Mama Goes a Campin'

Hi, my name is Amy, and I don't do camp. I'm a stay-at-home (or a nice B&B) kinda girl who prefers to remain clean and non-sweaty and avoids bugs AT ALL COSTS. Unless my little girl wants me to go to camp. And then I do camp.

So, I knew I was in for a fun time when the one other adult on our bus got promoted to a car rider and I had to face a bus load of super-excited kids by myself. I found a seat next to the one little girl who did not appear to be overly excited, and it wasn't long after we turned onto the windy, hilly, long road to camp that she turned to me and said, "I get car sick really easily." From that point on, anytime she looked at me, I helpfully reminded her she should really be looking out the window.

Across the aisle sat the most excited girl on the bus. She asked me approximately 517 questions on the rather short ride, most of them about camp and what it would be like. I patiently reminded her 517 times that I'd never been here before, so I couldn't really say. I was also no help when she wondered if I'd heard the latest Justin Beiber song. Just as I was thinking we didn't have all that much in common, she made the statement, "You're only 25." I won't bother with the context of that, because it's beside the point. The point is, she thinks I'm 25. We are now friends for life.

Even though the trip was only about 40 minutes, the kids managed to ask "Are we there yet?" as many times as you'd expect if we were going to China. Finally, we were there, which led to lots of screaming and jumping, to which my car-sick friend rolled her eyes and asked why people her age had to be so annoying.
I felt as though surviving the bus ride was a pretty good accomplishment, but it was only the beginning.

I'm dreadfully afraid of those bugs that start with a "c" (or an "r" for short) and like to scurry about at night and scatter when you turn on the lights. My main concern in going to camp was being visited by some of these dreaded creatures, and wouldn't you know...what was waiting at the top of the stairs just before we went into our bunkroom to deposit our belongings? Yep, you guessed it. It was dead, but you know where there's one dead one, there's 10,000 live ones. (But I won't leave you in suspense. I only saw one live one the whole time, and it wasn't in my room or close to my bed. However, that didn't stop me from lying awake in bed at night imagining them crawling around the room.)
You can't see it here, but just below Maddie's bed, behind those lovely beach towels, is the spot where I laid and imagined all the creepy crawlies just waiting to get me. Yes, I'm weird.
As soon as we put our stuff down and got a quick briefing on the afternoon, the kids headed to the dock to canoe. I felt like I was the only one who thought things were completely chaotic and wondered if it was a good idea to send boatfuls of kids who didn't have a clue how to use an oar out into the lake by themselves. Amazingly enough, they all made it back safely, though not always with grace and skill involved, and there was that little girl in the blue bathing suit (you can see her below) to pull them back to shore, or something like that, if they found themselves stranded.

Here's my little Maddie, who you can plainly see is about a head shorter than most of her friends. She's a cute little shrimp, though.

Here are some of my chaperone buddies. Guess which one was the only one of us to swim in the lake with the kiddos. The rest of us felt it very important to stay on the shore so that we could watch and make sure everyone was okay.

I don't know the actual name of that big green thing in the water, but I would suggest "Giant Make-Em-Tired Thingy."

Here are most of the sweetest group of girls you'll ever meet. A couple missed the photo. Really, though, they are a remarkably wonderful group. I'm so thankful my girl has such great friends.
 We got lots of swimming time, canoe time, and just general hang-out time, but there were also great times of worship, Bible teaching, and quiet time. The theme of the week was "Running the Race," so there were lots of races and games that tied into the truths being taught. It was crazy to look around at that group of 50+ kids, knowing that it won't be long until they're not kids anymore, and praying that the truth they're learning now will take root in their hearts and lead them to run their race well.

Some of the sweetest times were each morning when the kids had a scheduled quiet Bible study time. They'd find a place alone out by the lake, and we'd see them reading their Bibles and having their own time with God. I'd wonder what was going on in those little heads of theirs, hoping it was meaningful time for them.

This guy here can tell you that "running your race" with sin in your life really weighs you down!

One morning, we split up into two groups. The first group played baseball in the blazing hot sun, while the second group went on a lovely hike up a hill to see the giant cross and enjoy the beautiful view of the lake. I was pretty happy when my group got to switch from baseball (not that I played or anything) to hiking. In the pic above, we're a group of happy campers heading into the nice, shady woods. We crossed the bridge, looked out over the peaceful lake, and started straight up to the cross at the top of the mountain. Everything was going swimmingly until somebody unknowingly stirred up a yellow jacket nest. Let me tell you, things went from lovely to horrid in about 1.5 seconds. Before we knew it, a slew of people, young and not-so-young, were screaming and swatting and cryin' for mama.

Now let me just say, I am not the person you want with you if you're ever caught in a burning building. I'm pretty sure I'd high-tail it outta there and check on you later. There were heroic adults who headed into the swarm, pulled kids out, carried people down the rocky hill, directed others to safety. I think I held someone's bag and contemplated how I really did not want to go any further up that hillside. I know for a fact that the thought of taking a picture did cross my mind, but then I thought it might be in poor taste. Seriously, I'm a chicken and not so helpful in bee-sting crises. And the whole episode is a prime example of why I'm not outdoorsy.

So, with our dramatic camp story behind us and lots of people pumped full of Benadryl, we headed to lunch. Can I point out that no one appreciates barely mediocre cafeteria food like a bunch of mamas who have to cook most every night of our lives? Even on the not-so-edible spaghetti night, I just put some salad on my plate and went back for another crusty piece of garlic bread. And we've never been so okay with "hashbrowns" for breakfast making another appearance as "tater tots" at lunch. Who cares? I didn't have to cook it!

Besides Bible study, roach dreams, sweaty baseball games, and bee stings, there was Hot as an Oven Rec Time. The main duty of me and my friends was to slather mobs of kids with sunscreen, try to find a spot in the shade, and show sympathy to anyone who turned up injured. The kids' job was to slide around in soapy water and kick giant balls into the goal for their team.

And then, if our pastor happened to pay them a visit, the kids were to give him a warm (soapy, wet, smelly) welcome. They did a good job.

Here I am in one of two pictures I asked a friend to take to prove to posterity for all time that I did indeed go to camp. We look so happy. And we were. But we were also dripping sweat from every pore of our body. In some ingenious move, swimming pool time was scheduled right after recreation. We've never been happier to see a pool.

The next morning, a few lucky recruits got to live out the dream of every 10-year-old boy. Get half-naked and smeared with shaving cream. Then have lots of other kids throw cheese balls at you. For some of us it's a nightmare.

Then they gave us the option of staying in the nice sweltering sunshine and play a game of kickball....or hike back up the yellow-jacket-infested mountain. Guess what my kick-ball-loving daughter chose? She went with peer pressure and made me go back up that mountain. (Please understand that I'm using the term "mountain" loosely here. Hill doesn't quite do it justice, but mountain may be a little bit of a stretch.)

For the first 250 steps, all the kids jumped and screamed every time a fly flew by. Let's just say we were all a little on edge and very aware of any flying or buzzing occurring anywhere near us.


In the end, we made it up that mountainish hill, touched the giant cross, enjoyed the lovely view of the lake, and made it out alive. Just in time for some questionable looking hot dogs.


Yes, ma'am, I was at camp. And I did wear nothing but athletic shorts, t-shirts, and a bathing suit the whole time. There is definitely a plus side to this whole camp business.

In the end, my poor, sweet Maddie and I had to leave that evening before dinner (less than 24 hours before the end of camp) because she was running a 103 degree fever. She had also fallen and scraped herself up pretty good the first day, so it wasn't the best camp experience for her. But she was glad her mama put aside all the ickiness and went with her anyway. It was a priceless experience that left me very glad I had gone...

....and very glad we have lots of boys in our family who have a daddy who would absolutely love camp. :)


  1. Oh honey, I am so with you about the camp thing. I remember when I went with Abbie to camp a little girl got sick and the nurse took her to a hotel for the night to get her out of the heat for a little while. I remember being soooo jealous of that nurse. I wanted to cry as I watched her car drive off to the air-conditioning and I had to turn back to my oven disguised as a cabin. There was also a little girl in my cabin who sleep-walked and I would wake up and find her staring down at me. Unsettling to say the least.

    I know you are glad you went though and I know Maddie was! You are a great mom!


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