the cal ripken of church camp?

i’ve been trying to remember the last time i did NOT go to summer camp with my church. i know i’ve been every summer since my senior year of high school (1997) and probably more since moving to houston in 1991. (IF i’ve been to camp every summer since ’92 (my first full summer in houston when i won the JAM Camp Ping Pong Tournament), this will by my 20th year of camp with HNW!) i’m big on streaks, so i like to think on such things.

pretty sure i don’t hold the world record, but i feel like that’s a lot of years of camp with the same church. i’ve seen several campsites, hung many lights, prepared many playlists, reffed all kinds of goofy games, competed in some epic volleyball tournaments, seen more rules videos than anyone should and applied more sunscreen than some life guards!

year after year, students load up on buses with varying motives and expectations of the next few days. some just getting away to have fun, some hoping to learn and grow, some being forced by their parents, some seeking encouragement because their parents couldn’t care less…

various themes and team names keep cheers like “s-u-s-h-i! we’ll throw wasabi in your eye!” and “chic-ohhhh, chic-o stick!” and “the fainting goats will faint on you” and “fuzzzzzzzy, wuzzzzzzzzy” and “JAWAS!” ringing in my head…

i’ve seen “steal the bacon” turn mild mannered students into recreation gladiators. (i’ve also seen “steal the bacon” send students to the nurse.)

i’ve been blessed to serve with countless lay leaders who valued ministering to students so much that they’d take a week of vacation, some apart from their families, to lose sleep and sweat it out while teaching, encouraging, correcting and loving on others.

i’ve been encouraged and challenged by numerous speakers, worship leaders and a handful of student pastors. i’ve worked alongside more interns than i want to try to count right now!

no matter who i served with, where we traveled to, how many/few students attended or what the theme was, EVERY year has had good times and God times. so thankful for the opportunities God has blessed me with!

(i realize these things are true for any long time youth worker or student pastor, but this is my blog and my mom told me the other day that i needed to post something, ha.)