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Camp stories, part 2 June 23, 2010

Posted by markgeil in Church.
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I’m on the plane now, in the air, being stared at by a baby girl with impossibly chubby cheeks, and pondering youth, even as I think again about our camp kids. Is it an artifact of youth that five intense days of frivolity, challenge, reflection, and introspection can change a life so much? Perhaps not.

Bunks were chosen, names were learned, and the first of so many orders were uttered. At home I will utter orders sometimes: brush your teeth, put away your clothes, those sorts of orders. At camp I feel like the orders flow from me without ceasing. Put your bathing suits and sunscreen on. Meet in the big room. Don’t wander off. You only have five minutes – get moving! No running! Where are you going? What did I just tell you? Ugh. I knew we had a few boys this year who did not listen well. I had thought they might be difficult. I had no idea. We had three or four “Jonahs” who would always go the opposite direction from where you just ordered them to go. Thus all the ordering.

Monday night was music time, the second ever gathering of our camp band. I absolutely love leading music for the kids, and it’s even better with a band. I play guitar okay, and I guess I sing okay, but it’s the band who really fills in the gaps. Hannah played keys and Andrew played guitar, and both sang all the songs that were too high for me. Eric played drums and made us rock, and Charles played electric and acoustic and 12-string and probably some other stuff too when I wasn’t looking. I’ll tell you more about Charles later.

Anyway, here’s why I dig music with the kids so much. First off, they are uninhibited, energetic, and playful, but they can really worship through song. Their hearts are on their sleeves, and they match the smiles on their faces. Second, for someone like me who is scarcely adequate as a musician, their standards are blissfully low. Several years ago I got my first compliment about camp music when a kid said, “You’re like the best guitar player I’ve ever seen!” Granted, I might have been the first guitar player he’d ever seen, but still. This year, I got what just might be my favorite camp music compliment ever.

Camper: “You know that guy, Michael something?”

Me: “Michael who?”

Camper: “Michael W. something.”

Me: “Michael W. Smith?”

Camper: “Yeah, that’s him! That’s who you sing like”

So, I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

And so it was that we shouted and shouted together words like “redeemed” and “seek” and “forgiven”. Some of the kids knew what they were singing, and they sang the words to God. Others heard what seemed like a foreign language, and decided they wanted to learn it. And some just like to jump around and sing, and I think that’s probably okay.

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