by Brandy Webb
It all started in April at our women’s conference because of my daughter Jazmyn. I took her with me to the women’s conference, and she took one look at the facilities and quickly begged Wes to plan a summer camp for kids and teens. It didn’t take much persuasion, since Wes is such a big kid at heart, and Old School Summer Camp 2016 became a plan. It was “old school” as in no cell phones for the children. We wanted them to socialize and have fun.
However, who plans a summer camp in six weeks? Wes White, Jeff Reed, and Linda Benton (from CEM) do, with some help from others. I was one of the counselors and got the opportunity to teach the teens YEA classes.
The camp was held at Timberline Camp in Lindale, TX. The facilities were awesome. There were lots of dorms available. In fact, there were other camps going on at the same time. They have ga-ga ball pits, sand volleyball courts, basketball, swimming pool, small lake, zip line and more.
Our day started at 7:00 a.m. and didn’t end until 10:00 p.m. Let’s just say, I’m still recuperating. Five days of non-stop fun and activities plus lots of walking made me realize I’m not a kid anymore, and I have a year to get in better shape for next year’s camp.
Our kids, twenty-one in total, were able to ride a zip-line, practice archery skills, target shoot, enjoy a blow-up water slide, and climb a water slide in the lake. We enjoyed fireworks, great devotionals, inspiring YEA classes, fun silly songs, making new friends, and the outdoors. I have to say for a camp planned in just six weeks, it was a success, thanks largely to the kids, counselors, music providers, YEA lessons provided, and especially the staff at Timberline. There are no words that could fully describe how awesome Timberline’s staff was. They made my job as a counselor easy, and the children loved them. They made for sure all the activities were fun and enjoyable. They even memorized the kids’ names, so that they could call them by name when they would see us walking to various places.
So, what did I learn at camp. I kept going back to the scripture that says be like a little child in Matthew 18:3, in order to enter God’s Kingdom. Well, hanging out with kids and teens gave me a glimpse of what that means. It means to be joyful, full of energy, enthusiastic, living in the moment and forgetting things in the past, being quick to forgive, and not worrying about the future. They were so alive and not weighted down with worries. Yes, I know they don’t have the same responsibilities as an adult, but seriously, aren’t we told to enjoy life (Eccl 3:12), enjoy the fruits of our labor (Eccl 3:13), and not to worry (Matt 6:25)? Well, spending time as a camp counselor showed me that if I were to try to practice these traits, I may have more expendable energy physically and spiritually.
I really enjoyed camp this year. It was our “Beta” version, a learning experience, but thankfully it was a positive learning experience. Plus, we had awesome weather. I think it was the first time in a long time that it didn’t rain for an entire week. I know that the kids are already looking forward to next year of sun, fun, and games, at camp 2017.