*It rained on Monday and Tuesday – for the first time on a camp day that I can remember. That presented some challenges… such as how to do theme skit when the set is outside and it is raining?
*We had 120 elementary school aged campers and 80 middle school/high school counselors… both may have been all-time highs!
*The fire alarm went off… twice! On two separate days! Fortunately, both times it was a false alarm.
*We tried something new this year: a memory story. The campers heard a story from the Bible that tied into that day’s theme, then we asked if a camper wanted to come up and try to retell part of the story from memory. They paid close attention to details and did a great job retelling it.
FCC has had a day camp on its grounds for each of the past 40+ summers. Over the years it has evolved quite a bit – there was a time when there were field trips, swimming lessons, and even an overnight camping trip for older campers! But regardless of the specifics, FCC Kids Camp has ministered to the children, youth, and parents of our community over the course of two generations. Our own Steve Loux first accepted Christ as a camper at FCC day camp, his wife Christie was a head counselor when she was in college, and now their son Timmy is a lead counselor with us this summer! By the way – be sure to thank our lead counselors (joining Timmy Loux are Eric Wen, Megan Schenk and Olivia Butler), interns (Jeremy Kaetzel & Bailey Barfield), director (Jeff Kaetzel) and others who hold leadership roles in camp (such as discovery center teachers and co-lead counselors).
In talking with families at our church, I have learned that there are other camps and VBS’s at nearby churches that have great programs. Prudent parents are able to schedule their children in 4+ church camps in one summer – some of which are free! What makes our camp unique is the involvement of so many teens. They bring boundless energy, creativity, joy, and a ‘big kid cool factor’ that our campers really enjoy. Other children’s and youth pastors who are part of churches larger than FCC marvel at how we are able to have so many teenaged volunteers every summer (over 120 this year). I asked a handful of them last week WHY they give 40+ hours a week for 4-5 weeks every summer? Here is what they said:
“I love the people here. It’s such a blast” – a first year Counselor-In-Training
“It is fun to meet new kids and new people” – a somewhat quiet counselor
“I am gaining experience so I can become a counselor in the middle school group someday!” – a current middle schooler
“Free food!” – many counselors (thanks to all of you who donated cookies and counselor snacks)
“I am going to come back every year. This is the best place ever. It is my favorite summer camp!” – first year Counselor-in-Training who’s family does not attend FCC
One of my favorite moments of my job is getting to interact with campers, parents, counselors, and our paid staff over ice cream at the closing program. The only thing better than getting to exhale after a job well done is getting to exhale TOGETHER with people you worked side-by-side with all week. I think that the sense of “community with a purpose” that comes through doing camp is not just what teens want, it lies deep in the heart of every human. God made us so that we would feel fulfilled through having relationships with one another while serving Him and others. This sense of fulfillment is strongest for me after completing a week of Kids Camp.
Our campers say some pretty strange things. Just for the fun of it, check out a few that were overheard last week:
"If I had a million dollars, I would hire cockroach assassins to defend Madagascar."
"One time I punched her and her eyes fell out."
"You think I'm nice but I'm a mean wrestler."
“I'm so happy I don't have to water the plants.”
“Me and my friend are going to build a machine that will disintegrate every human being on earth.”