Senior High Teen Camp–Battleground!

Not the war on drugs, not the war on terror, not the war on furbies … this is the war on you.

Van Helsing was our speaker for senior high camp and this year’s theme was Battleground!

During Monday’s chapel, Van Helsing spoke on The Battlefield of Faith.

What exactly is faith?

Faith is a belief that leads to doing something.

Monday Night’s Tactic: Join Up!

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

On Monday night, the campers went on a Star Trek to Inspiration Point. Choco brought his guitar and they sang worship sons under the stars. Then Scruffy had them sit in silence for four minutes as they look at God’s wonderous creation spread out above them. A youth pastor took this photo near Inspiration Point with his really good camera years ago, but it continues to inspire.

One of the campers shared about her experience at Inspiration Point during the Friday night campfire at the end of the week.

She had come to camp with many worries and concerns weighing her down. Then she and her cabin walked up to Inspiration Point in the dark. She gazed up at that ocean of stars and felt so small. Beneath that giant sky, all her problems felt suddenly small, too. Knowing that the God of all those huge and brilliant things had made her and loved her brought an unexpected peace.

During Tuesday’s chapel, Van Helsing spoke on The Battlefield of the Heart.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly parted.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Are emotions good or bad? Why are relationships so hard? What is the secret to a good relationship with your boss, friends, coaches, or romantic interest? What is the secret to a good relationship with God?

Tuesday Night’s Tactic: Battle Buddies!

What is a Battle Buddy?

When Boo Boo wanders around trying to get things done but starts to get confused because she is dehydrated, Bomber stops her and asks if she needs a drink of water.

When Boo Boo needs to talk over a sticky problem, she goes to her good friend Daizy who was a camp counselor with her way back when they were young and foolish.

When she needs prayer, to share the burdens of life, or to converse about an interesting piece of Scripture she goes to Scruffy.

These are her Battle Buddies.

Now sometimes Bomber might pray with her or Grandma Smurf might remind her to get a drink of water, but the point is that she is not fighting the battle alone.

Do you have Battle Buddies? Pray that the Lord will provide encouraging people in your life for the journey and learn how to encourage them, treat them with grace and respect, and work together as you navigate the sometimes rocky path of life.

Another fun thing that Van Helsing did this week (with the help of Mina) were the vs. verses. What are vs. verses, you ask?

Well, the speaker always has a daily memory verse. In order to encourage the campers to memorize these verses, Mina helped Van Helsing set up a variety of battles that the campers could vote on. However, they could not vote unless they had said the memory verse to Van Helsing!

Thor vs. Wonder Woman

Puss in Boots vs. Jack Sparrow

Perry the Platypus vs. James Bond

Miles Morales vs. Tom Holland

Chuck Norris vs. Scruffy

Who won? Well, it all depended on who said their daily memory verse and got to vote!

In case you are curious the winners were: Thor, Puss in Boots, Perry the Platypus, Miles Morales, and Scruffy!

Puss in Boots won the grand championship over everyone else at the very end!

On Wednesday, Van Helsing spoke about The Battlefield of the Flesh.

The physical world causes many struggles, weather it is a battle over unchecked desire or the physical struggles of pain and illness, there is much to fight on this front.

Tonight’s Tactic: Prepare to Fight!

One of our camp counselors, Boromir, faced an unexpected battle of the flesh this week.

He was walking on the trail from his cabin with his campers and had a seizure. His campers rallied around him. Running to get the nurse, guarding him until the seizure passed, and helping him to Scruff’s car.

Scruffy drove him down to the ER and while Chat Noir stepped up to be with them in Boromir’s absence the campers waited to hear Scruffy’s report on how he was doing. After a day at home recovering, Boromir returned amidst the cheers of the boys in his cabin. It is such a difficult thing to ask for help, but after this tough battle, Boromir said that he came away realizing that he should. Have you faced a battle of the flesh today? I bet you have. There are many battles on this field, but one way to victory.

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:2

And yes, if you are wondering, Boo Boo did indeed shoot this apple off of Scruffy’s head in one shot with an archery tag arrow! Don’t worry, they have a big foam tip to prevent skewering.

One of the campers’ favorite night games is Walkers!

This is a night game we don’t play at any other camps and campers look forward to finally being old enough to come to Senior High Camp so that they too can fight zombies in the forest.

Thankfully, Mina’s brother Mini Van works at a thrift store and acquired some amazing wedding dresses that the girls used in their transformation into monsters.

Combined with Lea’s amazing make-up talent, Walkers was a memorable time running through the woods battling evil and earning cabin points!

During Thursday’s chapel, Van Helsing talked about The Battlefield of the Mind!

“The deadliest enemy is the one you cannot see. But you can still fight back… with the right weapons.”

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4

Tonight’s Tactic: Weapon Up!

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

During the Walkers game, Partake was leading a group of girls through the “zombie infested” forest. One of them was concerned. “We can’t see anything,” she said.

“We’ll be fine,” Partake said before confidently striding into the dark forest, tripping over a log, and bashing her knees.

That was a lot like Partake’s week of camp, actually.

She was our program director this week and is an organized person who enjoys schedules, being on time, and orderly games and activities.

Through events outside of Partakes control, this week was not easy to wrangle!

However, in the midst of the unexpected, God was still clearly at work.

During Friday’s chapel, Van Helsing talked about The Battlefield of the Soul.

“I have given you power to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19

There wasn’t just a chapel session titled Battlefield of the Soul, there was also a night game!

This involved whacking people with sock flails, nylons full of color powder, and of course running through the woods. What was the enemy? Those dangerous influences that are not from God.

Those sock flails were actually more painful than expected and unfortunately, did dye light blond hair in bright colors.

We were short on girl counselors for this week, but we got a surprise addition to our staff at the last minute.

The mom (Chiquita) of one of our young counselors used to be on staff with us nineteen years ago.

She has been helping out with camp work behind the scenes and doing such an amazing job, but the lack of girl counselors for Senior High Teen camp started to weigh on her.

However, she was able to argue against such a drastic measure as coming back to camp as a counselor. She was a mom, what teen girls wanted to hang out with a mom all week? She was solidly in the adult part of her life, she liked sleep, and wasn’t fond of running around in the forest at night with people dressed as zombies. A week of camp simply did not sound … comfortable.

Then she ran across this quote: “The end of comfort is where life begins”

Hmmm … and so after a nineteen-year hiatus, Chiquita joined us on staff as a counselor!

What teenage girls wanted to hang out with a mom all week? As it turns out, her daughter and all of her daughter’s friends!

There was some mortal embarrassment when they failed at pranking the boys two times and Chiquita agreed to take the blame for their bad pranking and even got them breakfast in bed when they refused to show their faces ever again … which didn’t actually last very long, just long enough to get breakfast in bed. But then her campers gave her one of the greatest compliments ever.

“You have the most fourteen-year-old water bottle I’ve ever seen!”

Chiquita summed up her week like this: “It was a gift to be a part of these teens lives. An old person is not who they want. But each time they pulled me aside and shared their hearts with me was a gift.”

So there you have it, bring a youthful water bottle and you too can be a camp counselor even if you are beyond your teen years.

One of our counselors, Katara, described a moment playing Battle for Souls in the meadow that was an image of camp for her.

We were in the meadow, battling with sock flails, and in between screeching at groups of campers I got to stare at the stars and have a conversation with Jesus. I prayed and saw tons of shooting stars.

It was a perfect encapsulation of camp. The Lord takes a moment in the breaks and shows himself between all the craziness.

Our camp hike during senior high is to Weathertop.

This steep climb takes us to a rocky ridge where you can look down on the meadow from above.

One of Van Helsing’s favorite memories from the week was having a deep conversation with a camper standing right on that narrow ridge with people shuffling past as they sought a closer look at the view.

She wasn’t self-conscious at all about sharing her story right there with the whole camp milling about on the ridge.

Having a thoughtful talk about the Lord and what He was doing in the middle of all the tough things she had faced was more important.

One of Zoboomafoo’s favorite moments was definitely “planning” their crazy skit.

“On the final day of skit prep, his camper suggested a unique element. “We should shave my beard during the skit!” Another camper said, “Samson and Delilah!”

Thus, the Chipmunk cabin’s skit was born and Scruffy and Boo Boo had the dubious honor of watching their son play Delilah in front of the whole camp!

It is amazing how God uses you for His kingdom at camp, in so many ways that you don’t expect.

In line getting groceries at Costco, Scruffy had someone flag him down to talk because they knew him from camp.

Because he worked at camp, this man pulled him aside to share part of his family’s story and Scruff was able to tell him, “God’s not done with your child, give her the message that we love her.”

Because of what God does at camp, Scruffy and Boo Boo and Bomber have so many unexpected spiritual conversations in grocery stores and other random locations.

You never know what God will use for his kingdom work.

Boo Boo spends most of her time at camp either taking photos or telling the camp counselors what to do or not to do.

There are many many motherly moments where she must give a stern eyebrow and redirect some kind of craziness.

In fact, she is pretty sure that the counselors sigh with a deep weariness when they see her coming.

That is why the Friday night campfire was such a surprise.

She didn’t expect Scruffy to share. He never shares. She didn’t expect him to share about how they had lost their sweet Newfoundland, Princess Leia Freyja right before camp. She didn’t expect him to talk about that incredible sorrow of trying to face the summer camp season without her constant therapy dog presence to give them encouragement.

How they didn’t think they could survive the exhausting 100-hour work weeks and deep emotional cost of camp without her softly padding up to give kisses and a helping wag.

She didn’t expect to burst into tears right there, sitting in the grass at the outskirts of the campfire ring.

And she most certainly did not expect one of the staff members she had shushed and shooed and told what to do and what not to do more than once that summer to pull her into her arms and hold her while she wept.

In fact, two other staff girls came up and held her toe in an encouraging fashion while she cried.

God can use you even if you are the one who has to tell people that duct tape is not allowed on the log buildings, girls are not allowed in the guy cabins, and hitting a wasp nest with a stick is foolish.

God can use you even if you are the one who needs to be shooed and shushed.

God can even use someone holding your big toe as you sit out under the stars and weep.

God even used Dauntless’ crazy skit.

It didn’t look good at first. They prepped for skit night. Had ideas, scrapped those ideas, came up with new ones but didn’t know the theme.

Finally, Dauntless asked Scruff to join the skit. Immediately the theme made itself known. The Chipmunk Cabin acted out every single one of the vs. verses battles. Yes, we got to see

Thor vs. Wonder Woman

Puss in Boots vs. Jack Sparrow

Perry the Platypus vs. James Bond

and finally …

Chuck Norris vs. Scruffy

The Squirrel House won skits and they won the week-long cabin competition, as well.

Everyone has a battle to fight. In the Old Testament, there were literal battles that God intervened in to save His children. But that doesn’t mean our battles are less terrifying, less overwhelming. It doesn’t mean that God will let us face them alone.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

“But the LORD says,
“The captives of warriors will be released, and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved.
For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children.” Isaiah 49:25

Boo Boo

Middle School Camp 2–Running From God!

Junior high campers are absolutely hilarious! They are fun and rowdy, sassy and bold, full of passion and capable of incredibly deep and meaningful conversations about God and just life in general.

This is the age group most likely to make a decision to follow Christ.


One, they are rowdy about absolutely everything. If they are not being rowdy about prayer, Bible learning, or the very idea that God exists, they are being rowdy about food, gaga ball, night games, or just the forest basics like pinecones and squirrels.

This rowdiness comes with an incredible capacity to grow and change and decide for themselves.

It is at approximately the age of twelve that the human brain matures sufficiently to grasp concepts like metaphor, abstract thought, and right and wrong outside of previously established boundaries. It is at this amazing age that children realize that they have the choice to follow Jesus or not. If their family has always followed God, they still have a choice. If their family has never followed God, they have a choice. Such an amazing revelation!

Speaking of families, it was incredibly exciting to be able to take a photo of three different generations of women who have been involved in camp ministry here at Camas Meadows. Grandma is the wife of one of our former board members and even worked as a camp counselor once when she dropped off campers only to realize that we did not have sufficient staff. So she stayed to counsel a cabin! Zinc (yes, that is her camp name) was a counselor way back when I (Boo Boo) was a counselor and also served during Scruffy’s very first summer leading camp! Zinc’s daughter was a camper this week and it was crazy fun to watch her jump into camp activities knowing that her mom and grandparents have been a part of Camas Meadows Bible Camp for so many years.

We had such a beautiful variety of middle schoolers tumble into camp this week with all their vivacity and obstreperous charm. There were children who had grown up steeped in every aspect of the Christian faith, who could zip their way through the books of the Bible blindfolded, and give a thoughtful answer to tricky theological queries with aplomb.

Among this raucous splash of humanity were also children who had no faith background at all. Sometimes they would giggle when a counselor prayed or shout out a wild and perhaps slightly sarcastic, “Amen, brother!” during chapel as they attempted to navigate a strange social situation that was completely foreign to them.

Oh how precious each young camper is. It is such an incredible honor to invite every one of them into the world of Bible camp. Weather they just came for the camp part or are happy to learn a bit of Bible, too, every child was an honor to serve.

Our speaker, Faramir, often works as a substitute teacher at our local public schools and is also a soccer referee. He was not in the least bit phased by the wide range of campers he was called upon to teach. In the very first chapel he acknowledged that prayer, the Bible, and God talk can be so very strange. But he encouraged each one to be willing to take just one step on their journey, weather that step was putting their faith in Christ or simply deciding to close their eyes in contemplation for the first time during a prayer.

That is one of the things that I absolutely adore about camp ministry!

Children who serve as missionaries with their family love camp and children who are self-proclaimed atheists also love camp!

Christian camping holds a fairly unique place in the body of Christ. Stepping into a church building can be so intimidating for someone who doesn’t know and follow Jesus. Even more so for a child.

I don’t know any young atheists who love to attend church.

However, I know multiple young atheists who ADORE coming to camp!

Camp is an exciting and growing experience for everyone. Weather a camper dares to play paintball for the first time or figures out how to find the book of Jonah in their Bible for the first time, children stretch out of their everyday experiences and realize that, yes, they have what it takes to do new things.

During chapel this week, Faramir spoke on the reluctant prophet.

Yes indeed, he spoke about Jonah, the “man of God” who ran away from the Lord.

Now, Jonah, he would have been one of those who knew his Bible verses off the top of his head and every right answer ta boot. In his case, it was the Torah but yes, he knew all the right answers and he knew God, deeply. That is why he ran, he knew that the God he served was merciful and there was a terrible chance that God just might be merciful to some people that Jonah felt absolutely justified in hating.

So, during Monday’s chapel, Faramir spoke about Jonah’s call.

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.'”

Just in case you were wondering, the word for wickedness in verse two can also be translated “calamity” and is used multiple times in this small but punchy book of the Bible. It comes up again at the end of the story in a powerfully ironic way. Also repeated, “the Lord provided.” The Lord provides all sorts of things to help Jonah on his reluctant journey of faith. From a whale to a worm the Lord is constantly providing for Jonah’s growth as he comes face to face with his own lack of grace and compassion.

Can you tell that I love the book of Jonah? What a perfect chunk of Scripture to study with this delightfully pesky and sarcastic age group. There is a great deal of irony in this book of the Bible and more than one sarcastic sentence. Please, do yourself a favor and read it again. Then, when you read Jonah 4:2-3 imagine that the most snarky teenager you know and love is saying the words. It is my firm belief that this imagining will bring you closer to the reality of Jonah’s words than any monotone reading every could.

Faramir shared that while each of us may not have received detailed travel instructions from the Lord, each of us is unique and absolutely does have a call upon our lives that comes straight from Him!

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

While junior high campers are delightfully pesky and rambunctious, so many of them are also deeply hurting. They can be all of these things simultaneously of course, just to keep camp counselors on their toes.

What I mentioned about a twelve-year-old’s brain development earlier is key here. It is at this age that children stop taking what others say as absolute truth and begin to weigh out right and wrong for themselves.

If they are part of an unhealthy friend group, they will begin to notice that something isn’t right. If they are in an abusive environment, they will suddenly realize the injustice of their situation. If someone they trust has been lying to them, they often figure this out in junior high.

Oh, the painful power of a maturing mind.

Some of these hurting children know how to treat others well … and some of them do not.

This week, the camp counselors spent so much of their time gently teaching campers how to be good friends and to resolve conflict with friends and cabin buddies with grace and respect.

On Tuesday morning, Faramir taught the campers the S.O.A.P. method of studying scripture!

  1. Scripture – Read a short Bible passage out loud and/or write it out.
  2. Observation – What do you notice about the verses? What do you think the main message is? What words or ideas jump out to you?
  3. Application – Ask God how He wants you to apply the verse to your own life.
  4. Prayer – Pray for yourself and/or for others.

On Tuesday evening, Faramir talked about Jonah running away. If we all have a call from God, then we all have a choice whether to answer that call or not. Our choice matters. Just like Psalm 1:1-3 says, connection to God matters.

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” Jonah 1:3a

On Wednesday night, Faramir spoke about Jonah on the ship!

God showed Himself to Jonah and everyone else who rode out that terrible storm. Sure, it wasn’t the most peaceful encounter with God shown in Scripture but even in the middle of the howling wind and smashing waves, God’s grace is clear in this passage.

Oh, the incredible irony of Jonah 1:4-16! Who is it who urges God’s prophet to call on his God? The pagan sailors who have never even heard of Yahweh! We know this because when Jonah oh so casually mentions that he serves God who created both the dry ground and the sea, these sailors are absolutely terrified. Who could run from a God like that?

The answer … you guessed it, Jonah!

Who was it who sought out God, attempting to get information about the terrible storm and what could be done to improve the situations. Yep, that would be the pagan sailors once more.

Go sailors!

What was God’s prophet doing … running, hiding, and sleeping! That’s what. Plus, we have another use of that fascinating word “calamity” in verse seven.

“Then the sailors said to each other, ‘Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.’ They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.” Jonah 1:7

On Thursday night, Faramir talked about the Great Fish. Sometimes God knows it will take a little bit extra to get our attention … or in Jonah’s case, a lot!

On Friday night, Faramir talked about The Turn. Interestingly, when Jonah turns, repents, and decides to go to Nineveh … well, all of this happens at the hinge of the book of Jonah, right in the middle! So “The Turn” for Jonah spiritually is the hinge of the book, which I find absolutely delightful.

So, just like God wanted the Ninevites to turn from their calamity and for Jonah to turn from his calamity, God calls us to repent from the things we have done wrong. Turn away from the old and follow Jesus to a new life that brings God’s light to others instead of darkness and pain.

“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” Matthew 4:17

It was such a great joy to see so many of these awesome young people turn to God that night and choose to follow Jesus.

Teenagers can spot something fake in a split second and there is a brutal honesty to the book of Jonah that speaks to those longing for something true.

Jonah is angry. Truly and deeply angry with God. Not because he thinks that God isn’t loving. Oh, no! God is loving to the wrong people. The irony of Jonah’s journey, saved from the depths of the sea by a monster that God provided, and still Jonah wavers when it looks like God will give mercy instead of judgement to the Ninevites.

God provides a lot of things in the book of Jonah: a great fish, a plant to shade Jonah, a worm to snork down that plant, and a scorching east wind.

Not everything God provides is comfortable, however, each item helped Jonah along on his journey of discovering the value of God’s incredible mercy.

Finally, on Saturday morning, Faramir spoke about The Aftermath. Yep, in Jonah chapter four not only do we have God’s own prophet grieving over the life of a plant but Jonah is bold enough to chastise God Himself for valuing the lives of actual people. Here, we finally come to that delicious and ironic use of the word calamity concerning Jonah himself.

Well, the whole reason that God sent Jonah on this trip in the first place was because of Nineveh’s calamity, translated in Jonah 1:2 as wickedness.

Well, in chapter four there is a whole lot of calamity going on! I’ve put the words that are the same Hebrew word as “calamity” in bold below.

“But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshis. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1-3

“Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.” Jonah 4:6

Oh, that terrible moment when reading the book of Jonah and you realize that God’s own prophet values a plant that he did not tend or water over a city full of people who did not know God.

Perhaps the plant eased Jonah’s calamity for a moment, but the calamity ran deep and at the end of the book God holds the life of that plant up to Jonah and compares it to the lives of every man, woman, and child (and their animals, too) in the city of Nineveh and asks Jonah that fateful question: “Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

Oh the cutting satire of the book of Jonah. That painful truth that sometimes those who should honor God the most are the slowest to hear His voice. May we catch our breath at the beautiful honesty in Jonah’s story and walk away different than we were before.

The power of Jonah’s story was not lost on the wonderful young teens we served this week.

One of our guy counselors had encountered much frustration attempting to facilitate a discussion time with his group of rowdy boys. On that last night, everything finally came together for them to truly talk in an honest way about God, His Word, and what Jonah’s strange journey might mean for people wondering about God’s judgement and mercy today. There were so many great questions and the campers were engaged as they honesty explored the depths of God’s Word. It was such a beautiful moment together after a long hard week with some especially precocious teens!

At the Friday night campfire, one of our campers put it so well. He said that before camp he used to think that there was no God at all, but that now he thought he could see Him in the kindness and love people show to each other.

There is a reason that Jesus Himself said: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Perhaps that particular camper didn’t choose to follow Christ on that particular night. But he saw Jesus. We each have a choice and junior high kids feel that reality and that weight keenly. Multiple children did choose Jesus during this week and so many more learned about both His great power and His baffling love as Faramir taught them about God’s reluctant prophet, Jonah.

Finally, let me share with you my favorite verse in the Bible. Think about it for a moment. Think about all that Jonah did to escape God and God’s call. Think about how every single character in the story behaved better than God’s own prophet, including a sea monster, some cows, and a worm. This verse is deceptively simple, but gives me such hope every time I read it.

Jonah 3:1–“Then the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.”

Boo Boo

Junior B Camp–Adventures With Peter!

Our second junior camp brough a whole crowd and running leaping shouting nine to twelve-year-old’s to Camas Meadows for an amazing week of camp fun.

Our speaker for Jr. B Camp was Squeegy, a long time counselor who was actually our camp intern when Scruffy’s oldest son Hiccup was a baby. We have so many amazing memories of serving the Lord together with Squeegy. Yes indeed, we even have photos of Squeegy holding little Hiccup in his arms.

Now Squeegy is a father of three and accompanied his own young camper here this week. He spoke on the apostle Peter and his many ups and downs with Jesus.

During the Monday chapel, Squeegy talked about the calling of Peter. How Jesus didn’t look for someone who was especially talented or brilliant at studying the Scriptures.

Jesus sought out Peter, a simple fisherman, and asked if he would follow. In the same way, Jesus calls each of us, just as we are, into a new life with Him.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19

And thus the week began! There are so many stories interwoven throughout a week of summer camp. Too many to tell. But one of my favorites, one that started months before this camp began was about someone who wasn’t even here this week.

Many years ago, the son of Scruffy and Boo Boo’s pastor decided not to serve as a counselor at camp. However, when his summer baseball plans didn’t work out, he ended up at Camas and training to be a counselor.

He did a fabulous job! His new enthusiasm for camp passed to his sister and she became a counselor as well and we had several wonderful years of serving together. Camp became a deeply important part of their walk with God and they passed that love of Camas Meadows Bible Camp on to their grandmother.

Well, long before summer was upon us, their grandmother contacted Scruffy. She had been chatting with someone who was working maintenance in their building. With grandmotherly skill, she talked him into sending his kids to Camas. She got ahold of Scruff and arranged to cover their camper fees because through her grandchildren, she had grown to love camping ministry too.

And so a young family was able to attend camp all because one teenage boy took a risk and became a camp counselor.

On Tuesday, Squeegy spoke on how Peter walked on the stormy sea while his eyes were fixed on Jesus. What a beautiful thing for these little ones to learn. That while the world around them may be in utter chaos, with eyes and heart fixed fast on Jesus, Peter could do the impossible. With eyes and heart fixed on Jesus, we can do the same.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble.

One fun thing that our camp nurse Trauma Trooper does is keep track of which cabins are in the lead for scrapes and bruises.

She did it last year and the campers found this so entertaining that they rushed to the nurse again and again in order to make sure that their cabin was competitive! In fact, one of Mina’s campers said: “If you haven’t visited the nurse at least once you are not having fun!” On the last night, Mina’s girls in Eagle’s Loft went to the nurse before chapel, during chapel, after chapel, and during snack!

So, without further ado, mathematically accounting for cabin size, here are Trauma Trooper’s nurse stats for Junior B Camp.

Most cuts/scrapes visits: tie Robins (10) and Eagles (15)

Fewest: Sasquatch (4)

Most bloody nose visits: Squirrel (3)

Most stings/bites visits: OwlCats (8)

Fewest: Chipmunks (0)

Most strains/sprains visits: Eagles (11)

Fewest: Mountain Panther, Bears, Squirrel (0)

Most stomach, head, throat pain: Robins (10)

Fewest: Sasquatch, Bears, Squirrel (0)

Most hit head bangs, sore heads: Squirrel (5)

Most allergy problems visits: Support staff (3)

Most eye visits: Robins (3)

1st visit: Squirrel at 3:25pm Monday

Last visit: Mountain Panther at 12:30pm Saturday

Most serious visit: Robins 

Average visits per camper for the week by cabin:

Most: Robins- 6.55

2nd Eagles- 3.9

3rd Owls- 3.7

4th Squirrel- 3

5th tie Sasquatch and MtP- 2

Fewest tie Bears and Chipmunk- 1.8

There you have it. The consensus, Junior Campers visit the nurse a lot! Thankfully, those visits did not include anything too exciting like broken bones or a mauling Sasquatch. The camp nurse position is so important because children this age often simply need someone to check in with them. To ask how they are doing. To find out if that stomach ache is from the stack of brownies they ate or from homesickness. Thank you Trauma Trooper for your fine work!

On Wednesday, Squeegy talked about how Peter had a life changing experience on a mountaintop while witnessing Jesus’ glory and hearing a message from God.

Coincidentally, each Jr. B camper was on a mountain meadow having a unique experience and learning more about God, as well. There is so much beautiful symbolism from the Old Testament about Jesus on top of that mountain, being revealed in glory to the simple men who chose to believe before He was shown to them in His full splendor.

When God gives us a unique moment, an experience in the forest, at camp, at a church service, or just with a good friend … may we grow from that glorious moment into someone who can weather the everyday with new strength because we have indeed seen Him.

Mark 9:7 – Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

There were so many growing moments for campers this week.

Two of the guy counselors had campers who had a conflict with each other. This disrupted the camp experience for two different cabins and took a lot of patience and loving care to resolve.

However, at the end of the week, one of these guy counselors told us that the difficult times he had to navigate with those feuding boys brought about one of his favorite moments.

Sitting in the cabin, gathering his boys around him and reading to them out of 1 John.

Sometimes a child goes too far, ruins their relationship with their friend or acquaintance, and then doesn’t know how to make it right.

Those boys realized they had someone at their back, cheering them to be better, helping them figure out how to be kind to each other, to be like Jesus to each other.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11

For Thursday’s chapel, Squeegy talked about how in his fear and weakness, Peter denied even knowing Christ. However, God is full of love and mercy and is ready to forgive.

Psalm 103:8 – The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

There was a moment around the fire pit in the meadow when a camper came to the end of themselves. Something happened and it was just the final straw. He broke down.

But campers gathered around him. Maybe they hadn’t even known him before camp started on Monday, but they sat with him, patted his back, comforted him in his difficult time.

The body of Christ doesn’t just look like a group of adults sitting in pews.

The body of Christ is also a mob of children on wooden benches in a meadow, patting the shoulder of a weeping boy.

On Friday, Squeegy talked about when Peter hears of Jesus’ empty tomb. How he runs to see for himself.

Matthew 13:44 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

On Saturday, Squeegy’s chapel session was about when Jesus forgave Peter’s denial and reaffirms His calling for Peter, asking Him to lead.

The message of forgiveness and calling was so important this week. It is hard to learn to live well with others in a way that honors Christ. As campers went through the process of learning how to do this, the reminder that even Jesus’ disciple Peter had to fail and then find the courage to ask his Lord’s forgiveness and the strength to try again was just the right Bible story to study. The Lord is gracious, taking us right where we are at and teaching us His ways.

John 21: 17b – Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

One of Meteor Knight’s campers told him that he really wanted to have time to talk. Though the week was incredibly busy, Meteor Knight found a quiet moment for him.

This camper was eager to tell his story. How he was in the foster system and it was incredibly difficult. How he finally landed with a loving family and now feels safe.

He hadn’t wanted to come to camp at all, but his foster dad had been doing maintenance at a lady’s building and she’d talked and talked about Camas. She had convinced him to send his kids and so this camper and his foster brother came to camp.

This camper was really struggling to find the verses of the day in his Bible, but Meteor Knight helped him out all week. This camper said that he really enjoyed camp and that it brought him “a whole bunch closer to God.” He hadn’t even wanted to come this week and now he couldn’t wait to come back.

Small steps of faithfulness, offered up to our Lord. A faithful young counselor inspires his sister and his grandmother to invest in camp. Grandma meets a family with kids and encourages them to take a brave step and send their little ones up into the forest for a week of adventures and Bible learning. A child finds encouragement and hope after the incredible difficulty he’s faced in his short life. God is able to do so much with the little bit that we have to give. Miracle after miracle after miracle.

Luke 18:27: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

Boo Boo