This was our biggest Jr. High Winter Blast yet with 49 campers, 15 counselors, a big kitchen crew, and several hundred snow ducks! (Yes, this was before concern about the corona virus increased. I know you were worried about all those ducks, clearly not practicing social distancing!!!)
Parents and youth leaders urged weary vehicles up the snowy camp road and into the parking lot where the rowdy fun immediately commenced.
What was the very first game of the weekend?
The chair game, of course!
The goal is to keep the person in your chair from escaping when the person with the empty chair calls their name. This allows staff and campers to learn each others names.
It is also more than a little bit entertaining to watch.
Of course it isn’t camp if you are not outside. So Scruffy took the campers who were bold, brave, and had two working legs, on an amazing hike into Poison Canyon. Down, down, down … and then ALL the way back up!
Poison Canyon is just a wee bit steep. Hiking here causes Princess Leia Freyja to whine with concern and give everyone revitalizing slurps.
Here she is, looking worried for the health and safety of others. Which is actually a fairly common expression for our sweet camp dog.
During the amazing hike, some campers played board games in the lodge or worked on crafts.
Others built a tower of Kapla blocks that rose all the way up to the second story! Campers reached through the rails on the second story balcony to place the final block, until I got out my camera and the invisible power of its nearness seemed to cause the tower to fall right as I snapped a photo!
On the first evening, Scruffy dusted off that Watchamabob favorite of old, the Chocolate Marshmallow Drop.
The participants were ready and eager to go.
The chocolate was gooey and drizzly!
The results: stickiness overload!
The benefits: eating a marshmallow if you actually succeeded and of course the pure and unadulterated joy of having chocolate on your face!
Of course, Watchamabob naturally morphs straight into–all the camp people know the answer–worship!
Hand motion songs first, then quiet worship, and then the lesson.
Our speaker this week was Faramir, and he spoke about turning points.
Of course, he told an amazing story about the time that (although he is terrified of roller coasters) he let his youth kids talk him into riding a super scary roller coaster since he was trying to impress them. Then the operator saw that no one else was in line, gave them a cheery smile, and sent them around the track a second time! The point of no return. That moment that the front car on the coaster (yes, his youth group kids talked him into sitting in the very front) is hanging over the edge of the precipice and it is only a matter of time before the other cars follow. Sometimes we come to a point of not return in life. A time where we must decide the course that we will follow. Faramir did a wonderful job of urging kids to make a decision to follow Jesus when they come to these important turning points in their lives.
On Saturday, every cabin participated in an epic broom hockey match-up!
An afternoon well spent.
Although Princess Leia Freyja was quite dissapointed that Scruffy wouldn’t let her play. She totally understands the game. The first person to run through the gauntlet of smacking sticks, grab the puck, and wildly charge between people’s legs with it in their mouth as their tail wags happily … is the winner!
After hockey, snow duck production went into overdrive!
Sweet Tea, our wonderful camp cook, let campers use her new snow duck makers. They look like salad tongs with half a duck on each side. When you pack them with snow and squeeze the duck halves together, voila, a snow duck! It started with just a few ducks watching the hockey game.
Then two stern leaders in parlay were discovered having a serious discussion in the middle of the ping pong table.
But what is a king without his army? So, two opposing armies of ducks were born.
One side consisted of bald ducks and one side was made up of ducks with charming hair made of lichen. There was also a spy in the midst of one army and a few ducks who really loved Legend of Zelda and created this iconic monument.
Of course, after all of this hearty snow duck creation, it’s also nice to just sit on the couch with friends. A whole lot of friends! Which inevitably turns into a competition. Exactly how many campers and counselors can fit on these particular couches. And a dog … there should definitely be a dog on the couch. Don’t worry, Princess Leia Freyja was happy to help out.
We didn’t let them sit too long. There were still more strange and baffling games that absolutely needed to be played!
OK, these two sisters are ready to go!
What is this? Obviously, some kind of face off between two determined campers. But why?
Hmmm … not sure that this makes things any clearer.
Well, balloons are always fun.
OK, more balloons more fun.
Aha! A chase, a mighty battle!
The goal of this game was to hop after your opponent and pop their balloon without allowing them to stomp on yours.
Princess Leia Freyja seemed concerned.
But the campers had a great time!
Finally, it was Sunday and time to clean up the camp and present cabin awards. No, we do not normally ask the campers to mop with their cute toesies. But when presented with a mop, this cabin of girls begged for permission to mop their own way. They also charged out of the bathroom and seized the camp photographer so that their triumph could be captured on film!
While the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place cabins received bags of candy in various yummy sizes, the staff team got something even better.
A bag of russet potatoes!!!
Little did they know that in a few short weeks Scruffy would walk into Costco to find every single bag of potatoes gone!
Or perhaps they did know, deep down inside. Either way, the potatoes were received with great joy and were distributed among the staff while the candy was distributed among the winning cabins.
It was such an amazing weekend. Not only were many snow ducks created, wild games played, God’s beautiful forest enjoyed, and songs sung at a tremendous volume … but several campers raised their hands to follow Jesus for the very first time. And please do not discount the vital role that a weekend of camp plays in the life of a young Christian who already knows the Lord. Without the encouragement of fellowship, teaching, and the fun of being with a whole herd of rowdy young believers, their Christian walk would be much more difficult. Through the grace of God, we were able to provide a safe place for these 49 children to learn about their Lord and rejoice in the beauty of following Him.
Ephesians 2:4-5–“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”