Going Home

The camp that I went to last week was Craig Springs in Virginia which just happens to be my home camp. I can not express how excited I was to be able to go back after not counseling a camp at Craig for six years. Going back really felt like a home coming for me. Growing up I knew once I saw those mountains and lost all signal from my phone, it was the beginning of an amazing week where I can truly become closer to God without all the distractions that the outside world provides. I really feel like Craig is a different world up on that mountain surrounded by beauty.

In Virginia they do triple camps which means that they do all three age groups at once just as Arizona did. The main difference between Arizona and Virginia’s triple camp is that Virginia had more interactions between the different age groups. The things that the age groups did together were good morning Craig Springs, free time, the hike, stargazing, evening activity, meals, and evening worship.  Then of course each age group had their own time as a group as well as time for crafts. Then there was a time when the oldest age group and the youngest had time together where the older are mentors and go and do fun things with the younger.

I spent most of my time with the high school age group (senior high) but I did go and do things with the younger groups. The workshop that I did with the juniors (elementary age) was my workshop on bullying. They did a really good with this and tied it into the theme for the day which was about speaking up. The workshop that I did with the senior high was my poverty workshop. The kids really got the point of this workshop and made some great points during the discussion and how it tied into the theme for the day about abundance.

The workshop I did with the junior high (middle school age) was my workshop on disabilities. I was really excited about doing this workshop because this was the first time I was able to do it. This workshop was one that took 24 hours to do and required that there would be people that had no clue what was going on which is possible to do at a triple camp. The first hour that we met the campers made signs that said that they were different and we had a decorating competition for the prettiest, the most religious, the funniest, and the most abstract. The kids had a lot of fun doing this but afterwards they were informed that they had to wear the signs for the next 24 hours and could not tell people what was going on. The signs proved to be a hindrance as they tried to go through the day. It proved to be a challenge as they went through the low ropes course. People also asked them questions about why they were wearing signs. The next day I rejoined the group and we had a discussion on their experience and was really able to dive into disabilities and the importance of treating them like people who bring their own unique prospective to the world. We discussed the importance of having things set up in a way for people to be able to live independently. The discussion went really well and had a real impact. Later in the week when the theme was speaking up, some of the junior high campers spoke up about what I said to the rest of the camp. Normally you don’t get to see the impact you have but I felt it then.

Later that week I was able to do another thing with this age group. I was asked by the coordinator to come up and tell them ghost stories before they went to bed. I was able to tell them three different stories. The first one is an old family story that happened at Craig. The second was the ghost story from Christmount. The last was the story of old man Craig which went deeper into the history of the camp. To end the story time off, I sang the campers a lullaby to send them off to bed.

Most of the nights I also led stargazing with the campers. Now most of the week it was cloudy so we improvised a bit. The director and I picked out a few constellations that was up during the night and put them up on the ceiling of one of the buildings. That way they can see what it looks like and I could give a bit of information on it. I would also tell some mythology that went with the constellations. I also taught a bit about the big bang theory and Jupiter. On the last night it was finally clear and I was able to point out all that I talked about in the real night sky as well as some other things like the moon and Mars. During the week I stressed how science and religion could work together and not be opposing forces like so many people set them up to be.

I love the evening activities that we have at Craig. One of the nights we played life size battle ship and then went into a shaving cream battle. All the campers were covered in shaving cream and had so much fun with it. I know that my hair afterwards looked like a giant white poof. Another night we had the dance which was a lot of fun with everyone doing group dances together. Then of course we had the talent show with Granny being back and hosting. Being able to see Granny brought me back to my childhood of doing talent shows at camp and she was as funny as ever. On one of the other nights we played Romans and Christians which has always been a huge tradition at Craig. During the worship that went with this game I was asked to speak on what Craig means to me. Being able to do this meant a lot to me but I will admit it was really hard for me too. My older sister passed away a few years ago and that was the first time I had played the game at Craig since that happened. This game and Craig meant a lot to her, so much that her ashes are spread where Roman and Christians worship always takes place. I ended up talking about how Craig is a family that is there for you no matter what because they were that for me.

I felt like this week went really well. I was able to reconnect with a lot of old friends and laugh so much. It was wonderful having late night talks with the other counselors. It was hilarious to be able to see how into cabin clean up the senior high boys got and to see them gallivant around camp. Then going back and doing things I use to do as a camper like going star tripping. This camp brought back so many memories and was healing in many different ways. I loved being able to go home up on the mountain.

Unfortunately my camp for this week got cancelled but since I was in Virginia I was able to go home for a week and reflect about my experience this summer before I go back to Moon Beach for my final week to reconnect with the other two Peace Interns. I am really looking forward to seeing Sarah and Grace again and to hear about all of their adventures from the summer.

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