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August 1, 2009

Camp Chaos

I picked up the kids this morning, after their week long stay at Camp Allen.

I know a lot of parents are hesitant to send their kids off to stay in the woods, with other adults who apparently find joy in babysitting other people's children for a week.

Given what we hear on the news every day, I guess can I understand that.

My kids have gone to camp every year now for probably 8 years.

For one week, they leave behind all electronics, Ipods, cell phones, video games, computers, the Internet, and their local friends, and head off to Camp Allen, a non-denominational Christian camp about 90 minutes from where we live.

It's not cheap to send three kids to camp. And the ride up there and back can be daunting with so many sleeping bags, suitcases, pillows and bags crammed in the car.

But, every year, the chaotic Saturday morning I pick them up, I am reminded why we do this, why I save for it, why we have begged the grandparents to chip in on occasion, so they can do this for one week.

They are dirty, smelly, stinky. Jordan is beyond old deviled eggs. My car needs to be fumigated.

With all of that, there is nothing like going to pick them up, and watching all three at their own cabins with their new and old friends, take the time to say good bye.

And I don't mean the whole shoulder-hug-see-ya-later male goodbye.

No, as I arrived at each cabin and tracked them down among the piled of suitcases, sleeping bags and wandering parents, each of them genuinely sought out their camp counselors (some of whom are not but a year or so older) and their friends and gave them big, two armed bear hug goodbyes.

And, each of them said to me, before we leave mom, I want you to meet my counselor, and I got personal introductions to the barely 18 year old kids who agreed to mentor my children for a week.

For the next 90 minutes, as we headed home, they took turns, non-stop until we got to the front door, frustrated if someone interrupted their story, filling me in:

-Someone ate (and supposedly swallowed) a Cicada. Minus the wings. Tyler's response? 'How could they do that, Cicadas make funny noises?'

-Chase's group dared the counselors on some kind of 'jug challenge' where the counselors have to drink, in one guzzle, a gallon of milk. One threw up. Another one decided to stick his tongue on the throw up to show off. I'm not sure how they are screening these camp counselors? The kids loved it.

-Someone in Jordan's group had webbed toes, and he pronounced that this made him a faster swimmer. Jordan believed him. Chase spent 15 minutes letting Jordan know he was crazy to fall for that.

-Chase then proceeded, immediately thereafter, to tell me he needs some nail polish remover. That got a strange look. 'Well, someone painted my toe nails.'

-Jordan had triplets in his cabin. Thank goodness these are not co-ed dorms. When he first said that he had triplets in his cabin, I had to think for a second. Apparently the two that were identical were 'major flirts mom, okay, like seriously, they were huge flirts with every girl, it was obnoxious.' The 3rd triplet 'kept his head in a book the whole week.'

As we got closer to home, the conversation changed though, from eating Cicadas, guzzling milk, and flirty triplets, to the testimonials they'd heard about from their counselors, their relationships with God, and the friends they hoped to stay in touch with.

I thought for sure that Tyler would say this is his last year. Not many 16 year olds want to go to summer church camp.

Instead he said, 'I'm trying to figure out which week next summer I can apply to be a counselor.'

Mission accomplished.

Now if I can just figure out how to get that one-week-of-summer-camp smell out of my car.

(QOTB: Did you go to summer camp as a kid and what are your memories? I didn't go, we travelled too much, but it was always something I wanted to do.)

Looking for a camp in your area or advice on sending a kid to camp? Try this website:
http://www.acacamps.org/ or www.campallen.org, if you are in Texas.
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Terry on August 02, 2009 said...

I've got your RSS feed !

Shannon on August 02, 2009 said...

Thanks Terry, I've got yours as well. I'm looking at your site, this is great info you have!

Lisa from Moms at Work on August 04, 2009 said...

For the past three years, I have sent my sone to camp for a week. You're right, it is very difficult but so worth it. He comes back with memories that will last him a lifetime.

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