Summer Camp 2011
We've been at summer camp at Westminster Woods this week, brining children from our church community to camp for the week, and for me to be speaking in the Forest 4th-6th grade camp. It's nearly the end of the week, and as I walked back from an early morning meeting today I found myself thinking about what constitutes a day in the life this week: the pool, pudding cups for desert, campfire, the craft shack, Robin Hood dueling with the Sheriff, Ro-Sham-Bo about the life cycle of a salmon with Chimi & Changa, Free Time, not taking a shower, new friends, old friends, dumb body tricks, and mosquitos, trying new things, reveling in old favorites, getting a bit homesick, or just plain tired. That’s what camp is about it. All of those things in a brief span. Comfort and challenge, joy and frustration, living with others and learning to stand on your own with your parents not nearby (unless your Dad is the camp speaker).
What better way to discover our identity as growing kids? What better way to grow and be challenged? What better way to experience God’s presence close to and among us?
I've ended my daily talks about faith and life with a nightly time of public sharing of Dumb Body Tricks. It's something that is more participatory for a certain time of learning style, active and just plain fun. We all can do fun and funny things with our bodies to make others laugh, reflect and try something new. It might be a cop out, a simple way of doing something instead of talking for another 15 minutes about a Bible story. Yet in the midst of the daily rush of elementary kids asking me if they can do their trick at campfire, and then showing me their curling tongue, folded eyelids, double-jointedness or waving stomach muscles, I'm struck by how we seem to learn better when engaged, to connect more deeply when we're doing, to build community when we live it and don't just talk about it. Church camps are facing the same systemic challenges and numerical decline as churches. Maybe if we all did more body tricks, instead of maintaining our established programs, something different might happen.