Thursday, July 16, 2009

High Adventure Camp

Here's my week as a counselor at Lake Michigan High Adventure camp. Actually, I don't have photos of the whole week. Every counselor was taking pictures, so I stopped. Here are a few highlights...

I was the co-counselor for the Black Team. Jason was the male counselor.

The typical daily schedule went like this:
7:00am Wake up and shower
8:00am Breakfast
8:45am Adventures in Chores
9:00am Morning Worship, Skit & Bible Study
11:00am Morning Adventure
12:00pm Lunch
1:00pm High Adventures/Swim
3:00pm Swim/High Adventure
5:00pm Family Time
5:30pm Dinner
6:15pm Mighty Adventure
7:15pm Evening Adventure
9:15pm Snack
9:30pm Fire bowl
10:30pm Get ready for bed (Family fires)
11:00pm Lights Out

Campers arrived between 3pm-5pm on Sunday (July 5th). After everyone got their beds made and settled in the tent we spent a few minutes getting to know each other. Then we headed to the dining hall for dinner. After dinner our team played the Yellow Team in a game of broom ball. Then everyone gathered for the Big Banana Hunt. We were right behind White Team as we closed in on the Big Banana. But they beat us.

Addy and Nadiya tried out the big chair.

One of my girls summed it up for me the first day when she asked, "We don't go to bed at 9pm?" Oh the glory of having the younger girls. With that being said, I didn't have any problems getting them to sleep when it was lights out. And if we were early to bed, there was no complaining!

Monday: the Black Team got to play Capture the Flag with the Green and White Teams in the morning. We spent the entire afternoon on the beach. We got to kayak out on the lake. I was a little nervous about that, but once I got out there, it was a blast! We had good weather that day. In fact so good that we all got sunburned! And we even used sunblock. I took my umbrella the rest of the week. After dinner we quickly tried to get a game of disk golf in with the Pink team. We got three "holes" in. Dave (Pink's Male Counselor) and I were creative and we let everyone throw at the same time. It was a blast to watch all the frisbees take off at the same time. Then it was time for Camp Olympics. There were all kinds of relay races. We all had a blast racing back and forth all in the name of fun. Then it was time for fire bowl.

Tuesday: The Black Team were Hoppers at all three meals. That meant we had extra Family Time and no Adventure in Chores. After lunch we went out to the Challenge Course. If you've ever been to camp (or a team building seminar at a camp) you know exactly what I'm talking about. The Black Team had to get to "Heaven" using only two wooden planks moving from one platform to the next. Each platform was a different size. One of our boys has been to the Elementary Camp, so he knew what to do. After they breezed through it, Jason had them start over, using a different route, which also meant a more difficult route. But they did it! Then we moved on to the single platform where everyone had to have one foot on the platform and nothing else touching the ground. They did not work so well together on this one, and never really accomplished it. But they did manage to get up for about five seconds, and since it had taken them a half hour to do that, we let them go. The next challenge was the Spider-web. They were a little too eager and kept touching the ropes. But eventually everyone made it through. The last one I don't remember what it was called. It's where two people start at the narrow end of a V shaped balance beam, you hold your partners hands as you both move slowly down to the open end of the V. I was very impressed that Jason and I made it to the end. The kids were not so trusting and kept their butts sticking out, so the farthest any of them made it was just past half way.

After the Challenge Course we went down to the beach. It was much colder on Tuesday. And the wind was blowing from the north. That meant I had to weigh down my umbrella to keep it from blowing away since I had to face it into the wind to block the sun. That night we were supposed to sleep out on the beach. But it was going to be down in the 40's, so the Dean's decided to wait until Wednesday night. After dinner we had hang out time. The girls all learned how to make cool new bracelets and necklaces with beads while the boys played Nuk-'em.

Then we went out to the beach to have a Beach Party. That just meant we played a game of water-balloon-sling-shot-aim-at-your-counselor. Jason went down to catch the water balloons for the Black Team, first. He didn't catch any. And the kids didn't really have the hang of it. When I went down to catch the water balloons, it was clear that Jason gave them better instructions on where to aim and how to use the sling-shot. I caught four! And even though I tried to keep them away from my face, every one of them splashed me in the face! After that we had fire bowl and went to bed.

Wednesday: The Black Team's Morning Chore was just cleaning our tent and site. After the morning worship we met up with the Green and White Teams to do our Bible Study during a hike. We climbed Heart Attack Hill (does every camp have one of those?) and hiked along the top of the dune. We went down to the beach and had our Bible study in the sand. (oh the sand!) Then we walked over to the Sugar Bowl which is where we would be sleeping that night. After lunch we went with the Purple Team to Mac Woods Dune Rides (check out their website). That was really fun!! I had no idea what it was going to be like and was worried I would get wet (because it was still cold) but thankfully, I sat behind Jason and our side did not get wet.

When we got back to camp we headed down to the beach. After the beach was dinner and after dinner was a bike ride with the Orange Team. I didn't get off to a good start when the chain on my bike broke. But I was able to catch back up with the group. We took a nice trail around the base of camp. We saw where the new baseball field is going in and got to see the camp in a different way. When you're at the tent sites you would never even know there was a path going right behind the site. But sure enough, there it was!

After that was a Camp-wide game of Ultimate Frisbee. Several of the counselors realized that it had become a counselor only game and we stepped out. I'm used to being a counselor where you encourage the kids to participate and remember you are only there for their safety. It's not camp for me, it's camp for them. Thankfully there were others who felt the same way, so I was not alone. we took a stand and let the Dean's know that we didn't agree with the way the counselors were playing. In the end the kids all had fun. Then we went back and gathered all of our things to go sleep on the beach. It was still cold that night. By the time we got over the dunes and into the Sugar Bowl, the sun had already set. But the sky was still streaked with rose colored hues. It was gorgeous.

Thursday: We all woke up damp from the morning dew. We packed up all of our stuff and headed back over the dunes to get ready for breakfast. We were definitely hungry that morning! There were no showers because we didn't have time. After breakfast we cleaned the dining hall restrooms.

After worship we worked with the Purple and Red Teams on a Service Project. We lined the Challenge Course path with logs and cleared sticks from around that area. It seemed like all we did was eat because lunch came after that.

Then the Black and Blue Teams headed out for the High Ropes Course at Grace Adventure.
I had one girl who really didn't want to go. I talked her through it, and in the end she only had time to climb the ladder. My God Moment of the week was when I was talking to her and I told her, "I know you can do it. I know you can climb that ladder, and I know you could walk across the double beam. I believe in you." The look in her eyes as I said that is indescribable. It was as though for the first time someone was telling her that and she believed it. I watched her believe in herself. That was awesome. All of our other kids did a great job climbing and crawling their ways through the high ropes. I took some great pictures on Addy's camera.

When we got back we headed down to the beach. Then dinner which was a "cook-out" that night. That just meant they brought all the food out to the fire bowl and we all ate outside. Then we joined the Green Team on the giant slip and slide. The dean's have built this themselves so when I say giant, it's not your mama's slip-n-slide. They had to extend it because the big boys go off it. The one dean installs sprinklers so he made the sprinkler system for it. It was amazing. Of course when I finally took my turn I pulled both thigh muscles on my first two steps. It was painful. I wasn't able to go down again after that. I was very sad. But I think that got the rest of the girls to go. They loved it!

After that we all got ready for the dance. Gerrit (aka Spaz, counselor of the Purple team) was the d.j. He rocked the Christian music like no other. It was fun! Of course that's when I realized most of our kids were dehydrated. "Drink Water!" because my motto! After the dance and fire bowl, we were all in bed when we heard singing. The boys were out serenading all of the girls. It was very sweet and beautiful. Only one of the girls in my tent had managed to stay awake, so sadly the other three missed it

Friday: Wow. Where did the week go? Monday was the longest day ever and the rest of the days flew by. After breakfast, morning worship and our Bible Study the Black Team had some free time. While two girls showered, the other two worked on the bracelets that they had learned to make on Tuesday. The boys all played on the tire swing.

Tobey climbs in for his turn and Eli is ready to spin the tire.

Fatmata and Jeneba work on their bracelets.

After lunch we headed to the beach. It was the first cloudy day. We were very lucky with the weather.

Eli, Evan and Tobey dug a deep hole and then buried themselves in it. The girls helped cover them once their arms were under the sand. It didn't take Eli or Evan very long to get their arms out when it was time for them to "break free". But Tobey had sat in a weird position and did not have any leverage to get himself out.

Here, Evan is free and poses for the camera while Tobey still tries to dig out his legs.

I finally got Nadiya to smile for the camera!!!

We left the beach and went with the Green Team out to Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Everyone climbed the 102 steps (or something like that) to the top. All around the railing it told you how far different places were. I only took the picture of how high up my feet were.
Somewhere, Brian has an awesome picture of the two of us leaning over the edge, screaming. It took me a couple of minutes to get up the courage to pose for that shot, but I finally did it. Then we all went down to the beach spelled out, "Lake Michigan Camp". Brian stayed at the top and took pictures. It turned out so cool! Hopefully I'll get a copy of that too!

The Black Team girls all posing in front of the lighthouse.

We got back in time for dinner (whew!) and then we practiced our skit for the Talent Show. We did the "I have to Wee!" skit. The counselors started off the Talent Show with Over the Rhine's "Poop in the Potty" song. Mike was the poop with his brown sleeping bag, some counselors surrounded him as the toilet. Others were the Turdettes. We called ourselves the Number 2 band.

Lots of the teams spoofed game shows. The Black Team went last and had a blast! We stole the show. Then all the returning counselors rounded up the new counselors for an initiation. They tried tying us up behind the shelter, but we escaped (just kidding, they did try to scare us though). They brought us back onto the stage one by one. It turned out to be a whipped-pie eating contest. Or rather, find the starburst in the whipped topping pie. Lisa and I tied, but it didn't matter who found it first, it was who had the least amount of whipped topping on their face. But that didn't really matter either, it was for fun, and we had fun.

Then it was time for our last fire bowl. We all took communion in our own teams. Having the younger group meant that there was more contemplation on their own then praying or being saved. After the boys went to bed, the girls went out and took their turn serenading.

Saturday: The last morning. We woke up (oh, I didn't mention that Lisa was in charge of waking us up every morning. The first morning she rang the bell. After that it was all about riding around on the golf cart and being obnoxious which all the counselors loved! We'll forever remember her chant , "It's time to wake up, it's time to wake up, it's time to wake up this morning.") to Lisa singing "Rise and Shine" aka the Noah song. We carried all of our stuff out to the pick-up area and cleaned up the tent and the site. We had breakfast and then we waited for the parents to show up. After introductions and some singing (this years favorite camp song was "Mighty to Save") the kids had a chance to sign up for next year. And then, just like that, they were all gone.

And that was my week as a counselor at the High Adventure Camp on Lake Michigan!

Summer, so far...

It's been crazy busy. June started off with me flying out to NJ for the last days of the Show House. No photography was allowed, so all I have is the link here.

Two church friends had their babies. Both families added a baby girl. Both girls are adorable. A very close friend moved to Illinois, our bff Heather. She moved to become a full-time youth director at a church. She's going to be awesome and while I'm very sad that she moved, I'm so excited for her and this new opportunity to serve God and youth. She is coming back tomorrow for our Jr. High Workcamp trip. I'll get that posted when we return.

Then I had my 1/2 birthday. I love D.Q. ice cream cakes, and the D.Q. is closed here in the winter so I never get one on my birthday. My half birthday was a perfect way to celebrate!

At some point, Bill and I spent an afternoon at Meijer Gardens.

The strawberries took forever to come in due to the cooler weather. But it was definitely worth the wait. I didn't get out to a U-pick place, I picked them up at the Farmer's market. Yum!

Then, Jenny had her birthday party in St. Joseph. Several couples got together for a wine tour.

Here are the grapes on the vine. Not quite ripe yet...

We visited the Round Barn Brewery and Winery. The Cocoa beer was the best. Of course they were sold out of it in bottles. They still had kegs!!

The Vineyard at Karmen Vista

We visited five wineries and two chocolate stores.

Then Mom and Skylar came to visit. We went to Meijer Gardens (that Membership sure does come in handy!) and we were going to go to the beach, since it had been in the 90's the week before, but of course it was chilly and cloudy the week they were here.

The Children's Garden is celebrating its 5th Birthday this summer.

We took the Boardwalk path and saw all kinds of animals. Let's see if I can remember everything we saw; a couple turtles, a heron (or was it a crane?), a couple frogs/toads... we saw another animal... It wasn't a beaver, but it was some kind of animal like that. Not a muskrat... I'll have to find out. I forgot!

We also took a trip to the Farmer's Market. We picked up more strawberries, fresh green beans and some cherries. Then we stopped at Wealthy Street Bakery. Oh man! We each picked out something and then got cinnamon rolls for the next day. Everything was SO good. And since there were four cinnamon rolls, I was lucky enough to enjoy another one the day after they left.
Here is Skylar eating the green beans, they are really fresh!

That brings me to the Jr. High Adventure Camp at Lake Michigan. That deserves its own post...