Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lessons Learned at Summer Camp

Not all my memories of camp were happy. My first experience was a boy’s camp; there were no girls. At eight years old, girls were not supposed to matter, but they did. Nevertheless, my first day at Green Oak Boys Ranch I rode a horse and quickly learned I was highly allergic. Soon after, I lost my Bible and discovered my best friend found a new buddy and I was on my own. I bought a rabbit pelt for 25 cents and it became my muse for the weekend.

When I was a little older, I went to a camp that finally had girls! There was a pool with cold water and bathrooms below in a "dungeon," under the pool.

As a day-camp, we brought our own lunches, lovingly prepared by our Moms. One morning, one of the boys didn’t bring his lunch and Mary Ann, our leader, made an announcement at the front of the bus: she asked if someone would share their lunch. I remember a cold wave of selfishness engulfed me as I slipped down below the sweaty, green seats of the bus. I didn’t want to share. I remember one of the not-so-cool kids offering her lunch and I immediately felt convicted. Some how, and for some reason, that skinny little girl with glasses became “cool” in my eyes and equally as cute! I later offered my apple to the lunch-less boy, making sure that she noticed.

Big Rock Creek Camp , I believe, is that same camp. It has been over 30 years since I was a camper there. I remember many of the camp’s features, especially the pool and the “dungeon.” This weekend I was very content being alone, at least in my tent. Although I know many of you, I did enjoy meeting new people and making new friends. No need for a rabbit fur, I had my camera!

Now that we are all back from the weekend, I can’t help but reflect on my days as a kid at camp and what a wonderful time I had this weekend.

I brought back with me a conviction, much like the one I had from not sharing my sandwich. There was no shortage of lunches or material supplies; rather, there were missed opportunities to give of myself. I choose to spend time with people I knew; one might say my “best friends” for that weekend. I probably missed out on meeting more people, learning their stories and making both of our camp experiences more enjoyable.

In some ways I wish I could get a “do-over,” and spend time with those who kindly introduced themselves to me. The good news is I will see them again, most likely this Sunday. There is no reason why camp cannot continue.

Another lesson I think we all learned: leave your food in the car because “Mama” and her cubs are watching....

Thank you everyone for a great experience. I look forward to next time!

Photos from the weekend Click here

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