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Day Camp Goes to the Kids!
By Sylvia Miles, Day Creek Chapel
I went to pick up the last vestiges of “Camp 2 Kids” from the campground we set up in a field on our property in Day Creek, Washington. The seven tents are gone, sleeping bags and gear for 26 kids and five counselors are cleared out. Just two nights before, voices of 2nd – 5th graders sent decibel levels off the charts.
I take a moment to reflect on the weekend events, and to thank God for tying our lives closely with Warm Beach Camp. A light wind picks up, and I’m aware there’s the faint fragrance of Christ remaining.
I first caught this scent at breakfast with Ed McDowell in February, 2008, when I told him that Day Camp might not be an option for Day Creek Chapel (DCC). Many of our children work in the fields with their parents, and they just can’t be gone for a week. A weekend camp would be better. DCC has been the recipient of Kids 2 Camp funds for several years, and we really wanted to keep our church kids in camp programs.
Sympathetic to our needs and already thinking outside the box, Ed said, “Let me brainstorm with Laurie Fertello, director of our youth program. Sounds like a new opportunity to me.” Within two weeks, the call came that WBC was willing to bring camp to us! Wow! CAMP 2 KIDS was born.
On Friday, July 18, a caravan of counselors arrived. By noon, the tents were set up, games organized, and all was readied to greet the children arriving at noon for a two-and-a-half-day camp extraordinaire.
Servanthood permeated the weekend. The folks at DCC had loaned a tent, extra sleeping bags, a port-a-potty, snacks, helped feed the campers, brought horses for the children to ride – it was a never ending list of giving. Warm Beach Camp provided all other supplies, and we were humbled by this gift. They cheerfully assumed all responsibility for the children, games, and devotional times.
Serving never ended. When a counselor was asked by a camper if she was paid to do this, Chino replied, “No, I volunteered for the weekend.” It was a corroborative effort of servants working for the glory of God.
A water balloon toss let us know that some kids work as a team, while others need encouragement to think beyond themselves. Kids whooped with laughter as they used rocket launchers to fling water balloons off the hillside and across the pasture. Joy filled the air.
Saturday morning, three- to six-year-olds arrived for activities and lunch. We hope an introduction now to WBC will instill confidence so Moms will send them to camp when that time comes.
Fulltime campers began Saturday with archery, bb guns, apple bobbing, and a craft. After lunch, the festivities escalated with a pie eating contest. They scarffed, sucked, licked, and some nearly suffocated from the copious quantity of pudding stuffed up their noses!
Tyler leapt to his feet thrusting his pie plate to the sky like an Olympic prize. His advice to pie eating contenders is, “Eat the crust. You can’t eat the pudding. You go for the crust first.” He must be right.
Vinyl unrolled across a swale in the pasture. It was slathered with baby shampoo that helped propel kids the distance of the giant slip-n-slide. I could imagine heaven’s thunderous laughter as the Father said, “I want to do that!”
I sniff the air again, and the fragrance of forgiveness is yet present. You see, awhile back one of our Day Creek Chapel kids strayed far from the Lord. Two years ago, Pastor Rick helped this young man recommit his life to the Lord. Now as an intern of Laurie’s, Bo Robinson designed and directed this first-ever Camp 2 Kids program, plus he shared the story of love, redemption and forgiveness during devotional times with the children.
I wish I could tell you that children came to faith in Christ. I don’t know that. I do know that seeds were planted, grace was expressed during some significant challenges, and love was shared. Children revealed deep personal needs with counselors and tent-mates who prayed with them. We saw the hands of Christ reach out and embrace some very hurting, withdrawn children. His work was done.
As I leave the campground to walk back to the house, an aroma of satisfaction engulfs me, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Co. 2:14-15, NIV)
Thanks, Warm Beach Camp, for partnering with us for His purposes!