Our first week at Campf!re has come and gone and we already have counsellors arriving for the second. It’s hard to imagine that we get to do this all summer and that this beautiful property will be our home for the next two months. I have to remind myself that this is a job, because sometimes it seems too good to be true. I get to spend the rest of the summer outside in God’s creation, teaching children about the Creator and sharing His love with them. As I write this the only sound outside is the wind in the trees and despite the peaceful atmosphere, it seems strange. It is bizarre to be at camp without campers being here with us, to only hear birds chirping without the additional sounds of children laughing, shouting, running, singing . . .
The past week was fantastic but also challenging. For three-quarters of the staff it was our first week ever in our positions and at times we felt overwhelmed with it all. As a whole, we all learned a lot about trusting the Lord to take care of things instead of holding on to the desire to control things ourselves. At church we even had sermons on this topic going in to our first week as well as the Sunday after. As we head into our second week we are a little more at ease, having some experience to go by. No manual can really prepare you for this role. It’s difficult to explain how camp works unless you’ve been here, but suffice to say it’s the most incredible place. I always forget how much I love camp and how much I love spending time with children. They come up with the most hilarious ideas and stories, and inspire me with their immediate love, trust and joy. This week one young camper warned me of the dangers of cooties, seriously adding that I was at risk because “sometimes everybody loves the staff best.”
There are so many memories jam-packed into one week—memories of encouraging conversations with counsellors, splash wars in the canoe pond (where most of the campers were more interested in dunking their heads in the water than actual canoeing), incredibly creative sand-castle building at Wasaga, hoarse voices singing praises in the early morning at counsellor devotions, chaplains doing gymnastics at the talent night, counsellors dressed up in the most ridiculous costumes for skits, children eagerly poring over their Bibles in chapel, everyone worshipping under a beautiful night sky and so many prayers. Camp is rooted in prayer, built on it, steeped in it. We pray at the beginning of every day and at the close of every day, as well as throughout it; we are constantly praying to our all-powerful God. We thank Him for the blessings found here and ask for safety, discernment, encouragement, strength, patience, humility, peace, and above all, love, for it covers a multitude of sins. We thank our God for providing this fortress and pray that we would show His love to one another. We ask for your prayers as we head into our second week and praise Him for the one we just had, giving thanks for the blessings He showers on us. God is good, all the time!
The counsellors have arrived! The children are coming tomorrow! Camp is upon us and we are excited! So, after months of preparation, the Staff is ready to launch into D1…we are putting our finishing touches on games, cheers and a myriad of other details. We are learning lessons about trust and seeing that Camp is held in God’s hands and He will work His purposes through (or in spite of) us. He is strong when we are weak. This is such a beautiful truth, but it is sometimes difficult to cling to…until you stand back and look at all God has brought together in order to make camp happen for another summer. He has blessed us with wonderful Property Managers who constantly go above and beyond to help us adjust to life at Camp, He has given us a Board and Summer Camp Committee to offer us support from back home, He has provided a huge church community to lift us up in prayer, and also He has given us unique and beautiful families who constantly offer encouragement and help and are just so excited for all of us to be a part of this.
We had a fun-filled week with Anchor Camp this past week that helped us to get excited to serve and to create the Camp atmosphere that makes this place so special. We had the opportunity to share meals with our new friends and also to enjoy their annual Open House…complete with musical performances, a skit, and fireworks! We were very sad to see them go and constantly remarked how thankful we are that Camp and Anchor have such a great relationship.
After the participants and staff of Anchor left, we had a few hours to get organized for Pre-Camp. Counsellors arrived on Friday evening at Campf!re and enjoyed an evening followed by a half day on Saturday of workshops, bonding, and singing together. It was great to have a chance to meet some of the counsellors we had been corresponding with for so long and also to re-connect with counsellors we have served with in the past. An early morning thunderstorm on Saturday relieved us of the oppressive humidity we had been experiencing during the week and we continue to be thankful for the gorgeous and comfortable weather we have had ever since.
We have been enjoying our time together as a Staff learning how to live together and love one another so we can truly become a little family up here in the Wilderness. Nox and Rafiki have been taking good care of all of their female colleagues…showing us every courtesy and fixing all of the broken things. DASH has moved into her kitchen and is rolling up her sleeves for D1. Gratia and willow have welcomed their first crew of counsellors and are excited to lead them through their first day tomorrow with their campers. Shreeky led us in a devotional about sacrifice….encouraging us to have a selfless attitude when it comes to one another and especially to the campers. nimbus. has the schedule set and ready to roll and IV has a neat and organized Med Shed, ready to receive campers with all of their attendant bumps and bruises.
We are nervous. We are unsure of what to expect. But, we do know we can expect that God is in control of what happens tomorrow, the next day, and every other day of the summer as well. He has Camp in the palm of His hands and He will carry us through each and every moment!
GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME!
With love, Gratia (Danielle Ludwig)
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