Have you ever been to a children’s camp that was so unorganized that, when you returned home, you told yourself, “I’ll never do that again!” Those exact words came from my mouth the day I returned home from one year’s camp.
This year I helped with camp as a counselor for seven and eight year-old girls. I helped with camps twice before and enjoyed it very much. But I have never been as frustrated as I was this time. Even though I struggled with the organizational problems, the Lord used this experience to teach me some valuable lessons.
On the day camp started, I arrived about 30 minutes early so I waited in the car for everyone else to arrive. We had a meeting of the camp counselors scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the church. While I was waiting, the camp director drove into the parking lot and asked me if I would run a few errands for him and meet him back at the church at 9 a.m. which was the time the children were scheduled to arrive. After some discussion about the errands, I set out the complete my tasks.
My first task was to pick up a young woman who was going to help with camp. This woman lived a short distance out-of-town on one of the side roads. I had some general directions to her home but as I approached the area where I was to turn off, everything was confusing. I passed the road that I was supposed to turn on and went about a mile past her home. I finally ended up borrowing a cell phone and calling the woman directly to get better directions.
After I picked her up, our next mission was to go to the local mall so she could get some candy for the youth who would be in her cabin. Next we went to pick up some laminating sheets for a craft project. After completing our tasks, this woman and I went back to the church, arriving just in time to see the children arriving with their sleeping bags, pillows, and luggage.
I don’t know if the camp director had a prayer meeting with the counselors but if he did, I missed it. This was the first of many mistakes that were to follow. Though I had prayed for camp, it didn’t keep me from the many frustrating moments that were to follow.
As the children arrived, they piled up their camping gear in the foyer of the church and waited for the time to load it on the bus. I loaded some of it in my S-10 Blazer and helped another mom fill her car up as well. Not too long after the cars were loaded, the children began boarding the church bus.
Our church bus, at that time, was an old school bus that was painted a tan color with dark brown trim. It wasn’t the prettiest thing to look at, but it managed to get the job done.
After the children were loaded and the rules were explained to them, the bus pulled out of the parking lot. I followed the bus and some parents in cars followed me. We drove about 12 miles to our destination at a small Bible camp at a nearby lake. This lake is small so the water usually gets warm enough in July or August so the campers can go swimming and it is fairly calm and peaceful.
One major problem with this camp is that it was scheduled in June and the weather became a major source of frustration from cabin counselor’s and children alike. The weather was overcast and rainy the whole week of camp. Also, the water in the lake was very cold and not suitable for children to be swimming in it. Unfortunately, the camp director had planned for the children to spend several hours each afternoon swimming and he had no backup plan. Consequently, the cabin counselors and camp director were continually scrambling for ideas and supplies for indoor activities to occupy the children in the afternoons.
Each year I help with camp, I generally always bring extra activities for the children in my cabin to do during bad weather. This year I had brought a package of sun catchers for the children to paint. This helped keep the girls in my cabin busy for part of the time but still many hours were spent trying to find something fun for the children to do. By the end of camp, many of the children were bored and I was very frustrated with “Camp Raining.”
This experience taught me not to depend on the weather and to always have a backup plan in case your first one doesn’t work out.