Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Camp recap

Well, we're all hope and hopefully rested after an awesome May Camp weekend! We had four days filled with games, good food, nice weather, lots of Starbucks runs, and a really fantastic speaker! This year we totally smashed the record with a whopping 140 people... 65 were from Bethany.

Group Shot 2012

This is the logo (minus the room assignment!) that is on our shirts - all of our names!

We got up to the camp around 8pm which was GREAT because usually it takes us forever to get there because we leave later in the afternoon. We had time to unpack, settle in, and hang out before our chapel session at 10pm. Chapel was more of a camp orientation and a group of Bethany kids did a skit to explain the rules. We played some games and had a chance to reconnect with the other churches: Sunshine Ridge, Lakeview Heights, Ebeneezer, and the newbies, Emmanuel and Chilliwack Baptist (who did a great job and worship and being weirder than us!).

Temi, Cassie, Hannah and Chelsea heading to the Lodge to unpack

Breanna, Emily, Robyn, and Sam seem scandalized as they settle in to their room!

Pastor Brad welcoming everyone in our first Chapel session

After chapel we had free time for the rest of the night. Some of our kids went startripping, others hung out and talked, and the rest played board games in the chapel.

Taylor, Shelby, Farren and CJ hanging out of the field during startripping

On Saturday morning, we kicked the day off with breakfast and then headed to our second chapel session. Our speaker this weekend was Jeff Bethke. His YouTube videos are great, but he was so much more powerful as a speaker! He had a lot of important things to tell our students. In the next few days I'll be posting the notes I took from each chapel session for those of you who are interested in what he had to say. His first talk was "The Seven Differences Between Jesus and Religion" and explored how we tend to cling to the idea that we need to be 'good enough' to enter into a relationship with Jesus and try to base our faith on how "Christian" we seem instead of really understanding that Jesus didn't die for us to complete a good Christian kid checklist. It was a great way to start the weekend.

Jesse, Jake, Mitchell, Brennan, Riley and Brady waiting for Chapel to start

After lunch we headed out to play some field games lead by Sheldon and Carlon. We played the infamous Capture the Fish game, probably for the last time! After seven accident-free years playing a full-contact game (the goal is to get the dead fish back to your side of the field and yes parents, we split up girls and guys for this one!) we finally had our first serious injury... Josh broke his collar bone. He was such a great sport about it and stayed at camp for the rest of the weekend. Josh, you're awesome!!!

Josh was such a good sport!

Josh, Brad, Carlon, Jeff and I watching Sheldon organize the kids into teams

Rachael and Maddy trying to wrestle the fish away
Mmmmm... fish!
Connor and Kellen duking it out

Noah, Jonah and Matt trying to get the advantage

In the afternoon some people went swimming because it was so nice out, and a few of us went out on Starbucks runs and just had a great time in general as we got to know one another better.
Kathleen, Temi, Sue, Meg and Cassie on a Starbucks run
Melanie and Tolu (before Tolu got thrown in)

Tyler enjoying the lake in a kayak

After dinner we had chapel and our second message from Jeff, about finding our identity in Christ. Once again it was a powerful message. What our students liked best about Jeff was that he isn't afraid to tell  it like it is and is blunt about it. There is no sugar-coating in his messages, which are usually short enough to keep our attention (but so packed with truth that I took over two pages of notes for each one!). We ended chapel with small group discussion in our cabins which was one of the weekend highlights for me. From what I've heard from the other leaders, all of the groups had rich discussions and our students had lots of good questions. Please be praying that the seeds Jeff planted in our heads will grow and not wither now that we're coming down from our 'spiritual camp high!'

CJ, Tolu, Sue, Jeff Bethke, Mark, Josh and Keenan

Our evening event was a concert and coffee house. The amazing Andrew Allen played a set and did a wonderful job. He's played at camp before and our kids sure were excited to have him back.

After that, the guys played games or hung out, and the ladies all gathered in the lodge for one of our weirder camp traditions: underwear decorating. Every year I buy packs of plain high waisted, unflattering underwear and fabric paint and pens and we decorate them together. It's one of our best bonding activities because it's very rare to get all our girls in all grades together for something they all enjoy. There's always a lot of laughing and joking around! We gathered in the Lodge multi-purpose room and all the girls were up there and playing a game when I finally walked in and it honestly nearly took my breath away - 25 girls is a lot of people and seeing them together (especially since our older girls really take the younger ones under their wing) laughing and hanging out really hit me. I work with amazing teenagers!

Taylor and I hanging out with the girls

On Sunday we LOVED being able to sleep in because we had brunch instead of breakfast and lunch! Wahoo! It was especially great because I got up earlier and was able to spend some time enjoying the nice weather and sitting near the beach reading (Sheldon has finally convinced me to read Lord of the Rings). What a nice start to the day.

What a great place to relax with a book!

After breakfast we had another round of chapel, and Jeff spoke about how we were created to be worshippers, whether that's worshiping God or worshiping things. He really challenged us to take a look at the things in our lives and determine whether we do those things for the glory of God or for ourselves.

In the afternoon Chilliwack lead field games with their Earth Ball. Thankfully no serious injuries like the day before! I wasn't there (I went into town) but I've heard everyone had a great time and the games ended when Tolu and friends popped the ball! Whoops!

Jeff, Farren, Kellen, Iana and Asia with the Earth Ball
Mourning the loss of the Earth Ball

The weather was much cooler on Sunday but the rain held off for most of the day and a few people still went swimming. Most of us hung out on the dock or elsewhere.

Another one of our girls' traditions is to dress up for our last dinner and then have a photo shoot. Amazingly this hasn't caught on with the rest of the churches! Our girls looked so beautiful and the guys were our 'paparazzi' as we all posed for group shots on the dock. What made it even better was watching Kellen get thrown in the lake afterwards!

It's like having 25 little sisters sometimes... very pretty sisters!

Melissa, Colleen, Tolu, Hannah, and Chelsea
Following that we headed to chapel again and the youth pastors and directors played a trivia game - which I won!!! Wahoo! Somehow I beat Tim even though Brad came up with the questions - for future reference, Hawkeye is Brad's favourite super hero, not The Flash (how did I get that one right? I don't even know who Hawkeye is!). Jeff's message was about grace and pursuing God. Another good one!

After that we had our annual Hootenany (talent show) that Jake and CJ hosted. There were 10 acts, including a drum solo by Brennan, and a guitar medly by Tom. Ebeneezer ended the night with a great skit, and there were some spontatious 'acts' along the way, including some dancing and Jeff showing us how to work the catwalk.

Tom playing his awesome medley
Well, hey there Brennan!

Another weekend highlight for me was our giant dance party after the Hootenany. It's no secret that our kids love to dance (which I'm thankful for, as I really do too!) so when Tim ended the show by playing "Call Me Maybe" (parents, if you don't know this song I suggest you look it up, it's pretty much swept teenagerdom by storm!) we couldn't keep still and broke out in a seriously epic dance session! I think next year we'll have to add "dance party" to the official weenend line up!

Once we were danced out we headed out to the campfire (the rain started later, thank goodness!) and Tolu lead us in lots of fun camp songs. She had lots of help from people in the crowd and we had a hilarious time acting goofy and singing songs like "Brown Squirrel" and "Funky Chicken."

The rest of the evening was a night of free time and McDonalds runs (thanks Jake for driving!). Some of our girls were doing nail painting and somehow got the Chilliwack guys to get manicures! Like I said, crazy youth group over there! After lights out, some of the guys did their annual tradition of sneaking out and plaing games or doing a 'ninja run' together. Sheldon tells me they played Man Hunt until 3am (they were so quiet I never would have known!) and had a great time.

On Monday morning we packed up and had breakfast. The rain came just in time! For Jeff's last chapel session, he did a Q&A with us instead of a normal message. Students could text their questions in anonymously. He answered everything from his recent proposal to his girlfriend, to his favourite books, to high school relationships, sex issues, and struggles with vices like pornography. So many of the issues he covered are skimmed over in our churches and youth ministries because they're awkward to talk about and the kids are ashamed or embarrased to bring them up. He was frank and honest about many of those struggles and wasn't afraid to talk to the kids about them. At the end, he even performed his spoken word poem, Sexual Healing, which I've posted for you below.

Finally, we loaded up the bus, had lunch, and hit the road. We made it home at 6:30 after an uneventful bus ride and said our goodbyes. Our guys even made it to the church soccer game on time!

Eric, Farren, Tyler and Matt on the bus

Thank you for your prayers over the weekend. Please continue to pray for our students as they contemplate what Jeff had to say. Please pray that what he spoke about really hit home and that this will be the start of something new and wonderful in the lives of our students!

Thanks Sue and Tolu for the photos! As more are posted on Facebook I may add a couple to this post - be sure to check there for more photos!

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