Monday, July 29, 2013

The Bishop Goes to Camp -- first full day for the campers

Woke to another beautiful morning here at Camp Stevens! The air was very cool last night, which helped with sleeping. I awoke at 5:00 and enjoyed listening to -- nothing! As the sun started to rise, the birds and squirrels woke up and started their days with chirping and running around the trees. I went to take a walk and again saw the wild turkeys on the Dining Hall lawn. More impressive and awe inspiriting to me this morning was the deer that crossed in front of the entrance to the Lax Sadler lodge I'm staying in -- It was so close! This picture doesn't do justice to the distance or the beauty of this animal.

The campers started to wake up at about 7:00 -- at least that is when I started to hear them. I spent time speaking with the Rev. Kay Sylvester, Rector at St. Paul's in Tustin -- what a gifted, talented, spirit-filled priest! It was good to catch up with her and hear about all the good things happening at St. Paul's.

Breakfast was delicious! I sat with many members of the same group that joined me last night. A very spirit-filled bunch of campers! One camper was missing her family, so I spent some time speaking with her. Home sickness is natural at camp -- but once they get into the swing of things, that dissipates.

This morning we had a fire drill -- I always love to see how well that is orchestrated, and the positive response of the campers. After that they went off to their adventure groups this morning. Chaplains (and a Bishop) normally don't participate in groups the first morning -- this is their time to form together as a group.

My day ended up being spent mostly talking with campers and with staff members. I'm so impressed by the caliber of staff here at the camp -- they care about the children here and the camp. They are enthusiastic about building strong groups and incorporating everyone into their groups. More on that later.

During free time I went to my room to get my journal and discovered that there was archery going on below my window. It was wonderful to see the campers practicing this sport (I did archery in High School). Evan, whom I met two years ago when he was a camper (and he is a camper in this group) shot a bullseye at the target -- and I saw him do it! Awesome!

You may wonder why I don't publish more pictures of the children. Some parents do not want their children photographed, which is understandable. So if children are in a group, I can't be comfortable publishing any picture.

I sat at a table working on my journal outside and had all kinds of "visitors" -- staff and campers come and talk with me. I asked them about their days -- and everyone is having fun, and excited by their groups and what they are doing.

At dinner I sat next to two young ladies who had so much fun explaining to me all the activities they did at free time -- If you could do it, I think they did! Swimming, making friendship bracelets, making lip balm, and taking a shower -- in two hours! Dinner was less crowded tonight than last night -- many of the groups are on "overnights" -- sleeping out under the stars. I can't wait to ask them about their experience when I see them tomorrow!

After dinner I had a long talk with a staff member about Bishop Bruno's Seeds of Hope initiative. Camp Stevens is such a wonderful resource for congregations and/or families that want to start this good work and participate in Bishop Bruno's dream.

At Community Gathering this evening the campers were asked what they saw today that surprised or delighted them. Frogs, bugs, birds, the garden, the pigs -- were among the many answers offered. our own Kay Sylvester offered the reflection and wrote a song which she taught the campers. She was masterful (as she always is), and the kids were quite engaged with what she had to share -- "tune in" -- she talked about her guitar and how she has to tune it -- for it to be "in tune" -- she then asked the campers what they thought they needed to be "in tune". It was beautiful to watch, to participate in and to hear the responses offered by the campers.

It is such a joy and privilege to be part of this community this week.

I wonder as I wander over to breakfast in the morning what bird or animal I may encounter? Will the campers see them as well?
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Camp Stevens, Julian, CA United States

1 comment:

  1. Our daughters were campers, then counselors, then summer staff and now staff, at Camp Stevens and while we spent adult time there on retreats and so on, I sometimes wished I could be a "fly on the wall" to see first hand what their days were like as campers, their interactions with the children, etc. Your first hand observance is giving me a nice mental picture of what it would have been like to do that. Thanks! Doug Graham (better known as Ashley Graham-Wilcox's Dad)