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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Week(s) (02/10/11)

TITLE: Summer Camp
By Robyn Burke


Day 1: Arrived at camp just before dinner. Whew, a long drive on a hot day with no A.C. Met all the other counselors and began our training. Most of us have been through this before-- we were only semi-consciously there. Still, Jasper, the program director, kept things lively. Bunking tonight with Julie and Trista. College girls. Bah! I was hoping Susi would be here. Right now, I’m the only woman counselor over the age of 40. Will I be able to even connect with these high school kids?

Day 2: Surprise, surprise! Susi has arrived! Seems she was delayed by a traffic accident on the mountain pass and she didn’t get into camp till midnight. Sure was great to see her big smile and welcome her warm hugs. Susi is a couple years older than me but she has a real knack with kids. She just ‘gets’ them. Finished training and had a couple of hours to prepare our cabins for our kids. Susi is in the cabin next to me and we promised to be each others backup if needed. Oh, I’ll need it alright!

Day 3. I have 12 girls in my cabin! TWELVE! What were they thinking? How am I ever going to learn all their names? I could tell some were not happy with their placement. I just know they think I am too old and they look with longing across the camp at the thin, blond perkiness of younger counselors. At vespers Susi winked at me. It will be okay.

Day 4. Each cabin has been paired with another cabin for bible study time. We are paired with Joe’s cabin. Eight boys. This should be interesting. At least I have mastered all the girls’ names. As long as they are sitting on their bunks that is. When I see them in the open, I have to pause and run through the layout in my mind until I reach their bunk. I don’t think they are impressed.

Day 5. The group just doesn’t seem to be bonding. And bible study time is awful! No one wants to share; the guys all stare at the ground and mumble if you ask them questions. The girls whisper to each other and giggle but interaction between us is not happening. Last night as I lay in my bunk, after lights out, I pleaded with God for fresh ideas. Am meeting with Susi in a few minutes, hoping for suggestions. Please Lord, guide us!


I am so pumped! We had a breakthrough and it was awesome!! Our bible study is about being Jesus to the world. Today, instead of just following the hand outs we were given, I laid a blanket in the middle of our circle. I said. “This blanket represents Jesus. How will you demonstrate him to others?”

There was a long pause and I started getting nervous but finally Aaron, from Joe’s group, got up, picked up the blanket, carried it over and wrapped it around the shoulders of Katie, one of my shyest girls. Oh, wow, her expression was priceless! It was like she had just been enveloped in a soft hug and she got tears in her eyes. I think for the first time she experienced what it means to be loved by Jesus. She in turn opened up the blanket to share with a girl on either side of her! Before long everyone was crying and laughing as they wanted to all huddle together under the blanket experiencing God’s love. It was just beautiful! Thank you Lord for this amazing breakthrough!

Day 7. This evening each counselor had private cabin time with their kids. Some were going to have communion, or a special time of worship. I chose to do a foot washing ceremony with my girls. I was nervous. Would I remember each girls name as I washed their feet and prayed for them? I needn’t feared. Their faces glowed in the candle lit room, and some had tears in their eyes. And then when I was done, Katie made me sit down on my bunk and each of the girls came up and insisted they wash my feet! And they all prayed for me! It was a Holy Moment there in our little cabin. Words fail me right now.

Day 8. My girls have all left. Just told Susi this has been the best week I’ve ever experienced. I definitely will be back next year!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst02/17/11
This brought tears to my eyes. So creative to use the blanket. And then the foot washing, a wonderful way to touch the heart. I liked the daily journaling aspect of this piece--it made me feel I was right there experiencing it with the writer. And it gave me a sort of deja vu feeling. Good writing & it fit the topic perfectly.
Joanne Sher 02/21/11
Lovely. You got the emotions just right, and I love the breakthrough of course. Nice.