I’m sorry we can’t see each other this year. You and I have shared so many memorable moments together. Ever since the first summer I spent with you back in 2014, you’ve held a special place in my heart. I look forward to coming back each year…
I almost shed a tear looking through some old camp photos today, remembering the fun times and seeing the familiar faces of so many friends. I will miss all these people this summer, along with all the familiar camp experiences.
I’ll miss eating an outrageous number of hotdogs while leading cookouts with school groups. I’ll miss meeting all the staff at the start of each week (two claps!) and the excited buzz in the dining hall as a new group of campers sits down to share their first meal together.
I’ll miss the happy shouts during wide games like Goldrush and Capture the Flag. I’ll miss the skits and the songs, especially the Banana Song, and the creative outfits at themed meals. I’ve never seen so much green in my life than during a certain football-themed meal – Go Riders! And who could forget the food! Butterscotch buns will always be my weakness.
I’ll miss hearing the prayers of campers when everyone is settling into their wagons after campfire and listening to counsellors reading bedtime stories until everyone is asleep.
I’ll miss staying up late to make the next day’s schedule and I’ll even miss getting up early to recycle it and start over when the morning is rainy. No matter the weather, the staff and campers make the day fun. Whether it’s sunny enough to fly high off the blob or it’s wet enough to play Blockbusters in the dining hall, you can always have fun (the number one rule) at Circle Square Ranch.
But most of all, I’ll miss growing closer to God at camp alongside staff and campers and watching them do the same. This is my favourite part of camp.
Summer Camp, it’s been sad to see you cancelled this year, but I have learned many lessons from you that I think could help me this summer – even though we’re apart. Let me explain by starting campfire style – with a skit, a memory verse and a song!
“Happy Camper/Sad Camper” is a skit we do several times a summer (if you’ve been to CSR Wolfcreek, you know what I’m talking about). In the skit, there is a “happy camper” who is excited about everything to do with their camp experience. Even when the horses poop or they’re trying something new, the happy camper is having a good time.
There is also a “sad camper.” You couldn’t cheer this character up no matter how many fun activities you offer or how much encouragement you send their way. At the end of the skit, you learn that what made the difference for these campers was their attitude.
This summer, even though I’m not at camp, I’m going to remember that my attitude can make a big difference and try to look on the positive side of things.
A lot of us will miss that feeling we get of being close with God when we are at camp. Even though we might not “feel” as close to God as we do at camp, there is good news! The same God that is with us at camp is with us all the time even when we don’t feel like it!
A common memory verse at camp is Hebrews 13:5 “…God has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Some of the reasons we often feel closer to God at camp are because we are spending time with Him every day and we are spending time with people who love Him. We can still spend time with God even though we aren’t at camp. We can talk with Him, sing to Him, read His word and talk with other people who know God. Maybe this is a good opportunity for us to seek Him.
One of the songs I heard my first summer working at Circle Square Ranch was “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. We sing this song every summer. The end of the second verse says, “For all Your goodness I will keep on singing ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.”
These lyrics remind me that no matter what is going on around me, or what disappointments I face, God is good, and there is so much to be thankful for! The sunrise, the bird’s singing, the breeze, our friends and family, and so much more. But most of all, we can be thankful that God is with us and sent His Son Jesus to pay for our sins and give us eternal life.
So, Summer Camp, thank you for helping me learn these lessons. I hope I can visit soon!
Samantha’s first experience at Wolf Creek was when her church’s youth group went for a few days. For five summers after that initial visit, she came back to the Ranch in a variety of roles. She enjoyed volunteering as a camp counsellor, working in the kitchen and then helping with the LIT program and working as the “wagon camp” Program Director in more recent years. During university, Samantha has also enjoyed being a part of an InterVarsity campus community.