One of the pleasures in my ministry that I had to give up when I became Rector at St. Clement's was being a member of the Camp Stevens Board. I had loved being chaplain there during the summer, and serving with a wonderful group of people who dedicated themselves to making Camp Stevens a place of adventure for children, refreshment for adults, and a base from which to explore -- literally -- the world. As Bishop Suffragan in charge of the southern third of the diocese of Los Angeles, it felt natural to say "yes!" when asked to come back on the board.
I went a few weekends ago for a board meeting. Much has changed there -- not the least of which is all the building post-big-fire a few years ago. The buildings that have been erected since the fire are more highly-insulated and eco friendly, not to mention beautiful.
One of the great new surprises was the incredible gardens that are under the watchful eye of Ryan Wanamaker, a young man who was on staff and who I thought the world of working with him with groups of children. Ryan keeps a keen eye on the garden behind the kitchen as well as a larger garden down the road.
When I was there for the board meeting, I noticed the wonderful signs above in the kitchen, talking about what is ripe for the picking and where it is, along with some "scavanger hunt" items to draw people to the garden.
Okay, anyone who knows me well knows that I am not the world's best gardener. Although Steve does tell me that I do a bang up job pruning the azaleas every year! I was so struck with Ryan's work and creativity, I have come to a decision: next summer, when I am "bishop in residence" during one of the summer weeks (the week of July 18th, to be exact) I will volunteer to help in the garden any way I can. Weeds? No problem. Slimy things? -- maybe an issue, but I'll do my best.
As I'm wandering and wondering, I can't help but give thanks to God for people like Ryan and the staff at Camp Stevens who not only care about our children, but also the quality of the place they sleep and the food they eat.