This past Sunday afternoon our church took a small group of students to camp for a few days, this was the first camp that our church has attended and terrifyingly I was the chief event planner. That said, it was a blast and no one ended up in the hospital which already puts me one up on my last church camp as a chaperone. One of the many things I love about where we live is the abundance of awesome places to camp within a very short drive of our home, organized camps catering to churches was no exception. I managed to find a camp that matched our needs that was less than 20 miles away from our church, a grand total of 35 minutes of driving… my round trip total was less than half of one leg of any other church camp I have ever been to.
While we were a very small group we were still the largest group of students at camp… primarily because we were the only group of students at camp. We scheduled ours to coincide with the first full week that school was out meaning that the only other people at the camp were the paid staff and summer volunteers who were all undergoing training this week. The pastor and I both agreed, when we do this again next year we are scheduling it for the same week; we had the entire place to ourselves and that allowed us to have a great deal of flexibility in our schedule.
I have to give credit to the youth staff of mine and Leslie’s first home church (as a married couple); it was there that I learned the delight of using ½” PVC as blowguns for the little marshmallows. I spent one evening last week cutting and gluing together PVC tubes so that everyone would be armed. Our second night at camp I brought them out along with several bags of marshmallows. As I expected, the war quickly devolved into a giant spitball fight as the students quickly learned that if you chewed the marshmallow just a little bit before sending it down the blowgun it would actually stick to the shirt/arm/hair/forehead of whoever you were targeting. At the risk of sounding repetitive, it was awesome.
Our last night at camp, shortly after the epic marshmallow war, we played manhunt… holy cow am I getting old. It would be one thing if it were my muscles that caused me to roll out of bed Wednesday morning, but no, it was my joints, my knees and ankles were killing me. How old do you have to be to be complaining about your joints after a tough couple of days of physical activity? Apparently it is however old I am. Advil and Alieve, here I come. On the plus side I could still run down every single one of my students, even the couple of boys going in to 8th and 9th grade… I might just have to be a spectator next year.
The food was excellent (for camp food), we had shrimp scampi, beef tenderloin, biscuits and gravy with real eggs (not powdered or poured out of a box), made from scratch chocolate chip cookies, French silk pie, and so much more. None of my students seemed to think it strange that I had strategically chosen our table so that it was the closest one to the dessert table. Our only complaint was about how cold the pool was, and really, if I am honest about that, it wasn’t too bad. Once you had fully submerged yourself for a couple of minutes you got numb enough that you didn’t even notice it. I suppose the drawback of attending church camp in the mountains of upstate New York in June is that summer has only been underway for a week or two and a hot summer here means it gets up to 93F; the pool is always going to be cold. I love sweet tea an all but the South can keep its 100F days with 976% humidity.
I was in Florence, SC today visiting a job site and after everything that has happened I think I might need to purchase a lottery ticket. First, once I had spent the entire day out in the sun and humidity that is so typical of South Carolina weather and after having been booted out of my hotel prior to being able to grab a shower (apparently late check out only gets you so far); I went in search of a truck stop with available showers. Fortunately my drive is all highway miles so it was a simple matter of finding a good exit. I found a Pilot Travel Center where I was treated to an exceptionally clean shower that I just so happened to be offered to me for free by the lady in line in front of me who said she had a couple of showers left on her Pilot card (apparently they expire). Then, after driving from Charlotte to Florence last night, visiting the site during a plant shutdown today, and driving back to Charlotte this evening I have cut a number of things closer than I typically do. Having opted for the Fuel Purchase Option (I buy a full tank of gas up front and don’t have to fill it before I return it) the previous evening I pulled back into the rental car lot with my ‘Distance to Empty’ indicator flashing a number in the single digits. Then, I made my way into the airport for a later than usual flight. I wound my way over to the TSA pre-check line and made it through literally seconds before they closed the checkpoint. In fact, it seems that about the only thing I have not been cutting close is the one thing I usually do, getting to my gate just prior to them shutting the doors for departure. Oh well, there’s still time for that, I could go and try to take a nap somewhere not at my gate, somewhere like this comfortable rocking chair I am sitting in in the middle of the terminal. I’ve never actually purchased a lottery ticket before so I might have to Google how to do this first. Powerball here I come.