Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cabin 12...YOU KNOW!

Hey all! This week seemed to flow by since the last time that I was able to update. Again, I'm sorry that it was so short! But the power cord is now found for my computer, but now I can't connect to the internet where I am! So I'm on someone else's computer, again. But, hopefully, this time, I'll be able to get out all my thoughts.

Wow, this past term has been incredible! I can't remember if I mentioned this in my last post or not, but I'm a counselor again! It's been tough and tiring at times, but so great! I'm a counselor for the oldest cabin---UNREAL DEAL! These girls are absolutely incredible! Being the oldest cabin, I have the two princesses in my cabin (one for the Kiowa tribe and one for the Kickapoo). These girls are elected by their tribe the year before to lead for the following summer. It has been so fun to watch them work together and lead. They are both so outgoing and fun and have definitely led with excellence. All of the girls are great. It's cool because they know that they are in the oldest cabin for a reason, and most of them take that responsibility and leadership and run with it. They bonded really well as a cabin early on, and we have been able to have some incredible conversations with them! I really wanted to challenge them this term, and I knew that they had the potential for it. Devotionals at night, where we get to sit down with them and learn more about God and life, have been so cool! For three nights, we just had a question and answer time where the girls could bring up anything that was on their heart and we, as counselors and the cook and kitchie that adopted my cabin, would do our best to answer their questions and go to the Word about it. It was so cool to wrestle through stuff with them! Sometimes I feel like I learn more myself or stuff starts to make more sense as I talk about it and try to teach it to them, which is pretty cool.

A few nights ago we had Cross Talk. This is always one of my favorite nights because it's a time that we all get to be reminded of the Gospel and the story of the cross. It's so cool to be able to pray for the girls and just sit in God's presence and grace. I was able to have such a cool conversation with one of my girls afterwards! We usually do "porch time" after Cross Talk instead of devos, and just give the girls a chance to come out and talk on the porch if they want. Usually, if they do want to talk, the girls come out with something specific on their heart. But, this time, I was so surprised! A sweet girl named Ashlyn, who just has such a genuine servant's heart, came out and sat down with me. When I asked her what was up, all she said was that she just wanted to learn more about God. I had never been presented with that before! I didn't know where to begin, but she was so great and so willing to just sit there and listen. Honestly, that conversation was all God. It was such a rush to be able to just tell her what I had been learning this past year and this summer, especially through my discipleship with Erin. It was so cool to be abel to watch the Holy Spirit at work. Our conversation was all over the place, but again, it was totally the Lord. I know that He is working in her heart and I can't wait to watch that throughout this year!

Unreal Deal definitely has it's perks! Two days ago, we got to go on trip with our brother cabin. This is just for the oldest cabins at each kamp and the kids absolutely LOVE IT! For trip this year, got to take a whole afternoon and go into Branson. Since the kids don't get candy or Cokes at kamp, except on special occasions, they LOAD them up with it while they're on trip. So, on the way into Branson, they each got a candy bar to start off the trip. First, we went roller skating and then we went to the party barn at K-1, where we had pizza and Cokes for dinner. The party barn is one of my favorite memories as a kamper. It has two huge barn swings over ball pits. It's so awesome! You just swing around and try to make it back up on the ledge before you fall into the balls. The girls had a great time and they got more candy on their way back.

Coming back to counselor was a little weird at first, especially since I didn't think that I was going to be coming back that early. It was tough at first being with a lot of new staff on the girls' side, but, as I've gotten to know them better, it's gotten better. Second session staff is just way different than the first. For some reason, they're just not as close as first half was. They are still all incredible people and counselors though and I've been encouraged by so many of them. The counselors in cabin 11 are absolutely hilarious and we've worked with them several times to have joint worship nights with out girls and other things.

When I was asked to come back as a counselor, I felt very honored. It's not very often that this kind of thing happens, and leadership has been so encouraging and edifying to me through it! Even people on guys' leadership have specifically encouraged me. It's so cool. That has never happened before! So I guess it just reminds me that they are looking out for me and are appreciative that I was willing to come back. It's been such a blessing to have them behind me. In the beginning of 5th term, right after I made the switch, our programs girl, Jerri, left kamp for four days and had to delegate out all her jobs. She put my friend, Kara, and I in charge of Round Up, the meeting that the kids go to before 1st period. At first, I didn't know how we were going to entertain 150 middle school girls for 15 minutes, but it has been a blast! Kara is so much fun to work with and it's been so cool to know that leadership trusts us with this.

When Kara and I were kampers at K-West, we had a mascot for the girls--DINGO THE FLAMINGO! So, we decided to bring him back! Back in the day, the boys used to steal him and it would become a war back and forth. So, at the beginning of the term, we asked some of the boys to steal him. It was great! Then we got him back, but then they stole him again---TWICE. Now, it's war! I wish I had time to tell all the details right now, but, basically, we have to get Dingo back today before this group of kids leaves, but we have NO IDEA where he is. It's been so much fun to see how everyone has gotten so into this. Kara and I have had an absolute blast!

It's been great getting to teach classes again and just be out in kamp! I definitely miss being with the girls in the kitchen all the time, but, thankfully, they have been so wonderful and have been sure to love on me and talk when we can. I can't believe that this summer is only two weeks from being over. It's been absolutely incredible! I would really appreciate your prayer in the area of strength and energy for now. I'm getting to the point where it is really hard for me to get out of bed and get enough time in the Word, but I need that SO BAD. And I need to continue to rely on God for the strength and energy to be intentional and fun with every girl that I meet. Thank you for all your continued letters, sweet postcards (thanks to the Smarts and Charity!), and encouragement. Y'all are great. And I can't wait to see you soon. I was able to put some pictures up on facebook, so check em out if want!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This is not what I expected...

I know that it's been awhile since the last time that I updated. I haven't had time off since Kallie's wedding. And unfortunately, my time right now is short since my laptop is dead and I'm having to borrow a friend's.

Well, to start things off, the Lord's plans are so much greater than mine and way more than I could expect. As you know, as on July 7th, I moved into the kitchie cabin and began working in the kitchen. The ORIGINAL plan at the beginning of the summer was to be in the kitchen the rest of the summer, and I was excited for that. Then, on July 6th, a day before the big changeover, I was told, since there were a couple staff members that didn't show up, that I was going to switch back to being a counselor for the last two weeks of the summer (6th term), of course, I was excited about that as well!

So, off I go into the kitchen! At first, it was really weird not being with kids all the time and not being on the same schedule as the rest of kamp. We had to be in the kitchen around 7:30 to prepare for breakfast would usually finish things up after boys' and girls' meal around 10:30. Then, we would have a break in which we would have Bible study together or time with our accountability partner. Then is was back to the kitchen at noon to prepare for lunch! We usually finished again around 3:30 and were then free to do whatever until 6:00. That time was absolutely wonderful, but weird at the same time having so much freedom around kamp. We would go down to the dock, Aquaskip (you should check it out!) and just hammock around and relax.

So, time in the kitchen was wonderful and refreshing being with peers and just learning and growing together. And it was HARD WORK. It was so physically exhausting and often hard to always enjoy the time in the kitchen, but I made some incredible friends and made some great memories, as cheesy as it sounds. Overall, I'm so thankful that I had the chance to have that experience, but, then, SURPRISE! I got ashed to be a counselor again! So, here I am, counselor in the oldest cabin this term and the next oldest the next. It was crazy to think that they asked me to switch back, and kind of daunting, but leadership has been so encouraging and helpful through it all. My girls are great and I'm excited to get to challenge them more. Thankfully, they are here for two weeks and I'm so excited to get to have that much time with them!

Sadly, I just got told by Joe that I have to get off. Love you all!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Who knew that you could miss a couch this much??

Well, this weekend has officially been wonderful. On Friday, I left dear old K-West at noon for a 4-8 (kamp lingo for 2 days off). So I drove up to Springfield and then flew down to Abilene, TX. A friend from high school, Kallie, got married today and I'm so glad that I got to be here for it!! What a blessing! I had already missed 3 weddings this summer because of kamp and I didn't want to miss a 4th! So, thankfully, things worked out and i was able to come. Last night was the rehearsal dinner, which was so much fun! It was just cool to see people and hear the blessings that people gave them. I almost started crying when Amelia, her maid of honor and my best friend from high school, gave her speech. She did an awesome job! After the dinner, it was fun to just get to hang out and spend one more night with the girls. I actually ended up spending the night at Kallie's house, which was cool since it was her last night at home. She tried on her dress and made sure everything was good to go for the next day. She was so beautiful!

Today, Saturday, was so fun! We got up and went to the church in the morning and now I can see why weddings are so stressful! There's so much to be done! But so fun! It was cool to get to be a small part of it. Kallie asked my to play my djembe in one song, How Deep the Father's Love for Us, that we played as the family came in. I felt so honored! The whole wedding was basically a worship service!! Kallie and her now-husband, Lance, both have big Abilene families, but Kallie's extended family is particularly MASSIVE and SUPER TALENTED!! There were 3 separate performances by different members of her family during the wedding. It was so cool to see how family oriented they both are and how they really wanted to include that in their wedding. I had a blast playing in my first wedding! So fun! So, overall, it was a great wedding. The reception was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Unfortunately, no dancing, since it was an afternoon wedding, but Kallie and Lance were anxious to get out and head to Dallas to catch a plane to Lake Tahoe in the morning. And guess what friends?? I CAUGHT THE BOUQUET!!! haha....that's right. I'm next!! Umm...well, we'll see. I kind of have to find a guy first I guess. It was so crazy. I did not mean at all to catch it, but she threw it as they were driving off and everybody like leaned out of the way--they were so freaked out to catch it!! So, I guess my instinct just popped in. I didn't want the bouquet to hit the ground, and hey, if no one else was going to catch it, WHY NOT?!? I wish I could put some pictures up, but I'm not on my computer as I'm writing this.

So, anyway, to go with the title of the blog today, two days off is absolutely incredible and sitting on a couch is even better! It just hit me this summer that there are NO REAL COUCHES at kamp. I don't know why that's so weird to me, but I just love being in a real house and sitting on a couch. I literally have not been in a real house since May 21st when I left Nice and Popaw's house to come up to kamp. So it's been a sweet and refreshing weekend. I'm heading back early tomorrow morning, though. My flight is at 6:30 out of Abilene. I'm shooting to get back to K-West by noon, so we'll see if it happens!

As of July 7th, things have completely changed for me at kamp. That was staff changeover day. My stellar cos and most of the dear friends that I had made so far this summer had to leave : ( Not going to lie, it was a rough day. I cried at least 3 times randomly throughout the day. So my cos left, and I had to make an almost immediate switch from being a counselor that morning to moving into the kitchie cabin and helping serve out dinner that night. It was quite an emotional and draining day! Although I still do miss people A LOT, especially Kyle and Diana, I'm starting to adjust. I still fell like i don't know half of this new staff. My goal for this week, however, is to learn half of the girls names by Thursday. I don't know if I mentioned this yet or not, but I asked Erin Groth (who is on leadership at K-West and also heads up Waco K-Life) to disciple me this summer and hopefully into the year. We had our first meeting early Thursday morning and have decided to study the book of John together. She also challenged me to build relationships with the new counselors staff since SURPRISE--I get to go back to being a counselor for the last two weeks of the summer!!! HOORAAYYY!!! And I get to be with cabin 11, some of the oldest TWO weekers! Awesome! So unexpected, but such a blessing! Right now, as a kitchie, I have adopted cabin 12, the oldest cabin, or UNREAL DEAL, as my cabin. It's cool to go to their nightly devos and hang out with them and their counselors, Elea and Lydia. Elea is actually the one that I'm going to be switching with for the last two weeks so Lydia will be my co. She seems great!

But MAN, the kitchen is WORK! I've only been in there for a few days, but I'm already feeling it! There is a lot to think about and remember as we are still getting used to things and there are a TON of dishes to wash and mounds of pots and pans to scrub! We rotate jobs every meal, but each of them are equally fun and challenging at the same time. I actually kind of like scrubbing pots and serving stuff out. I also enjoy standing in the walk-in freezer or fridge for a few seconds when it gets really hot! I love the girls that I'm working with. Our boss is so great and I can already tell that we are going to be a great group! They really look out for me and love me. At first it was weird to make the switch because I kept feeling like I should be with kids, but it's been cool to have more time with people my own age and grow together as a little family. I can't wait to tell you more about it as we continue to spend time together! Right now, please just pray for energy and excitement for me and the other kitchies and cooks. The kitchen makes you a different kind of tired than being a counselor did, and I'm really struggling with that right now. Also just pray for the staff as things kind of start over with a new group and for continued health and safety. Also, I would love it if you would pray for my new discipleship journey with Erin! Thanks so much! I love you all and can't wait to see you and catch up. And hey Beth--I met Ashley Nicks when she came in! She told me she knew you! So fun!

Alright, well it's way late. I'm going to get some shut eye so I can be semi-rested when I head back to kamp.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th is hands-down my favorite day of the summer.

First of all, an explanation for the picture. This one is of my co, Kyle, and I, and two of our precious kampers haha. They were twins and an absolutely a RIOT! Miss them!
The other picture is of me and my three cos, Diana and Kyle, on western night. One of my favorites!
Then there's a picture of my sweet home away from home- CABIN 2! We're having a shaving party on the front porch :)

First of all, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY EVERYONE!!! Yay! So the 4th was incredible at kamp! It's just like a giant party all day. That morning, I had Austin's counselors wake him up a little early and we went out and played soccer together and just hung out. Even though I've gotten to see him a lot just around kamp, it was good to just spend some QUALITY time with him and just talk and catch up. So, of course, that started things off well. After I sent Austin back to his cabin, I ran back to the girls' cabins and my co, Kyle, and I got to help leadership set off firecrackers and smoke bombs to wake the girls up. Haha, it was so amazing! We then proceeded to sing patriotic songs at the top of our lungs and run into our cabin and wake up the girls.
So the day started off with a bang! And I love that everyone wears red, white, and blue all day! That afternoon, instead of having normal dinner, we had a HUGE picnic out in the fields. The kitchen worked so hard for us to have bratwurst and hotdogs, TONS of salad and fruit salad, chips, soda, and homemade apple pie and ice cream. Oh! It was so good! Then we all walked over to K-2 and met K-2 and K-7 for some more celebration! There was a surprise concert by Lecrae, Tedashii, and Flame (all really talented Christian rappers) and then some awesome fireworks!

I can't believe that I'm at the midpoint of my summer. Looking back it seems like so much has happened, but, at the same time, I'm sad to see this half end. Yesterday, staff for second session started to come in, and tomorrow after this group of kids leave, most of the first session staff will leave. Granted there are some of us that are staying all summer, but I'm going to be so sad to see people go, especially my cos! They are so incredible! I've truly been blessed! Diana is just such a rock. I love her knowledge of the Bible and her practical way of looking at life and grounding me when I pull myself into things too much. And Kyle is just a constant ball of energy! Honestly, I have no explanation of where her energy comes from except from the Lord. She wakes up with a smile on her face and goes to bad just as excited for the next day.

I can definitely tell that I need to be refreshed at this point. As of now, I'm sitting at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson with my parents. They are here to pick Austin up, and it's been such a blessing that I was able to take a 2-4 while they're here and just relax and rejuvenate. I really needed to see them. It's so good just to hang out. I'm sad that my time as a counselor is coming to an end. I've enjoyed it thoroughly and have just been blessed in so many ways! I'm excited to move to the kitchen on July 7th, too. I think it's going to stretch me and show the meaning of service more than I've ever known before. Well, I better go. It's time to head back to kamp. But this weekend I get to go to Kallie Milliorn's wedding in Abilene. So, if you're going to be in good 'ol A-Town, I'll see you soon!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Can it really be this good? And can it really almost be halfway over??

Wow, I can't believe how much time has gone by already! This week has been great. Mcos and I are really growing a lot closer. In fact my co-counselor, Kyle, would say that, "This week has been a dream. I've gotten to teach my favorite classes, aerobics and cross country. And our girls are incredible! There is even one that's my twin! Her name is Olivia and she loves food, shoes, guys, mini-golf, James Morrison, and soccer!" anyway, that's Kyle's thoughts.

But anyway, so my cos and are are becoming closer and understanding each other better and how we approach life and the girls. I can't believe that we're on our 5th week of campers! And it's weird to think that there are only two weeks left before a lot of the staff changes and new people come in. I don't want my new friends to leave! It's been so much fun to have 2 great cos.

One of the best things about this term is that my little brother is here!! YAY! He's so great! It seems like he's grown up so much, especially now that I'm seeing him in the context of kamp and remembering what he was like in kamp last year. It makes me so proud of him! He decided to take soccer specialty this year, which is different for him, but cool at the same time since he wants to try to play at school next year. His best friend from Colorado, Austin, is here for the first time, too, which I think is a huge blessing for him! It's so fun to see them run around together and just have fun! I don't know exactly what Austin Armstrong thinks of kamp so far, since it's a new thing, but I know that he'll love it by the end!

It's weird to think that this is the last round of everything as a counselor. The last tribal night, the last Traildust western dance, the last campfire, etc. I have absolutely LOVED where I'm at this summer so far! Being a counselor is incredible! I love teaching classes (esp. mountain biking, sailing, canoeing, trampoline, blobbing, and working the really tall white slide!) I also love having cos and just getting to hang out with the girls. Often, I feel inadequate as a counselor, but I guess that's OK. When I am weak, HE is strong. It's just weird not always being able to see the fruit of your labor. I feel like so often I don't see the benefits of what we're doing. I just have to keep reminding myself that that's OK.

Aside from all the good things going on at kamp, there has been a lot of craziness. It seems like spiritual warfare is so prevalent! Please in prayer for K-West, Kanakuk, and all the Christian camps this summer. Sickness has been so prevalent everywhere, and it seems like everytime we turn around something crazy is happening, whether it's with staff or kampers. Please keep us in your prayers.

As for me, I would say that I'm going pretty strong. I think God has prepared me for the time that I'm going to be here. Part of me is tired, but, overall, I'm motivated to finish out these last two weeks as a counselor. And I'm excited to move into the kitchen on July 7th! The girls that I'm going to be working with in there are incredible! It's going to be so much fun getting to live life with them!

Alright, well I'm gonna call it quits...I need to wrap some things up and get ready to head back. Love you all and thanks for all of your continued support!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't go by too fast!

Wow, I'm blessed to say that I've not been too tired yet this summer...but I'm tired today. What a week! This is my fourth group of kampers, which is weird to say, since everyone else is only on their second, but these girls are absolutely incredible! They are more mature than I was expecting and we have been able to have such solid conversations with them. Gosh! These girls are getting it and it's awesome. The past two nights at kamp have been pretty deep.

Three nights ago, we had Cross Talk, which is a night that we present the Gospel to the kids in kind-of a walk-through drama type thing. The first time we had Cross Talk, it was raining, so it was good to have a nice evening and be able to actaully walk though it. It went really well! I was able to sit with a few of them at the cross for awhile after it was over. When we get back to the cabin at night after our evening activity, we usually have a devo time with the girls where we debrief the day and talk about life. After Cross Talk, we decided to do things a little differently. We gave them some time to journal and then told them that they could go to bed if they wanted to or come out on the porch and talk to us if they had questions. It was so cool to see what happened! Six of the girls came out to talk, but the other half stayed inside and talked together, sharing their thoughts on the night, their testimonies, and their favorite Bible verses. It was so cute! I was so impressed at their desire to talk about things and figure them out together. It's always fun to hear their questions...

The next day was Purity Talk....two big days in a row. Joe White, the president of Kanakuk, came over to K-West and talked to the kids. He's a great speaker and I think this group of girls enjoyed it. After he spoke, we broke up into our cabins and went over different aspects of purity with them, discussing them all and looking at what the Bible said about them. Some of the girls weren't open to what we were saying on certain things, but overall the discussion went really well! It so fun to be able to encourage them to stay pure and show them that it's more than just physical, but spiritual and emotional too. What a cool night. Tuck ins that night were a lot of fun. After we have our cabin devo every night, my cos and I split up and each pick a few girls to tuck in. It's my favorite part of the day! I love to ask them about their day, what they enjoyed, what they learned, and how I can be praying for them. Then I get to pray for them before they go to sleep. It's so cool!

So I guess this point in the summer is when we start to get tired as a staff and we really have to focus on being filled by God. Second term, these past two weeks has seen a LOT of sickness. Please be praying for our kamp. And, apparently, people are getting sick at Pine Cove and elsewhere too. It's been weird. Our nurse's station is COMPLETELY full, and the room above the nurse's station that are usually for married staff and maintenance men had to be occupied too. It's crazy! We've had to send at least 10 kids home and have had to quarentine (sp?) several staff members to Branson to get better. It's definitely hit us hard as a kamp. Our kitchen staff has been hit especially hard. Two days ago, we were down from 10 kitchies to 4 and had at least 1 cook who was sick as well. Those on leadership are trying their best to help in anyway we can and thankfully, some of the other kamps have sent over nurses and kitchen help as well. We're pretty secluded as a kamp right now though. Our mountain biking and walking classes aren't supposed to enter any other kamp grounds (we usually go through K-2 and K-7 since they're so close) and we've been trying our best to stay contained and use as much Germ-X as possible. Once this group of kids leave, we are HARDCORE deep cleaning the kamp. Any staff who is still sick will be quarentined again and everything will be scrubbed. Please be praying for us as we try to knock this thing out.

But overall, kamp is WONDERFUL! I had a fun re-realization the other day as I was walking up from the dock. KAMP IS SO GREAT. Done. Fact. Absolutely one of my favorite places in the world. I mean, where else do you get to see people that you love EVERYWHERE you look, be constantly encouraged, be in constant focus of God, serve kids together, love on kids, play sports, swin in the pool, play in the lake, and just enjoy life?? Oh, it's awesome. My favorite things to teach during the day are definitely mountain biking, any pool activity, and the lake sports. A couple days ago, when TONS of people were sick, I was scheduled to teach sailing all morning! So 3 periods in the lake, and it was my first time to teach it without Sarah-Graham, who is definitely the master sailor here. She was sick though, so here I go! Thankfully, I had someone else teaching it with me, but it was slightly crazy trying to keep track of everyone and yell across the lake "put your dagger board in", "wait til your outside the buoy!", "get in irons!", "take down your sail!", "swin harder, girls, it's almost time to go!". But it was a blast! I had four of the girls from my cabin in class, so it was fun to get to hang out with them. The scariest part, though, was loosing a boat second period. There we were, sailing along, about to make our way back in, when I realize that I'm pretty sure we had 5 boats out instead of 4. But they're nowhere to be seen. So here I am, trying to get the other boats back in and look for the lost one at the same time. I felt horrible! haha...thankfully though, a ski boat that was coming back in said that they saw the boat all the way around the bend. They were completely out of site! How they got over there, I have no idea!! But, thanks to Dock Daddy Zach and his jet ski for saving them!

I guess I'll wrap this up....but AUSTIN COMES TOMORROWWW!!!! I'm so excited for my little brother to be here! It's going to be such a pick-me-up to see him! And then, I have a day off on July 5th and will be able to spend that time with my parents before they pick him up. Oh! It's going to be great! Alright, well my laundry is about to be done. I better go....but thank you for your prayers and letters. I'll continue to update this as I have time off. Love y'all!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hello outside world!

Let's just say that today is the first day this summer that I have truly MISSED home. I got a sweet video message from Peter and Beth Smart and I literally almost started crying because it brought me such joy! Thank you. And then getting to talk to my parents and my good friend, Jonathan, just now brought it on even more. Jonathan is getting married to a sweet girl named Kat on July 4th and it make me so sad that I won't be able to be there! Thank you all for all your sweet letters of encouragement and love over these past several weeks. I have cherished them all! Unfortunately, life has been crazy busy as a one-week counselor! Since K-West is designed for two-weekers, my cos and I feel like we have to use every free moment that we have to dig into the lives of these precious girls. So that means lots of hanging out and 1:1 (for you, Uncle Pete) walks during FOB (our rest period during the day). So, basically, that has translated into not a lot of down time for Allison. Those of you who know me well know that I'm good at keeping myself busy in the first place, so that's definitely something that I'm trying to work on again. I would definitely appreciate prayers for that. I need to find a balance between spending time with the girls in my cabin, hanging out and being refreshed by others at kamp, and finding time to be with myself, too.

I may have mentioned this before, I can't remember, but lately I've been learning what it looks like to rest in God. To not focus on what I can DO or what I'm supposed to DO, but just BEING with Him. I guess it's kind of ironic looking at what I just said about trying to stop and rest, but that's just where I'm at.

I'm going to cut this blog short for now because I really just want to call people, but things have been going well. It's so much fun being a counselor, and each group of kids has been different in thae way that they approach things. With the first group, I would say our main focus of teaching was grace, the second, purity, and we'll see about this third one...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

They're here! They're here!

Hey all!

So the kids are finally here! Yay! And surprise, I got assigned to be a counselor for one-week campers. This is definitely going to be a challenge, since K-West is designed for two-week campers, and that's what I'm used to. Thankfully, my co-counselors are incredible! They're names are Kyle (yes, she's a girl) and Diana. It's unusual to have two cos, but, for some reason, K-West was over-staffed on the girls side for this session, so there are 3 counselors in most cabins instead of 2. Anyway, I knew that since my girls were only going to be here for a week, that I would have to really dig in and get know them quickly. But, to my surprise, this first group has been absolutely incredible! As a whole, they are so outgoing and have opened up so quickly! They're mostly 13, with a few 12 year olds, going into 7th and 8th grade. Half my girls have never been to Kanakuk before which leads to them asking a lot of questions that I never would think of! There is so much to kamp that I always forget that others don't know or understand. So it's taken some patience, understanding, and discernment to work through some of those, but it's been great.

The kids arrived on June 1st, and it was a pretty chill day. As the girls got there, I met some of their parents and then just went through the typical unpacking and paperwork. The girls then went to "play in the pool"/ really have a swim test disguised as fun, and then we changed and headed out to the football field for an all-K-West picnic. yay for burgers with BOOYA! sauce. We got to meet out brother cabin, which is always awkward and funny with middle schoolers. Thankfully, my brother cabin counselors are a lot of fun and helped to break the ice quickly. The next day we had a lot of introductory type activities, like cabin competitions, kamp store, and a girls-side dance party! I got to get in front of whole girls side (like 200 people) and teach the ZZZ dance from Baylor! It was so cool! I even got to wear a sweet headset microphone! It was so much fun to get up and lead everyone and see girls from all over the country learning a dance that my friends made up.

Yesterday was our first "real day" of kamp, which meant it was also my first time to teach classes. I was a little nervous, because you never really know exactly what you're going to get scheduled to teach, and sometimes you just have to "fake it 'til you make it" and hope that it turns out all right and the kids think you know what you're doing. So, first period, I was scheduled to teach games class. Awesome. Got that. We'll play 'pterodactyl' (sp), which I though they would love. WRONG. Fail. They didn't think it was as funny as I, uh, let's play psychiatrist! Phew!! They liked that one. Second period, archery. Ok, I love archery. Awesome! And Lia is teaching it with me! Too bad I strung the bow wrong when I was trying to demonstrate to the kids! Thankfully Lia was able to recover for me and we talked in British accents that rest of the time to try and make up for it : )...Now third period, kayaking. Cool. I can do this. And Lia is teaching it with me again. Awesome! Except I'm not the best at wet exits. In fact, they slightly freak me out. But one of us has to demonstrate it so that each of the girls can learn how to do it before they can actually kayak in the lake. But Lia doesn't want to do it, so here I go! Here's where the "fake it til you make it" comes in. Don't get me wrong, I can do a wet exit, it's just not always very graceful! Thankfully, however, I was able to put on my confident face and get er dun! I thought that the girls in the class would be nervous about it, but they did great! Only 2 of them got a little scared, but they all did their wet exits beautifully!

After lunch, I was assigned to work at the pool during free time. I was so excited! It had always been a dream of mine to be that counselor that gets to work at the top of the waterslide. And yesterday I got that chance! I guess most counselors don't like doing that because you have to get wet when you go down the slide at the end, but I really wanted to do it! It was so much fun to stand on the tower and meet kids as they came up and encourage them as they prepared to go down. The view from up there is incredible! Although the red slide that I worked is not as tall as the white slide, I could still see a lot of the lake and the surrounding hills. So beautiful! Later that afternoon I was scheduled to lead soccer elective. What?!?! Ok, I like soccer (don't worry Beth, I think it's great), but I'm just not the best at it. I WISH I was better and that I knew better how to teach the basics, but here we go! Again, fake it til you make it. So, thankfully, my co, Kyle, is a soccer player, so I pleaded for her help during F.O.B. (our rest period after lunch). She gave me some good ideas of games to play, so I felt semi-perpared going into it. We played knock-out, and I called on a couple of the girls to go over basic skills just to make sure that we were all on the same page (and since the girls were teaching it, I didn't necessarily have to teach, which is a good thing haha). And then they just wanted to scrimmage!! Perfect! So we scrimmaged!!

So real kamp really isn't too bad! I think I'll be able to get the swing of this teaching stuff pretty fast and continue to figure things out as I go.

Oh! I forgot to mention that 2 nights ago was Tribal night. I absolutely LOVE this night! For those who don't know, one of the longest traditions at Kanakuk is tribal competition. For the girls, the two tribes are Kickapoos and Kiowas. I was PROUDLY a Kickapoo haha. For the guys, there are Cherokees and Choctaws. My brothers are both Cherokees. Anyway, during the second day of kamp, all the new kampers get assigned to tribes. It's so exciting! Then, that night, we have our first tribal competitions and then we have a more serious time where Ward, our director, tells the kids all about the tribal traditions at kamp. It's really cool because we all go down to the tribal ring, where the kids sit around a giant fire with a teepee off to one side. Ward comes out in his full chief garb and then 5 of the men from leadership come out, too. They perform some traditional dances and really make the kids feel like they are a part of the tradition. The chiefs and princesses are then introduced for that term. These are one kamper from each tribe that are elected by their peers the year before. They prepare for their job throughout the year and then come to kamp prepared to lead their tribe! It's so fun haha. I guess I'm still a kamper at heart : )

Anyway, it's getting about time to move on and make a few calls before I have to head back. I miss you all, but, as you can tell, thoroughly enjoying my time in the Ozarks! I wake up every morning excited for a new day and a chance to get to know the kids better and share the love of Christ with them. Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement. I have about 2 more weeks until my next 2-4, so it will be awhile until I am able to update this again, but know that I'm thinking of you all and would love to hear from you!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

And it all begins....

Hey friends!
So, first of all, again, I'm excited that you're actually reading this. And I'm sorry that I haven't updated things until now, but this is the first time that I've gotten internet access so far. It's so weird. I feel like I have so much to catch up on! Staff training week has been great so far. I can't believe that kids come in 2 DAYS!!! It's so crazy! This week has been packed. Staff training week is basically a time that we, as staff, get to be kampers and do kamp for about a week and a half. We are all split up among the cabins and have vet counselors that are our "shepherds" and act kind of as our counselors. Walking into K-West this summer was one of the most wonderful feelings. There are so many people from last summer here. It felt like I was coming home! So good...just getting to hug and reconnect with old friends! It was so fun to Esther Kim there with me to. For those who don't know, she was a girl on my hall this year at Baylor. Not gonna lie, she was one of my favs : ) It's so cool to have her here. I rode up to Missouri with my friend Will and then met Esther in Branson so that we could drive the 45 minutes out to Lampe together. But yeah, it's so good to finally be here. But it's weird at the same time, since I know that I'm going to be here all summer. It's kind of a daunting idea, especially since I was, and still am, so tired coming off of the school year. And not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally, too. This past year was great, but tough, too. I was in several roles that meant pouring out to others. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome and a great way to grow and learn, but it leaves you really drained. Thank goodness that we have a God who can fill that void! I definitely didn't lean on Him enough this year. I tried, but I just don't exactly know what that looks like yet. But, coming into this summer, I knew that something had to change. I couldn't keep going the way that I was if I was going to successfully make it through this summer. Thank goodness I'm in a place that's perfect for me to grow in this area. I was talking with my friend Renee here about this and wanting to grow and be challenged in my faith this summer, and she suggested that I find someone to disciple me while I'm here. It has been in the back of my mind or the past month or so, so it was cool to have that confirmation. Now it's just trying to figure out who to ask....that means a lot of I'll have to get back to y'all on that one!

Anyway, sorry for that ramble, but I just wanted to let y'all in on what's going on in my heart this week.

Let's see....highlights of staff training: getting to participate in and get certified in all the different activities (mountain biking in the mud, archery, challenge course, tree tops, canoe, kayak, sailing, pool--blob, diving boards, rings, waterslides, and maybe a few more that I'm fogetting....), a giant all-Kanakuk/KAA staff rally at K-2 (awesome to see so many college students on fire for Christ!), roller skating in Branson, talent show, staff bonding, running through a "real day" of of K-West, a western dance party, and an awesome worhip night at the K-1 chapel (so powerful!). Ok, I have to stop there, because I want to tell y'all about the worship night. We sang together and then had a chance to verbally bless each other and encourage one another. It was so cool to hear the blessings pour forth from people that had only known each other for 5 days! Wow!

OK, let's see...what else. Um, oh yeah! Ok, so since I'm going to be here all summer, I'm working two different jobs, counselor first half and then "kitchie komo" second. So, I've been kind of simultaneously training for both of those this week, which can be pretty crazy! Now, "what is a kitchie komo" you may be asking!! Well, let me tell you! So there are cooks and kitchies in the kitchen. Obviously, cooks do the cooking for the masses of people at kamp. As kitchies, we do everything else: clean the mounds of dishes, pots and pans, prepare and serve the drinks, fruit and salad bar, serve everyone in the Chuckwagon (dining hall), and clean everything after every meal. I guess this is kind of a lot to describe in a blog. But it's so much fun!! There are about 10 or so of us that are going to be kitchies second half. Our group is so great. I'm really excited to work with them. Remind me to tell you the story of how Kaylee Beaver got into the University of Florida. It's just a taste of the crazy cool people I'm going to be around this summer!!

One of my other fun highlights has been getting to know one of the director's kids. His name is Carter and he's 4, I think. So cute! He's the son of our assistant men's director and my boss from last year. They have four boys, Hunter, Connor, Carter, and Colton, who are all precious. It's always been my goal to be their friends, but they're hard to befriend and for them to actually remember your name! haha....but it makes sense since they are constantly bombarded by college students who think they are awesome! Anyway, I'm finally in with Carter! We bonded over a Ninja Turtles video game at Skate World and now we're friends! He painted me a picture of myself and a spider haha and then drew me a picture of the Ninja Turtles. So, today, I decided to return the favor and draw him one back! He loved it! was so cute to watch him show everyone the picture. It was of the two of us in super hero capes with the Ninja Turtles. He promptly told me that I should've drawn bad guys, too. My bad, haha. But yay for being friends with Carter!

Ok, I feel like I should wrap this up. I've been sitting here at Panera in Branson for way too long. We have to be back in out cabins be 11 tonight, so it doesn't give us much time. So it's off to dinner soon at Famous Dave's at the Branson Landing! I don't know when my first 2-4 (day off) will be when I'll be able to update this again, but I'll try my best. I love you all! Write me if you think of it and please pray as the kids come. Pray for their traveling safety, cabin unity, strength and energy for the staff, and that the Spirit will move! It is so evident that He is here. It's so wonderful!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kamp is tomorrow!

I can't believe it, but I'm leaving for kamp TOMORROW. Crazy! And thankfully, I'm finishing up everything on my to-do list and headed to bed. I'm excited for tomorrow, but a little nervous too. For some reason, I'm always a little nervous before I head to kamp. I know it will be great when I get there though! I could definitely use some prayer though. For one, rest and energy as I go off of a long semester and into kamp, the right attitude and perspective as I fit into my role at kamp, and, most importantly, for the kampers that come through! Each summer is a summer of change and growth, and I don't expect this summer to be any less! Pray that the kids will be open to what God wants to do in their lives and that, as a staff, we'll be open to what God is doing in ours. Ok, peace out, I'm tired. Goodnight!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This is one of my favorite views in the world! As you turn the first corner on the road to camp this is what you see. It's breath-taking. So there's the sweet red barn in the foreground, and Table Rock Lake in the background, where K-West, K-7, and K-2 are located. Above the barn, you can see the tops of the new K-2 girls cabins and I think that's the K-7 dock on the lake.

To start it all off....

Well, here's my first blog post EVER. Oh boy! And you're reading it, which is weird to think about. Honestly, never thought that I was going to enter the blogging world, but by inspiration from Abbey Schwada, I figured it would be the best way to stay in touch with everyone this summer while I'm at kamp. Don't get me wrong, I still want to communicate in other ways, like through letter, calls, emails, and facebooking, but since my time off is so irregular and short, I think that this is the best way to keep everything and everyone updated. But please still write me at kamp!! Here's my address:

793 K-West Dr.
Lampe, MO 65681

So, anyway, that's it! Can't wait to hear how y'all's summers are going as well. Keep me posted!