Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bible Camp


Bible Camp became an annual occasion where I would travel with anywhere from two to ten of my closest friends. Yes, ten of my closest friends. All afternoon crafting sessions and campfire songs became a part of my adolescent narrative.
Starting at age eleven, I traveled to Bible Camp for one week each summer where I would anticipate a week that was supposed to be filled with a spiritual awakening, yet it usually held something more likened to a weeklong Sadie Hawkins dance. None of the hormonal drivings affected me during my first years of Bible Camp. Instead, I was more interested in the daily game of Capture the Flag or the clever camp counselors’ stories. I had to convince people to join me in the nature trails because very few people seemed to enjoy the steep, dirt trails the way I did. They were no wider than two feet and on each side of the trail you could find a variety of sharp or pointy brush that could warrant a trip to the camp nurse. Even a pretty intense case of poison ivy could not keep me from the trails year after year.
Every year held some certainties. Campfire songs. Hot cabins. KP (kitchen patrol) duty. The one thing that I hoped would not make an appearance at Bible Camp was my annual case of laryngitis. It wasn’t just coincidence. It had to do with my screaming as I played those field games, the fact that I had to sing every single song that a camp counselor strummed on his guitar, and the late nights talking from top bunk to bottom bunk. For years, I became known as that girl who always lost her voice. I could usually hold out for two days and it was pretty quiet from them on.
All things in teenagedom hold an ounce of drama and nothing shouted drama like the campfire time. Our campfires were held on what could have been one of the few hills in North Dakota. On the peak of the hill were three huge wooden crosses. We’d sit around the fire for an hour or so and sing songs. Usually, a counselor would share their story of faith. That was always the boring part. I just wanted to sing. The campfire held a new excitement when I reached that point in Bible Camp when I met a boy. Year after year, I would spend one week with Paul. We were a little different than most camp couples because we’d write to each other every week and even see each other during the year between camp week. We were not always in that exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend relationship but remained close for many years. Paul was so connected to Bible Camp that he became a counselor years later.
Some kids get homesick when they said goodbye to their parents and some became love sick when they said goodbye to their camp sweetie. I didn't suffer from either of these ailments at camp. For me, camp had everything that I loved during my teenage years...friends, songs, games, nature, activity, and a little handholding.

1 comment:

me said...

I never got to go to camp so thanks for the stories!