This is the time of year when I start really missing church camp. Little things start reminding me of it. Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Songs we sing just a bit differently here than we do at camp. Books I’ve talked about with my best camp friend. Sleeping bags. Seeing my camp friends post on Facebook. Standing in line for meals.
It’s especially painful this year, because I can’t help thinking that I’ll never be a camper again. Not that I don’t enjoy staffing. I do. It’s great. It’s just so different. And if you know me, you know I’ve never been fond of change.
Currently, though, what I’m going to miss most is Senior Week. I can’t staff that week for a couple years since I’d be too close in age to the campers, and it is my favorite. I love the atmosphere, and I’ve always learned a lot.
I’m going to miss many of my camp friends, too, since most of them will still go to Senior Week this year. Camp friendships, especially between people who go year after year, are something pretty special. They’re literally born of blood, sweat, and tears (but hopefully not much blood). At camp, you’re around people when they are definitely not at their best – dirty, tired, grouchy – and you learn to brush it off and still appreciate each other.
Of course, there are things that will remain the same. I’ll be staffing with some of those friends in years to come (and this year, Lord willing). We’ll keep singing on the hill. The hikes will still be grueling. Kids will still get injured during Capture the Flag and still love it.
Last year was, for me, the best week of camp ever. The material we studied was excellent; I learned so much, and I’m going to use what I learned all my life. I can’t really put my finger on what else made it so fantastic, but I’m glad my last year as a camper was extra special.