There is nothing quite like going to camp. I liked going as a kid and I still do. As a child, I sometimes went twice – once with my mom who directed the associational Intermediate GA Camp, and once on my own as a Junior GA. (Those terms do show my age!)
Going to camp is demanding physically. Each day is planned from the time you get up until bed time. No time for boredom! During camp we have quiet time, Bible study, missions, recreation, swimming, and much more. For many of our kids, their introduction to quiet time is the start of a life-time practice of starting the day with God through Bible reading and prayer.
One special moment of this past week came when Bill Egbert responded to a question about how to become a missionary. One of the kids at camp had asked and Bill explained not only the steps to appointment, but how important it is to prepare now for missionary service through Bible reading, prayer, and witnessing to others. Bill was so pleased that someone asked the question, showing that they were thinking about becoming a missionary.
Another highlight of my week was time spent with a grown up Royal Ambassador (RA). This was a coed week at camp, with both boys and girls (and male/female chaperones) in attendance. As he shared memories of RAs and going to camp, we talked about the importance of mentoring our kids, modeling a missions lifestyle, and mobilzing children and youth to be involved in missions now. He was serving as a chaperone for camp but not currently leading a missions group. As the week progressed, he shared with me his sense of call to go back to his church and start RAs.
Another special moment came in talking with Alison Holbrook, GA leader at Wrigley Baptist Church, who is so very excited about GAs. Alison wants to see every church start GAs and asked me what I thought about talking to others in her association about GAs. The church has started RAs and GAs this past year and had two girls and four boys at camp, plus Alison had been the week before for our Mother/Daughter Overnight (for girls in grades 1-3 and their moms).
The highlight of the week for me was spending time with our camp staff one evening. The kids were all in their cabins with church chaperones and the staff had gathered for a brief staff meeting. During that time they began sharing about kids who had made professions of faith or had a particular spiritual need. They talked about the campers and what the week had meant to them as staff. No doubt in my mind that serving on our camp staff was far more than a summer job to these staffers.
Just in case you think serving on the camp staff is only for college-age students, think again! Kentucky WMU retiree Doris Riddle was on staff for three weeks serving as our kitchen coordinator. Even though meals are prepared by Cedarmore and served by some wonderful volunteers, there are still things to be done in the Cedar Crest dining hall before and after each meal. Doris was up early every day and took care of all the details, including an evening snack for the campers each night.
Now our camp staff will be on the road for two weeks, leading association day camps for Ohio River and Logan-Todd associations. Please pray for them as they extend the Kentucky WMU camping ministry, reaching kids who might not get to one of our camps at Cedar Crest or overnights at Jonathan Creek. Pray for Stacy Nall, our camp director, as she leads the camps and supervises the staff. Pray for her stamina and spiritual discernment. Pray for campers who have already attended camp, that they will continue to think about the things they learned and experienced. Pray for those who will attend associational camps to be sensitive to how God might be speaking to them.