Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Camp Oropeza Stories, Part 1: Cabin Bonding

Camp friendships are a strange thing. Sleeping away from home--often for the first time--combined with the tight quarters of camp cabins leads to fast friendships, bitter quarrels, and plenty of midnight secrets. For the girls in my cabin this summer, it was no exception. What is more, there was an unusually high proportion of Type-A personalities in this small group, so navigating even simple decisions became a bit of a high-wire act for their unwary counselor.

Luckily, our camp schedule (aided by the Paradise Point staff) included lots of opportunities for team building and learning about trust and community. As the girls paddled in canoes together, climbed the rock wall, attempted the low ropes course, and played games, they began to learn more about each other and build friendships, with their cabin-mates and the other campers.

On the day before we left, I took my cabin up on the hill for some devotion time alone. Paradise Point has a lovely labyrinth overlooking the lake that provides a great place for reflection and God-seeking. Looking at the beautiful creation surrounding us, we talked together about God's creation of each of us--the qualities that make us unique and wonderful. With a little prompting, they were able to identify many qualities--both internal and external--that made their cabin-mates special. "She is really good at climbing and swimming--as good as the boys," they said about one girl. "She has great style," about another. "She tells great jokes," and "She's really nice to everyone."

As the campers walked through the labyrinth, I asked them to thank God for creating them and for their new friends. Just as the maze twists and turns, our lives rarely take the path we think they will. There are always plot twists in our stories. But by remembering the beauty that each person brings into this life, we can overcome the things that pull us apart and find unity on our journey together.


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