Tomorrow I will pack up 13 teens (9 girls, 4 guys) and make an estimated 2 hour trip to Crestline, CA to go to Thousand Pines Christian Camp. Youth Camp is a special time in a young person's life. Going to youth camp should be on everyone's bucket list, its that important! There are some things that I love about youth camp that does not happen in the realm outside of youth camp. I have generously made a list of 5 things that you will only experience at youth camp and no where else.
1. Youth will be shame free for one week: I don't know what it is about youth camp, but every experience I have had with youth camp I have seen kids (including myself, back in my glorious days as a camper) forget about what others think about them. I can remember doing some pretty ridiculous things, and wearing some ridiculous outfits that normally would not be apart of my ordinary attire. I didn't care what other people would say because this behavior is always encouraged at camp. Not only is it encouraged it is a competition to see who can look the most ridiculous. I once saw a kid drink his own urine for $5 (This one I did discourage, yet $5 dollars would buy icee's for the rest of the week). You have some kids that choose not to participate because they think they are too cool for these "childish" games, yet they are the ones that are not cool at camp because they will not see how long they can hold their breath before they pass out.
Example of not having shame (I am on the right. I know, I know I'm pretty hot!!)
2. Everyone sleeping in one bed:
This doesn't happen so much in the guy's cabin. But I have heard stories of pushing two twin size beds together and then 30 girls climbing in with their PJ's on all cuddled up. This isn't done because of a shortage of beds. There are of plenty beds. Maybe this is done to strengthen unity, maybe in order to keep warm on those cold summer nights, or maybe only scholars that study the instinct patterns of female gendered mammals hold the true reason.
3. Junk Food and Regular Bowel Movements:
Camp is filled with junk food and cafeteria food (some camps bring there own cooks to prepare food). Which ever way it is done campers eat good! And not so good! I can always count on someone carrying around a half melted stick of raw cookie dough, usually chocolate chip. With three square meals a day, junk food of various types, skittles, and snow cones you are sure to stay regular (and it usually comes in a rainbow of colors).
4. B.O. and AXE
The smell of B.O. and AXE usually creates a cloud of smog inside the guys cabin. Many guys come in from rec time sweating and dirty, but instead of saying, "Hey I better take a shower real quick" they say, "I'm glad I brought a can of AXE for each day I am at camp", and continue to coat themselves in the musky flavors that claim to attract the opposite sex like a swarm of locusts God himself sent down to help free His people. But the only thing that is really freeing about a guys cabin is getting the heck out of there into some fresh air. (I hear the girl's cabin smells like perfume and burnt hair due to hair curlers/straighteners, and always breaking a few fire codes with them all being plugged in at once).
5. The Camp Boyfriend/Girlfriend:
"OH Johnny I'm so glad I met you here at camp. I have known you for 3 hours now and I truly understand the definition of soul mate. I knew you were the one when you didn't have any shame while running up to me in a batman costume waving the $4 you just won by eating a live cricket that had been dipped in chocolate chip cookie dough! I can't wait to climb into my small twin sized bed with 45 of my closest friends tonight and tell them how sweet you were to take me to the snow cone hut, and how you smelt so wonderfully of sweat covered in AXE! Alas, it will be Friday soon and we will go back to our separate towns and churches. Promise me you will write and visit on fall break..."
This is a common monologue of a young teen girl at youth camp; it is usually followed by this monologue 3 days later...
"Susie, we have grown so close these past couple of days. But during worship last night I felt that God was telling me that I am just not ready for a serious long distant relationship. I hope you understand, I mean you have to, this is what God is telling me and you can't argue with Him. Maybe I'll be more mature and ready next summer...(dramatic pause)... pray for me, goodbye".
In all seriousness though youth camp is a great experience and one that look forward to every summer. Tons of great decisions are made and many choose to dedicate their lives to Christ. So if you are heading to camp, or have already gone this year I hope you had/have a great time.