It is summer camp time!! If you have followed my blog at all you know that summer camp is an important part of who I am and my call to ministry. I spent eight wonderful summers going to Camp Calumet as a kid, I spent another nine fabulous summers as a counselor/senior staff person at Camp Calumet. Then during some time off from college I spent three years on the year round staff at Calumet. All very important in my life and I had many life changing experiences at Calumet. I also have a great group of friends from Calumet as well.
It is no surprise that as a pastor outdoor ministry is high on my priority list. Five months into my call I recieved a letter from the Bishop’s office asking me to prayerfully consider serving on the Vanderkamp (local Lutheran/Presb camp) board. After some conversations with colleagues and after some prayer I decided this was something that God was calling me to do.
So I have been serving on the Vanderkamp Board of Directors for about a year and a half, and I really enjoy it. I am able to help formulate positive camp experiences for youth in our synod. I also came back recently after directing a confirmation camp at Vanderkamp for youth in our conference.
But none of that excites me more than seeing my son excited to start his time in camping ministry. This past Sunday we dropped of Cheese wiz at camp for his first week as a camper at Vanderkamp. Now this would not of happened if we were in New England. As much as I am excited for him to experience Calumet and do the same things that I did when I was a camper/staff person. Calumet does not allow kids to come to camp until they are eight years old. Vanderkamp allows kids to come as early as six.
He was counting down the days before he went to camp. We got there on Sunday and he was ready to go. In the picture to the right he is holding his bear so he can sleep with it at night. He packed his drum sticks so he can play in the band, he packed his bathing suit and goggles to go swimming and he was very excited to do some boating.
I had mixed emotions on Sunday. I was sad because I knew that I was going to miss him. But I was so excited for him. I know the lasting impact camp has had on my life and I know that it is going to have a lasting impact on his life as well.
This will be the first of three camp experiences for Cheese wiz. The next will come at the end of July when my parents will take him and my daughter and my brothers children for a week at Camp Calumet. Then at the end of August we will take our yearly family vacation with friends at Calumet as well. Our summer will end Labor Day Weekend when we will be at Calumet for the 90′s staff reunion which I will serve as chaplain.
I hope that my son finds as much joy and excitement as I did in his camping experience. I hope that he sees God working in the camp and in his life as I did growing up. Even if he chooses not to be on summer staff at Vanderkamp, Calumet or any of the other camps that are out there, I hope he holds these memories close to his heart, because I will never forget the look of excitement, wonder, and love that were in his eyes after I dropped him off on Sunday.