Idlewild 2012

Another year at Camp Idlewild is in the books. Every year I decide that I'm getting too old for such things; in fact, this year I had decided that this was my last. But then God saw to it that I had 24 middle-schoolers (12 boys and 12 girls) who were cooperative, enthusiastic, good-natured, well-mannered and just plain fun... how could I go out with a group like that? Also, I had a crack staff of volunteers that made the week smooth as silk. And maybe a redesigned staff quarters (that we nicknamed "The Taj Mahal") made "roughing-it" at camp not really rough at all. It was a great week; thanks to all the campers and staff that made it so. Here is a sampling from the week--

The theme this year was "Heroes of the Faith." The classes each day looked at different Old Testament characters who had to trust in God during difficult times. My favorite moment from class was when Keri relabeled a can of tuna fish as "Cat Food" and then challenged the boys to try it (which, surprisingly, they fought for the chance to do). Point: Job (or Moses or one of the other heroes of the faith) had to endure some things that were yucky on the outside but they trusted God to get them through it (the boys were disappointed when they found out that the cat food wasn't really cat food). The winning cabin skit (from Boys Cabin #1) retold in Idlewild fashion the story of Moses, one of our heroes of the faith--

In the evening devotionals, we looked-- not at God's heroes from the Old Testament, but his rules. The kids learned the Ten Commandments in order and we looked at several and tried to make applications to their lives. The kids were super attentive during these 30 minutes at the end of a long, tiring and hot day; I sometimes had a hard time getting through all my material because of all the (mostly) good comments they were making. Here is Girl's Cabin One reminding us of what Jesus really wants from us--

Two weeks before camp started, I had no male counselors (always the hardest position to fill); I ended up with four and let one of them stay home (he was going as a counselor the next week and needed to conserve his energy). Thanks to Ethan Bynum, Jerrod Tatum and Will Respess for stepping up... and keeping Roger and I out of the cabins! Here is Girls Cabin #2 reminding us that we need to be careful what we hope for and focus on things that last--

The weather was HOT, hitting 100 once and hovering nearby most of the week. But the weather was for the most part dry, which made it easy to stay on schedule. As great as the camp facility is (and it was in great shape this year-- the pool was perfect and the new staff quarters and girls bath house were great), there is really not much to do at camp when it rains. We did have a real frog-strangling gulley-washer the last afternoon and evening, but we got through it. Here is Boys Cabin #2 telling us what to do and not do in a thunderstorm--

My one request from the board for a facility change would be to re-position the volleyball court back under the trees in the shade. It was too hot much of the time on some days that physical activity was dangerous. But it seemed 15 degrees cooler in the shade. Back in the olden days, the volleyball court under the trees served as the functional center of the camp-- when there wasn't anything organized going on, the kids played volleyball under the trees where it was cool )and the net was lower and the court smaller than regulation)... or they say on the benches around the volleyball court and talked. I would like to bring that back.

It was a great week. If you didn't get a chance to go to camp this year, start making plans for next year. I am.