CamasCon Fall 2014

The weather is foggy and cold. I started wearing gloves and a hat on my morning walk and often the meadow is shrouded in mist as my sister and I clomp along the gravel road, our breath coming out in steamy puffs and our shoulders hunched against the early chill. The color is vibrant on the aspen trees and serviceberry bushes. Brilliant yellows, a few reds, and an odd blushing pink that has a hint or orange. October has been lovely this year, but the campers this week did not come to see the color change or to walk along the misty meadow. They may end up doing so, but only after several solid hours spent gaming.

Yep, CamasCon is here again.

It started out as Scruffy’s dream. Finally made real in 2007, although only 12 people attended. Now we have two gaming retreats every year and they are full of Christian board game enthusiasts from around the state and beyond. Our military friends even arrange their leave so that they can attend. Yes, these guys (and a few gals) love gaming that much. And I understand, although I usually don’t play. My boys have been blessed with some of their Daddy’s analytical nature. When you are always thinking and strategizing and scheming, it is wonderful to find other individuals with whom you can sit down and figure out how to take over the world, all in the course of a 1-11 hour game. Most games last from 3-6 hours, but yes, there are those that can go on and on. My three boys (6, 9, and 10) all enjoy a game or two with Daddy. And this year the older two are able to actually attend as periodic campers, now that they are able to sit down through some of the more substantial strategic adventures. It is an experience that is rare in our fast paced, helter kelter, world. Time with friends, doing what you love.

And this year, VanHelsing is returning as the camp speaker.

One of our favorite camp speakers, VanHelsing usually joins us for Senior High Teen Camp in the summer. VanHelsing has a way of being honest that makes you see your Lord differently and draws you into the kind of bold, blatant relationship with God that is unnerving and lovely all at the same time.

For me, fall is about change. Sending my boys off to a new year of school. Leaves in their golden splendor, frost and fog, and the elk bugling on the meadow. And CamasCon is a part of fall for our family. It is a time to reconnect with friends, to play, to challenge one another, to bend your mind against a worthy opponent and see if you can overcome. But it is also a time to stop and consider God, to challenge yourself and to challenge Him. A time to see who He is and who you are and to consider what that means for your life in the coming year.

CamasCon is not for everyone. Some of us cannot sit still for six hours to save our lives. And strategy gaming is a specialized passion. But for board game geeks like Scruffy and my three sweet boys, CamasCon is a highlight of the year.

Well, I better mosey on over to the camp to sit on the couch with a book. My boys love to game, but they are young and someone has to be watching for that moment when they start bouncing off the walls and must be herded outside. But even with all the sitting, they are ecstatic, for finally, after months of waiting, CamasCon has come!


Boo Boo

Go Outside and Do Something

So…why camp?

I came across another reason why we do this thing called camping ministry.

Scruffy read an article recently about a Cornell study showing that people get more satisfaction from experiences than from things. Camp is full of experiences. Kids set aside their phones and IPods, their videogames and computers, and they drive into the mountains and come to camp. They toss their sleeping bags onto a rustic wood bunk, and run through the grass in the meadow playing American Eagle. They listen to the sound of crickets and owls at night, they walk the packed dirt road up to Inspiration Point and stare up at the stars, they sing worship songs with a teenager strumming an acoustic guitar, they prank other cabins with bags and bags of popcorn, and they kneel together in prayer on the cold linoleum of their cabin floor.

Camp is something you actually do.

We were made for this. Although this study is a secular one and the researchers were looking for the secret of happiness rather than anything having to do with God, I think they have touched upon a deeper truth.

God did not create us so that we could have a bunch of stuff. He formed us from the dust and gave humanity the breath of life for something bigger than hording.

Ephesians 2:10–“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

God wants us to do stuff, not just to have stuff.

Camp gives kids and adults the chance to do. We sing and we hike, we listen and we laugh, we clean and we toil, we run and we sacrifice and we love. These are the things for which we have been made. Of course these will bring us more joy, it only makes sense.


Boo Boo



Sometimes things come full circle.

This picture is of our son’s cabin as they celebrate their victory in the cabin competitions. Our boy is on the shoulders of his counselor The Thing. But that counselor is the son of Scruffy’s friend Carrie. Scruffy was his AWANA leader long before he became The Thing. And long before Carrie had any children, she went to High School with Scruffy and was one of the only Christians that he respected, long before Scruffy was a follower of Christ. She was also one of the few “Cool Kids” who was kind to everyone, even a hurting kid from Peshastin, who was angry with God, and didn’t know his place in the world.

So Carrie was kind to Scruffy.

God found Scruff at college in 1992.

Scruffy was the AWANA leader of Carrie’s son.

Scruffy was the Camp Director who trained The Thing when he grew up to become staff.

The Thing was our son’s wonderful camp counselor.

The thing’s parents stop Scruff at the store, tears in their eyes, and thank him for being part of their boy’s life. Just like The Thing is part of our boy’s life.

And it all started when a teen girl took the time to be kind.

God is love and love is everything.



Boo Boo