“Can’t we stay here forever?” – Carson, age 11
Family Camp has come to a close for another year. Leaving is always bittersweet. While we look forward to our own beds and our home showers, the bonds that are made each year are difficult to walk away from.
Family Camp is as close to intentional community as many of us come. All ages relish in the new friendships that are formed, the old friendships that are reestablished and grown, and chance for all ages to be kids for a week. There is no doubt that camp offers a sacredness that can be difficult to identify in the busy-ness of our everyday lives.
That moment when you realize you forgot to bring ketchup…and your kid will NOT eat what you are serving without ketchup – but no big deal, there are dozens of other families who remembered ketchup and are more than willing to share. Or when you are setting up your tent for the first time and a ton of folks not only help but teach you how and give you their expert tips so that next time you get to sound like the old pro.
We come home with memories of the beach, time around the fire, and laughing at the antics of other people’s kids (because it’s always funny and adorable when it’s someone else’s kid). We have our tie-dyed shirts, sheets, and pillowcases. We have learned how to play games we had never heard of until this week. But most importantly, we have connected.
Faces in the crowd are now new friends. Songs that are played at the “other” worship service are now some of our favorites. We’ve chatted with first-time family campers and folks who have been there for decades. When the pump for the well (the source of all of our water) went out, we joked about it because we were all in this together. (A guy came to fix the pump mid morning and left to a round of applause from the GUMchurch campers)
When 49 kids (many of whom haven’t slept quite as well as at home) get together, conflict is bound to arise. Watching our kids compromise and find a peaceful way forward is a lesson for all of us.
THIS is Christian community at it’s finest.