Escape is the name of our Sunday School’s yearly summer camp, which is more of a weekend retreat. Our church owns a land in Michigan which we transformed into a campground with a lot of hard work over the past few years. During the summer of 2015, I went to my first camp there as a counselor. A lot of planning and shopping and praying went into this event, but the hard work payed off big time.
After packing the bus early Friday morning, we set out for the campground. After a 2-hour car ride, everyone was excited to get settled in and start the fun.
While the kids unpacked their sleeping bags, we set up our tents. The kids were sleeping inside the cabins, but there was no room for all the counselors to be inside, so we volunteered to stay outside in a tent. We foolishly thought that air mattresses would be better than sleeping bags, but boy were we wrong! While the temperature was in the 80s during the day, it got really cold at night. And we hadn’t brought more than a blanket each, so we suffered through two nights of shivering.
After we had set up our tents, and while the kids were eating lunch, we set up a slip ‘n slide on a giant tarp for our water fight. The kids had a blast, and we did too.
Friday night, we had a church service in the gazebo. It was really great to interact with the kids afterwards in small group, and listen to what they had gotten out of the message.
Saturday, before the kids had woken up, we got together with all the leaders and had worship as the sun rose. It was really great. Once the kids had woken up, we had breakfast, and then another service with them. then it was time for the fun to begin.
They played soccer while we struggled to fill water balloons wth paint. We struggled, and then we failed. Paint does not go into a balloon the way water does. So we decided that for our “crud war,” they would just use the paint bottles to squirt out paint. We also filled balloons with water, and laid out sacks of flour for the kids to use to get as messy as they possibly could. It was great until kids started chucking the sacks of flour at each other.
When they headed to the showers, we began laying out the items and clues for the scavenger hunt. We divided them into two teams, so there was a bit of a struggle dealing with both of them at once, but we succeeded.
That night, we had another service in which each child was asked to let go of the things that came before Jesus in their heart. They wrote these things on pieces of paper, and then we all went to the bonfire, where they symbolically let them go by throwing the paper into the fire. After worship around the bonfire, it was time for s’mores.
When they had had their fill of s’mores, it was time for capture the flag. We stuck glow sticks into six water bottles, three green and three blue. These we hid on opposite sides of the camp, and with a rope dividing the sides, began the most epic game of capture the flag that has ever been played.
By 11 pm, it was time for bed. The next day, all of their parents would be joining us at the camp for our annual picnic, so they needed their rest if they were going to be able to play volleyball, kickball, and soccer.
It had been another great year at camp, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that we couldn’t wait to go back the next year.
All pictures taken by me with an iPhone 6 and Canon T3