Last week was my week as Director of Girls’ Camp at Eagle Fern. I feel today that I am just waking up from it, from the recovery process of a long haul of preparation and execution. In some ways this feels like my first day of summer vacation: the first discretionary time I have had since school let out. Today I can choose what I want to do first: shall I do laundry, or water the plants, or go out to lunch, or write, or organize my craft room jumble? The joy of choosing is part of the summertime freedom.
If I told you about camp from a camper’s viewpoint I would tell about the skits and the s’mores, and the counselor dress-up With the judges and the campfires and the western day and the crazy hair day and the pajama breakfast and the skill sessions where we learned to sew or go on the challenge course or do woodworking or dancingHip-hop class
or cheerleading or french braiding with ribbons. I would tell you about how nice Amanda is and how her stories about Much-Afraid in that book made me think she was just like me. I would tell you about free time and the store where we got to spend money every afternoon and do crafts and go swimming or go on the zip line or the giant swing or the challenge course or do archery or shoot BB guns. There were so many things to do and it was so much fun to be with my friends for a week to sleep in the same cabin and stay up late whispering and giggling.
If I told you about camp from a director’s point of view I would start in March with a sheet of names and email all of last year’s counselors. I would tell of searching for the unknown group of 24 counselors needed to staff 12 cabins of girls, and the repeated phone calls and emails and unreturned messages left until just the right group of counselors was solidified the week before camp. April was spent leaving phone messages so my trip with my dad in May wouldn’t interfere with camp progress. The big worry was getting an activities person and a music person, two vital roles that eluded me until the week before camp. I called every musical person I knew who could lead and play an instrument at the same time; you’d be surprised how many of them are otherwise employed during the summer. Our activities person was a new-to-me recruit from Amanda’s university, and what a relief to have her! Every morning and evening there is an all-camp activity such as the counselor dress-up for the “Miss Eagle Fern” Pageant, a scavenger hunt, etc. Five evenings we had planned prior to the activities person coming on board: a movie night, a hoe-down,
Electric slide after the Virginia Reel wore out
Hoe down fiddlers
2 campfire nights with s’mores,
a banquet night and the Miss Eagle Fern pageant.
So, besides recruiting, a great deal of energy before the week started went into scheduling the classes, chapel times, cabin activities and all camp activities. Charts were made as to what was offered each day and sign-up sheets made. Skill sessions were planned with various counselors leading them. The girls had to be divided into their cabin groups including their requested cabin buddy and/or counselor. And then on the day camp started new registrants walked in the door with plaintive voices “I thought my grandpa was signing me up. Can I be in -----‘s cabin?”
Was it a good week? Very. That’s all you really wanted to know but I just had to say the rest of it. On the last day as I led the line of campers to the rec center to be picked up by parents, a camper said to me, “I waited a whole year for this week and now I have to wait a nuther whole year.” Another camper said, “We never have breakfasts like this at home. This food here is so good.”
Some of our girls come from very poor circumstances and some from financially comfortable. Their heartaches have no economic boundaries, however. Loss of one parent or another affects many. Trouble with friends and self image is common. Knowing that they are loved by us and, more importantly, by the Lord, is the real mission of the week. In this, Amanda did a wonderful job of sharing Hinds’ Feet on High Places (Hannah Hurnard), the allegory of a young girl learning to trust the guidance of a Shepherd. Trying to make a team cheer
Finally, after a few wet days, blue sky
The cooks get to eat at last
and a happy director! But I don’t mean to give the impression that it is our doing which made the camp successful. Everything was prayed over and our prayers were answered. We had so many last minute personnel changes and the Lord supplied our needs. The books which were to be the big prize on Friday night arrived on Thursday via UPS at camp. The flu which was going around from the previous week didn’t spread to our campers (however, I came home with it). We had no accidents or injury except a bee sting and some homesick tummy aches. No behavioral problems. No whining or grumbling about the weather or anything! Everyone did what she was supposed to do and the staff genuinely cared for the campers!
Yes, it was a great week!