Well, its officially been over a day since I’ve been home from winter camp, and I think I am finally starting to recover. I was battling non-stop stomach cramps yesterday though, so that was less than stellar. You’ll understand why in just a bit.
This was Ninja and I’s first year going to Winter Camp as high school leaders. We have been jr high leaders for a while now, but when a group of kids that we were really close to moved up into high school, we asked if we could follow them so that we could continue to build our relationships with them. It’s been a very rewarding decision for the both of us.
That being said, this Winter Camp had me nervous, but overall, I left feeling like it was a success for the kids. Of course, I also left feeling like my body was going into shock from all the horrible food…
Pros & Cons of Winter Camp
The weather. It was ridiculously cold. I know what you’re thinking, “But Kat, don’t you always complain how LA is never cold?” Why yes, yes I do. But when you have 4 hours of free time with the kids that involves playing games outside in 30 degree weather, you tend to change your mind about cold weather. I’m all about cold weather, when I only have to spend a few minutes in it. I like winter weather atmosphere you know? I don’t however, like walking to Chapel at 8:30 at night in 28 degrees.
Mittens & Mint Tea – my winter camp essentials
This Bigelow tea is the bomb.com by the way. It’s a mix of spearmint & peppermint. I may or may not have robbed the supply before we left Sunday morning…
The Food. Now I realize that I was at a high school Christian Camp. I also realize that kids like to eat garbage and call it nutrition. My problem was the lack of options.
Saturday was French toast with whip cream or powered sugar with scrambled eggs. They also had dry cereals such as Fruit Loops, Cheerios, and Cocoa Puffs with whole milk. As you can see, I stuck to the yogurt bar, which has some kind of sugar filled fruity yogurt, granola and cantaloupe. I opted for cottage cheese, homemade granola (that I brought) and cantaloupe on Saturday.
Sunday was cinnamon rolls, sausage and scrambled eggs again. The yogurt bar was available again, however there was no cottage cheese on Sunday. I opted for a wheat bagel with cream cheese and cantaloupe.
Saturday was an assortment of pasta (white) with pesto or marinara sauce and meatballs. There were also greens beans and a salad bar. I got the pesto pasta, 2 meatballs (which were SO gross) and green beans. I was stoked about the salad bar, where I loaded my mixed greens with olives, tomatoes, feta and hardboiled eggs. Then I got to the dressings. All they had was ranch, thousand island and some kind of raspberry dressing. NO vinaigrettes. ALL cream based.
Sunday was white rolls (no other options) with either turkey or ham lunchmeat, cheese, lettuce, chips and cookies. I didn’t eat any of that and instead stuck to the salad bar where I had the same salad as above, with the same nasty dressing.
Friday night was pizza (veggie or pepperoni), parmesan chicken & bruschetta. I obviously opted for all of the above. This was by far the best meal.
Saturday night was mexican night. There was pinto beans, ground beef, chicken, tortillas, white rice and guacamole with churros for dessert. I opted for the pinto beans and chicken with a heap of guacamole. I was so sick by Saturday night that I literally had no desire to eat, but Ninja made me anyway.
Now I know all of this might not seem so bad, but I just had issues with all the white, refined products. I mean, how do you not have some wheat pasta now a days? This is 2014! And how is it possible that the only bread available for sandwiches was white rolls? And WHY oh WHY was there only cream based salad dressings?!
I wasn’t expecting my typically food there. I understand that this was a church camp, but the price was $180 PER PERSON. With a filled to the brim camp, I’m pretty sure they could have had some other options….
The Speaker. This guy was actually the speaker at the last jr high camp I went to, and I adore the way he teaches. He is very exciting and all of his stories and points are relevant for the kids. He doesn’t try to get them to teach some higher understanding. He keeps it at their level, helping them to realize that this is something they can do NOW, as a high school student.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Basically, it was all about how we live in a world that is constantly trying to get us to do something or be something we weren’t created for. That God defines us, not the world, and we need to live for His purpose, not for the purpose that the world is constantly pushing on us. The money, the fame, the popularity, the success, the notoriety are all things that the world focuses on, and its all stuff that distracts us from the purpose God has set for us.
The biggest thing I took away from the teaching was that as Christians, we may be willing to die for Christ, but when it comes to sacrificing our daily lives for him, that’s when we struggle. I mean, how stinkin’ true is that? I stand here and pledge myself to Christ, knowing I would gladly take a bullet or whatever for my faith, but on a day to day basis I struggle with letting go of the worldly things.
Serving with Ninja. As a married couple, and even when we were dating, serving together in the church is something we love to do. Whether it be an all church event or something with the kids, we always jump at the chance to be involved in some way. Ninja is way better at it than I am, which is why I know God brought him to me. I’d still be in my shell at the church if it weren’t for him constantly pushing me and pulling me out of it.
The Kids. The #1 and most important Pro to me was how the kids reacted to the message and how they grew this weekend. I wanted them to come together and grow in their relationships with one another, but the weekend would have been a waste is that is all that happened up on that mountain. I was 17 years old and in that very same Chapel when I committed my life to Christ. While all of our kids were already saved by Christ before camp, I just wanted them to be reignited and want to burn for Christ. So many times we let the world dull our light. We let our struggles and our burdens snuff out our fire. That is exactly what camps are for. To help re-light that flame or pull the shade off the light.
I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with the girls other than at meals and cabin time at night, but the moments we did have together were pretty special. Heck, I even got Avie to come over Sunday to watch the Super Bowl with me (and she doesn’t know a thing about football!) The girls and I are also planning on seeing Frozen Saturday morning I think, which was their idea, so that’s pretty cool that they wanted me to tag along.
Overall, this camp was a huge success. Yes, the food left me wrecked with stomach cramps for days, but I would gladly suffer through crappy food if it meant kids reconnecting with Christ. Because to me, that’s what it’s all about. My time in the youth group means nothing if I can’t get these girls (and boys) to trust in Christ.
Ever been to any kind of camp? How was the food?
Have you ever been a mentor to anyone?