... Even the worst heartaches can become heartstrings to God's hope, comfort, encouragement, joy, peace and love...

Welcome! As a fan of the cartoon character Maxine, I enjoy her witty remarks. But when I
read my blogs & other writing to her, she's not very responsive- even when I'm wearing my bunny slippers like hers! She just doesn't get it!
Although she's funnier than I am, I do pray that this site will bring encouragement to your day! I'd love to hear from you! Unlike Maxine, you can leave me a message via the Comments. Shalom, Connie


Monday, October 09, 2006

Camp Rules

There are only 2 camp rules: #1- The nurse NEVER tells what frightens her.
#2- Campers can't hurt themselves unless a bandaide will fix it.
Oops, there's one more for young campers: You don't have to be hurt or sick to see the nurse.

I did camp nursing for 10 summers so my son could go to camp. I've been in big camps- over 300 campers with 100 staff to little groups of 10-12. I'll tell you about the 2 big ones as they were great contrasts.

First, was a YWCA camp on Lake Michigan for inner city Chicago girls. A greyhound bus dropped them off for 2 weeks & the girls ranged in age from 7 to 16. The 7 & 8 year-olds came to see me in their jamies each night for a moment on my lap and a hug. The 15 & 16 year-olds were tough inner city girls, who tried very hard to intimidate me. Actually they did, but I never let them know it.

The highlights were teaching a 7 year-old how to manage her asthma. She went from several attacks per day to 0-1. We survived an outbreak of strep throat with fevers during the hottest days of that summer. My son learned how to share his mother with lots of girls, learned how to draw a walking stick (the insect), and tried out lots of new crafts at the lodge. Best of all were our walks in God's forest in the afternoon's. My son told me that I was his "bestest friend." I replied, Thank you; and will you tell me that when you are 16, please!" (He did!)
The interaction between my nearly 4 year-old sonand I was extremely important that summer as many of these girls were wise about drugs, sex, guns, gangs, dysfunctional/broken families, and poverty. They knew very little about love. I pray we made a difference.

A couple years later, I did 17 weeks at a Jewish boys and girls camp. Ages 8-16 except the last week, which was for disabled adults.
What a contrast between the Y Camp & the Jewish Camp. These kids came in limo's; some were brought by servants or lawyers. Most of their parents were in Europe or on safari or where ever rich people vacation. The camp had everything you can imagine: tennis, golf, rifle range, swimming, sailing, row boats and assorted water "toys," horseback riding, a variety of animals, camping, crafts, archery, rollerskating. Although the camp was on a beautiful, large lake they took turns going by bus to Lake Michigan to swim, climb the dunes, spend money, and get sunburned.

The downside was: spoiled children; counselors who took turns after lights out going to town to drink and smoke marijuana; a owner who catered to the kids, but wouldn't call a vet when needed; a second nurse who came for a vacation & never was without a hangover and a sunburn.
The upside, was that my son had the opportunity to try things that I could never afford. He meet a lonely, chubby boy, who was always being teased, as was my son because everyone thought he was 8. He was 6 1/2. They became such good buddies that the boy pleaded with his parents to stay another 8 weeks & did. On Olympics Day my son won at the rifle range. (I just didn't look.) And he sprinted to the finish line first- winning for his team The Trophy.
Best of all was handicap week. Unlike the rich kids these folks were so thankful to spend 5 days camping that they just beamed and applauded for everything. They came with their own staff, who were wonderful young people with huge hearts. My son cried when they left.

But all three camps had one thing in common- the need for love. The rich kids were also from the Chicago area, but they knew the hired help better than their parents. They wore designer everything and it was a challenge keeping the older boys and girls in their own camps (across the road from each other). We did have some injuries including a broken arm from falling off a horse. My son had fun, mostly; and I worked hard that summer. Again I hope that I made a difference.

Oh, I forgot, I treated a horse's eye infection, a pig's mastitis, a lamb's injured "knee", and talked to the chicken's so they'd lay eggs!

Like a writer friend says, "Ya just gotta love 'em!" (Children and critters)

Shalom, Connie

Monday prayer focus is ministries.

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