Thursday, June 16, 2016
Braids, Freckles and Support Crews
We planned our whole day around the 2:30-4:30 Family Day visit to see our girls who are at camp for the week. Not knowing exactly what to expect - would one who has never gone to camp before (or really been away from us at night at all!) hang on us and ask quietly for us to take her home? Would they be having fun? Would they be getting along? How do sisters do camp together and still live in peace?
The drive never disappoints! With sweeping views and thunder clouds rolling in, there is no word short of majestic to begin to describe. We wait at the closed gate and wonder if we'll beat the rain as we also wonder if we are hearing rifle range shooting or thunder or a combination of both. The windows creep up and down in the car as we are both chilly from the breeze yet loving the scent of the mountain air. And so just like we layer clothes and have to put things on in the shade and take things off in the sun, our windows follow suit.
We're the first in the parking lot receiving yet another warm welcome from more staff. Could the people here be any friendlier and any more welcoming? I don't think so. As the sky looks ominous, we head off to the indoor arena for visiting rather than a traipse through the woods and I realize I still have flip flops on so hurry back to the car for more campy shoes.
Rounding the bend in the gravel path, we hear, "Mama!" coming from the doorway - and there is my sweet eleven year old girl with wispy french braids and mountain summer tanned skin. She looks like she's been outside and glory, hallelujah - that is how kids are supposed to look in the summer! Freckles, wispy braids and the relaxed air of spending time in God's amazing creation with people who care about her and her heart.
Quick hugs and then the older sister is off to retrieve the younger. They have us as their captive audience for the next hour and a half while we listen to hail, rain, thunder and an American Idol competition going on between cabins. Yes, it is as noisy as you think. And my heart is about to burst when I realize how beautifully they are growing and being themselves.
Younger sister is all smiles and I can see what a good time both are having by their faces and chatter, how they grab their counselors and introduce them to their mama, brother, and grandparents. The pride evident on their faces and in their words.
As each has blazed their own way yet they have also blazed together - it is pure beauty to watch and observe. I'm so proud of them for not being fearful, for each doing what fits them. Rachel joins the Dippy Club and gets up to jump in the frigid mountain lake every morning at 6:15am while Emily has no interest - but they are each being true to themselves. That is the beauty. Neither is pressured to conform by the other in this instance, though I'm sure there are some, but each does what she wants to do and expresses herself accordingly.
They tell us all sorts of things and give lots and lots of hugs, it was just the sweetest time. And, the peaceful drive home was all the more beautiful for the fullness of our hearts at what we'd just experienced. Hail in piles on the mountain sides, the glorious damp smell of woods plus mountain air - as I said on Instagram, I wish these photos were scratch and sniff!
I am grateful for all of the camp staff - I see them as part of my support crew reinforcing the things I work hard to instill in my girls day in and day out. For them to see fruit, to continue the investment, to come alongside - these are the true gift. To genuinely care about these girls hearts, their future, their eternal address - these staff leaders are missionaries and giving their summer in such a purposeful way.
Dear camp counselors and staff - you are making a difference. You are giving your summer for something of value. Yes, I know you get paid and you must love the camp culture to do this - but it goes beyond that. Please know that at least one mama this summer sees and applauds you. Even better, God sees and He is at work.
As a homeschooling mama who is with her little chicks literally all.the.time. this sort of come-alongside help is such a gift. My family does this for me, my dear husband, so many of my friends, my Classical Conversations community. And, yes, our summer camp staff who make this kind of experience possible. It is so nice to know we are not doing this on our own and that there are those in our lives who do stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us raising our arms up when we get tired.
Consider who around you is your support crew. Who do you support? How can you thank those who are coming alongside you?
I know there are lots of great camps out there - we are partial to Eagle Lake and the ministry of The Navigators!