Archive for July, 2010


I haven’t blogged in quite some time.

I’ve never been one of those people who writes just to simply take up time inbetween meaningful posts.

I tend to only write {on the blog} when I have something to say.

If you have known me, oh, for the last…twenty four hours to eleven years, you would know how much I love Camp Paradise {Hickory Groves Student Camp}.

There have been many seasons of my life that have taken place at that camp and it is still not completely reality that I do not get to go with everyone next week. Sometimes when you have something that hold such consistency in your life, you forget how much it means to you until it is stripped from you.

There are several memories and life lessons that I’ve passed through while in attendance at camp, as a student or a leader.

I’ve found myself dreaming about it lately, vivid dreams of highlights of years gone by.

I remember the first year I went to camp, I had never been away from home for that long (a whole week- woo hoo). I was nervous and scared, but glad that I had some friends with me. I remember a very long bus ride to Florida in which I am sure I annoyed Jordan Spicer every 10 seconds about our semi-dramatic middle school “relationship”. Haha. That camp was gross (we have since then changed locations)! I remember how when I walked into my cabin for the first time it looked more like a room that housed people sent off to boot camp rather than sugar-filled middle school and high schoolers. I remember almost getting thrown in the lake by Justin Williams and then lying and saying I had a cell phone in my pocket (I didn’t, but I stayed dry :] ).

In seventh grade I remember I finally rode the tubes, and quickly learned that was most likely not going to be my favorite thing about camp. They were good for two things: scaring the crap out of you and a secret hand holding session with your crush of the week.

In eighth grade I remember wearing everyones clothes except mine. See, before the week of camp Erin and I would call each other and divy up who brings what (curling iron, hair dryer, shampoo, etc) then we would always make sure each of us brought our entire closet, not kidding. I still do not know why it was necessary for us to have 27 shirts each, but it was- I promise. Other than the intense amount of clothes busting from my bag, I remember how much worship music affected my life that year. I think it was one of the first times I “let loose” in a service and allowed myself to raise my hands in praise to God and to let the tears fall when they needed to.

I was so excited to go to camp as a “cool high schooler” my 9th grade year. My leaders that year were Lisa Roberts and Chad Keith. They were hands down the best leaders I have ever had. Lisa was such a “cool” mom (much like mine), willing to really listen when you needed to speak. Chad was so in tune with his Bible and really shared from his heart about submitting to God’s will for your life. I was encouraged. I was also on the “creative movement team” that year, haha, I’m sure we felt like we were the coolest people alive.I also remember unfortunately pulling my hamstring that year, whatever- it wasn’t unfortunate…I hated land rec! I met Brian Queen for the first time at camp that year, after I had pulled my hamstring I was just sitting on the steps behind Rasts (spelling?) hall by myself, and he came over and introduced himself and prayed for my hamstring. I always thought that was neat, sometimes when I was growing up I felt like an oddball, so it made me feel cool that someone would take time out of their day to pray for me. I remember a lot of people praying for me that year, because it was a year that my faith was truly awakening. I remember being out by the lake with Josh Trent and he prayed that as I started high school I would stay consistently strong in my faith and not allow the newness of what I was feeling to wear off just a few weeks after camp. I remember sending countless “encouragrams” back and forth to Meredith, we really bonded that year.

My sophomore year I mainly remember I chose not to sneak out at night and therefore am never held accountable for that dang golf cart that got wrecked, haha! I also remember meeting Joseph that year. We annoyed each other. He was a leader and was in my group and he was so LOUD! At the end of that camp we all swapped screen names (haha, doesn’t that take you back?) and I think I stalked him for the next three weeks- guess it worked.

My junior year I realized how “at home” camp felt to me. I began to know that place like the back of my hand. Clint Pressley visited camp for at least a day that year, he let students come put their names in his journal and pledged to pray for their names daily for a year- the vision of students signing the book is still etched in my brain. I have no doubt he kept his word. I began understanding how much adults could really influence students. So many people took their vacation, paid or not, to spend loving on us and sometimes we didn’t even appreciate it.

My senior year I felt a little bit like a black sheep. I had decided to be a leader that year instead of going as a camper, and although that is the norm now- I was one of the first to break the mold into that happening. I had a very energetic group of middle schoolers, one who just graduated from high school- congrats Jeffery Tanner! I remember feeling so humbled, I was all the sudden this person that could be a part of making camp such an influential part of a persons life, like it had become to me. I am so happy I got to lead that year, I really needed that to keep me rooted in my faith before starting college.

After my freshman year of college I returned as a leader, this time I joined the hospitality team, and I haven’t looked back sense (thanks to Shelly Edwards and now Teresa Glenn being such great leaders). I fell into my nitch this year.  A lot of people probably see hospitality and wonder what the heck we do, and why that kind of team is necessary. I may have even wondered that before I joined the team. I have never seen such a group of women to serve without complaining about what their hair looked like or how much they were sweating. From the 235 million (it seemed like) bags of ice to be carried, or countless coolers of gatorade to mix (and make sure you don’t get the dirt on you into the cooler….), or sometimes “diva” band members that have special request and requiring another trip to walmart after you just returned from the 15 minute drive into town…these women rocked it with a smile on their face- and kept me coming back!

After my sophomore year of college, this camp I remember more vividly than any other camp. It was such a hard year. Erin’s dad had just passed away and we were all emotionally spent. She and I stayed up every night really late- talking, reminiscing, crying. Although we were both leaders at this camp, I know that we needed the message just as much as the most unsaved person there. I remember watching Erin throughout some of the nightly services and how intently she was listening- I know she was blank and broken that week, I know God was speaking to her. He was also speaking to me, reminding me yet again, of how you never know how much time you have to influence people, so you need to take advantage of the time you have.

Finally, last year, the year after my junior year of college, I had one of the most fun times at camp that I had ever had. I was newly engaged and excited about it, my sidekick for life Erin was there, and I got to interract with Blair a lot at camp. It was neat to see Blair in places I had been before, working through life’s situations and finding yourself at summer camp away from the busyness of back home really opening up time for you to evaluate where you at in your life. I hope she continues to let the Lord speak to her, as I know He will this year. Also, the leaders had the most FUN dance party late one night, if you haven’t seen the video…. there it is.

That brings me to this year, camp is in a few short days and this is the first time in 11 years I won’t be there. I know that many more of these memories will be made, but I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that God needs me home this year. Not sure of the reason, but I trust that He is not allowing me to go for some reason, beyond that – I want you to realize that if you are going He wants you there for a reason…so please open up your heart for Him to show you that reason (student or adult). Don’t take this week as just a week to have fun. I hope that all who are able to go realize what a blessing it is to have all of the resources available to you for a whole week: speaker, biblical study, team building with your peers, and adults that really do care about you. I cannot wait to hear about all God will do this year, and I will miss all of my campers very much!

Until then….


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