crazy

I love crazy! Big hero 6 Hiro and Hanz Literally died laughing xD

But it is always worth it!


Summer Reads

I was going to take a “beginning the adventure selfie” but all my attempts have failed and I feel extremely Basic White Girl so instead please enjoy this snapshot of the books I packed for the summer!

I tried to pick things I could really chew on and re-read since I will have limited/no access to books. I am looking forward to these!


What am I getting myself into?

There are two words that have never been used to describe me: athletic or outdoorsy. This is so patently obvious to those who know me that I can’t think of a way to stress how ridiculous my traipsing off to Idaho must seem. It is crazy. I’m the girl who has never worn sports shorts in her life, now I own enough to get me through a week easily. I’ve stocked up on sports bras and flannel and even considered buying chacos. I’m going to spend a summer without books or K Dramas or Facebook messenger. It is insanity! 

And yet…I’m excited. This is so not me that it is going to be a crazy, new adventure. I’m going to face my fears, be separated from my comforts, and hopefully grow in my walk with God. I’m going to learn new skills. For three months, I get to step away from everything and try something different. 

At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m also excited to find a new side of myself. I’ve been defined by my job for so long that I looking forward to discovering who else I can be. Who is Amy when you stick her 45 minutes from civilization and throw a cabin full of kids at her? My hope is that she will be someone who learns to live more fully in the present. 

Am I slightly terrified beginning this new adventure? Definitely. But I am also super excited. It isn’t quite backpacking across the Himalayas, but camp in Idaho for the summer is going to be a really fun, challenging experience. 


The blessing of an old friend

Tori spoiled me. I got to be totally and completely myself around her. You can’t do that with just anyone.

 The blessing of an old, old friendship full of mutual memories like Tori and I have is that I don’t have to constantly check myself around her. She knows my odd quirks and interests. We became friends initially because our hobbies and interests were unlike those around us. We share the same unusual, Gen J centered teenage experience and have a plethora of mutual friends. She was instrumental in and witness to all the little details that shaped me over the past 10 years. 

Tori has always been a partner in crime with me, willing to participate in every crazy scheme I come up with. She is fun loving and wonderful to be around. I’m so grateful that she visited this past weekend! It was a wonderful time but much too short! Thank you for your visit, Tori, and for being my friend over all these years!!