Summer may be winding down, but there's still time to wax nostalgic over that old summer ritual of going to camp. (Also known as Mom's Vacation from Summer Break, haha.) For experienced summer camp-goers, maybe you've already started thinking about what you'd like to try next summer.
Did you go to camp this summer? Not every kid loves the idea. I know it can be scary to go away to a strange place where you don't know anyone and you're not sure what to expect. Maybe the friends you'd like to hang out with aren't going there with you. But it's great to get out of your same-old, same-old routine and try some sort of a new adventure.
These days there are sooo many kinds of camps kids can go to it's amazing. If I were a kid, I have no idea what I would pick! Just right here in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA (go Pirates) kids can choose anything from Science Camp (different than Inventors' Camp!) to Performing Arts Camp for the budding stage stars, to camps for particular sports (football camp, soccer camp, etc), to spiritual themed camps to help you grow in your faith.
There are service camps where you go with a group of kids to help build houses for the poor or help a town rebuild after tornadoes or that kind of thing--even Camp Cadet for kids who want to find out what it's like to be a cop! Oh, and there's also Zoo Camp for the animal lovers. There are Arts and Craft Camps, Cooking Camp for teens interested in a career as a chef, and one of the funnest-sounding ones (to me), Outdoor Adventure camps that have stuff like kayaking, ziplines, and rock climbing.
A couple of my best memories from camp were swimming the horses across a pond on a hot summer day. Horse camp version of lake swimming. The campers would have our bathing suits on for this day, because the highlight would be riding the horses bareback into the water.
I remember how amazing it was when I felt myself start to float in the deep water, hanging on tight to the horse's mane as he started to swim. I could feel the animal's enormous strength in a different way as those powerful legs began kicking when the horse couldn't touch the bottom anymore. You had to be careful not to get kicked! Then the horse would come clambering up on the opposite side of the little lake, and both horse and rider would be nice and cooled off.
Another favorite memory was getting out for a trail ride before dawn on Sunday morning to a beautiful hilltop where we had our sunrise worship service. My other favorite memory was when the kids built a maze out of haybales in the loft inside the gigantic barn. You would crawl through it on your hands and knees, and along the way you'd meet dozens of adorable fluffy little kittens who lived in the loft (at least before they were old enough to go out into the world beyond). Of course, no farm can function without a goodly number of cats to keep the mice out of the grain!
Happy memories. :) I'm sure things are different there in some ways nowadays, since that was a long time ago, but I was so pleased to find that Faith Ranch Camp is still going strong today. Take a look! (Promotional video from their youtube channel, or see http://www.faithranch.org/)
E went to camp in Upstate New York at a camp where his dad and his grandfather before him had both gone as boys. Neat, huh? He told me he went when he was twelve and he was amazed to see an old photograph on the wall there that his grandfather was in when he was twelve and a camper there!
Unfortunately, he can't remember the name of the place, lol, but it had the normal camp activities of hiking, archery, canoeing, arts and crafts, songs, and of course, practical jokes and scary stories around the campfire. Just thinking of such things makes it even harder to say goodbye to summer! Oh, well, it's almost back to school time, but why rush it? *smiles*