Posted by Tom French |

Camp Again

People regularly discuss with me the issue that we talk about going on camp and we don't actually camp while on camp. So if you're wondering, I went away on the weekend with the youth group, but we didn't camp. We stayed in cabins.

Going on camp, when you're leading the thing is a little bit of a worry. You have responsibility for 35 people who are the most precious things in the world to their 70 parents. It's kinda like taking 35 antique plates away except people care about plates less. Actually, I like teenagers a lot more than I like the good china. They're more fun.

Anyway 45 of us went away to the Blue Mountains to learn about God and eat camp food (which was really good this year). Getting up to camp is always a crazy process. You have heaps of excited young people running around and you have to put them all into cars. But you're never quite sure if you organised enough cars. And you find out that people who you thought were driving aren't and people who weren't going to drive are. And all the time people are asking questions about what car they're going in, where we're stopping, how we get there, where we're going to eat, which car is their child going in, and they're trying to shove their gear into different cars and shove permission forms and hundreds of dollars into your hand and tell you what sort of medication they'll be taking on the weekend. It really is literally mind boggling. But we made it. We had everyone in cars with one seat spare. It was great.

Except when I left instead of driving to camp, I decided to drive home instead. It was only when I was on the wrong side that I realised I had driven in completely the wrong direction. No worries I thought, I'll just adjust the route. So with much heckling from my passengers, a few route changes, and a few extra tolls and motorways, we made it to the mountains. And we made it there earlier than any of the other cars that left before us. We got our Maccas and we had time to spare. It made me feel pretty good.

That night everything went late, and there were people running around screaming till late into the night. But it was fun. It is good when you get to camp and you realise you have a whole weekend to spend with these people. Everyone's there to have a good time, so a little bit of rambunctiousness is acceptable.

On camp we had a speaker who is from the USA. It was fun having him, cause he was a good speaker, and he had an American accent. There's nothing that says "International Speaker" more than an American accent (unless you're in America of course, then I don't know what says international speaker...lederhosen?). He was a fun guy, and challenging. He had a good way of bringing the Bible to life, and putting you "in" the situation.

On camp we always do "the Sex Talk". We split the guys and girls, send a male leader to the girls and send a female leader to the guys. It's always much fun. I'm not sure why I like sex talks so much, perhaps because they're funny and they're honest. Everyone has a laugh, but everyone, at least on the panel, will share stuff they generally keep to themselves. So tis fun.

On Saturday morning one of the guys came up to me and showed me his bruised finger. Thinking back to my first aid training (which I'm very thankful I got) I asked if he could bend it (he could) then told him to put ice on it. Cause that's what you're meant to do I reckon. Anyway he headed off to spend the rest of the day running around and playing sport, so I figured he must have recovered alright, till the evening when one of the older girls brought him to me and said "Look at his finger, I think it's broken." So I had a look and it was a lot bigger and a lot bluer than before. Obviously my magic ice trick hadn't done what it was intended to do. I decided to get him to hospital just in case it was broken. I figured it probably was just bruised, but to be on the safe side... I rang his parents, got his sister (who was a leader on camp), designated an "Acting Camp Director", ate some dinner (priorities, if you're going to be sitting in a waiting room for hours it's good to make sure you've eaten) then we headed off to hospital. I had to leave my beloved camp behind.

Hospital was as long and boring as I expected it to be. The three of us spent three hours there. He got an x-ray, and was told he'd fractured his finger, and had to come back on Monday. And that was about it. It was just long. But I did enjoy spending three hours with these two people. We bonded and had a few laughs. But I reckon we would all have rathered been around for the talk and campfire instead. Oh well. We arrived back just in time for me to be able to tell people to go to bed.

3:30am and I'm woken up by one of the boys in the cabin next door who's worried about his friend. So I go and find the friend, get him up and we go for a walk and find a drink of water in the dining. He's not seeming too good and we can't quite figure out what's wrong. Until, 40 minutes later he tells me he needs to vomit. So we head off to the bathrooms and sure enough, he vomits. And with that he cheers up, there's jokes and laughs, and then I send him back to bed. Nothing to worry about. It's amazing what a good spew can do.

On Sunday, after the usual sitting around and sharing how good it's been we drove home. We gave the young people back to their parents and I collapsed onto the floor of my office for a sleep. That felt real good.

So all up, camp was tops. I haven't really done it justice in this retelling. Because the best bits of camp aren't really the bits that are worth blogging. The best bits are the little jokes you have when you're lining up for dinner or seeing a young person connect with God in a way they haven't before or learning something new about someone while you're in a small group with them or connecting with a person who you don't normally get the chance to hang out with. And you get a whole weekend of moments like that that are what make camp special every time. And this camp was no different. Our speaker talked about the fact that God created camp because they're such special times. And I think I agree. Hooray for camp.

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