LYFE Camp 2009 Week I – Wednesday

This week, I’m blogging about LYFE Camp, the week-long United Methodist Church youth camp where I’m in my fourth year as Dean. While my blog is usually about creativity and writing, I hope regular readers and campers’ parents alike will find inspiration in reading stories about camp. Thanks for reading, and your comments are always appreciated (I’ll pass them along, too, as I’m able).

Wednesday saw the theme of “One Way, Wrong Way, This Way, That Way” reminding campers that there is no one path to God. We stress the individual’s journey to faith at LYFE Camp and one of the greatest ways we let people put their individuality into practice at camp is at the dress-up dinner and the all-camp dance. There’s no one way to look good or dance the night away, and our campers proved it.

The dress-up dinner was fun and everyone looked sharp. It was also a smooth process, from a logistical standpoint. A photo session of various groups like counselors, cabins, and small groups went quickly and we even took an all-camp photo, something we usually save for Saturday. Everyone ate dinner by candlelight with their small groups while Chaplain Kent J. and I ate at a long table at the front of the Dining Hall like some fancy-schmancy folks overwhelmed with their own opulence in a movie.

After the dress-up dinner came the ever-popular all-camp dance. Every year we have a few new campers who don’t want to go, claiming they don’t dance, but what they don’t know is that our dances are unlike any dance back home. There’s no dating pressure, no asking pressure, and no judgment. In fact, our motto is, “the dumber you look, the cooler you are.” And we sure looked cool out there, dancing to a ton of songs including pop, rock, line and group, ironic (Backstreet Boys, anyone?), and slow dances. And yes, EVERYBODY had at least one slow dance.

Highlights from the dance included first-year campers Alex S. and William S. getting out there and dancing despite saying they don’t dance, Nick C. singing and dancing along to “Billy Jean” with bravado and authority, cracking and assembling neon glow bracelets for the dance with CIT Amber W., and reigning limbo champ and my brother, CIT Jordan M., losing out to camper and my sister-in-law, Maggie R. Way to keep it in the family, Maggie! Oh, and it’s not from the dance, but I believe CIT Susan S. accidentally, innocently, honestly turning the Word of the Day on its head was brilliant (Call: “For Narnia!” Response: “And Aslan!” turned into Call: “For Narnia!” Response: “And Iceland!”).

Something else important happened today. The water came back on. For the first two days of camp, many folks staying out in the prairie were unfortunately forced to deal with an undersized fifty-year-old pipeline, all clogged with calcium buildup, desperately trying to pump water to eight toilets and eight showers. Water was sometimes blasting, sometimes trickling, and sometimes not there at all. It wasn’t a great situation and while water in the prairie cabins is never necessarily anything like back home, it’s never been like this before. But here’s the thing: despite being a frustrating situation, our community rallied together to come up with solutions.

SCs piled campers into their vans and ventured out to the blockhouse for showers. Kent and I opened up our cabin, Spear, for showers. And everyone set up as much of a rotating schedule as possible so only a few showers were running at one time. None of these solutions were ideal, but they helped our community deal with the issue together. Finally, after a plumbing crew dug into the ground and replaced a clogged valve, the water is flowing and so is everyone’s happiness. Along with that, however, this is a sign that Decision Hills Camp can use your help. I now appeal to readers to help us raise the just-over $1300 plumbing bill that Decision Hills doesn’t have, as well as any other funds you might have to help their dire financial needs. If you feel LYFE Camp has benefited a youth in your life, your financial contributions are appreciated.

Tomorrow we go on a Quest…


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