The Christmas tree is starting to get dry and crunchy. In our case, several of the branches are already bare. People are packing up their candles and wreaths, their olive-wood nativity sets and all those little Christmas villages with the twinkly lights shining from inside tiny windows. But here at Camas Meadows, the day after Christmas marks the beginning of our main winter camping season.
On the 26th of December Scruffy rushes off to town to shop for groceries. Choco zipps around camp finishing up last minute jobs and starting a fire at the lodge so that everything is warm. Then our summer staff: staff from years distant past, near past, and those who want to be staff in 2015 leave their family celebrations and come up to camp for this unique four-day camp.
When I asked my youngest if he wanted to go over to the camp last night he was feeling tired from a day of sledding and told me: “No…unless Thing is there.”
The Thing was my oldest boy’s camp counselor this summer and is a whole lot of fun. I went over to the camp and walked out of the starlit darkness and into the warm light of the main lodge. Kids in their teens and twenties were hanging out together. Playing board games, eating snacks by the fire, talking on the couch, and hauling their suitcases up the stairs to their bunks. And over by Scruffy was our summer intern, Sparks, discussing Calculus and Trigonometry with none other than The Thing.
The boys rushed over to visit their brother’s counselor and have chili dogs with Scruffy. The Summer Staff Winter Retreat is one of our most enjoyable camps. Our boys love to see everyone they grew close to over the summer and wrestle all the counselors between activities. The Thing is from a two boy family and is not frightened when my three boys rush over and all jump on his head. But this camp is also one of our most important. It brings friends together after months apart. The counselors tell stories about the school year, relive their adventures from the past summer, and rekindle their passion for the Lord and His work. This is a chance for the camp family to reunite, for them to learn and grow in the Lord together.
This year our speaker is Jeffrey Chambers, the youth pastor from Living Stone Church in Chelan. He invited our counselors to BBQ at his house this summer during our staff training and we are excited to continue the fun by having him up to speak this winter.
So, while the day after Christmas is a time of clean-up and putting decorations away for many. At Camas Meadows it is time to start our main winter work. Time to gather our counselors and potential counselors together to learn and grow and to find strength and inspiration for a new year serving the Lord together.