Junior 2 Camp -
As we passed over Truman Lake, nearing camp, there were screams of pure excitement “A LAKE!” they declared. For many of them, this was the first time they had ever seen a large body of water and they couldn’t contain themselves. Upon finally arriving, there were volunteer staff running alongside the bus, cheering and clapping; and for the last time this summer, Junior campers hopped off the bus at Camp CUMCITO. They ran through the staff tunnel with mixed emotions, yet excited for lunch and excited to find out who their counselors and cabin mates would be.
Our theme for the whole summer has been ‘The QUEST’. We’ve been talking about how a quest is a difficult journey towards a goal, and that our Quest in life should be to seek God and follow Him. We’ve memorized verses like Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” and Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” to further support this truth.
On the way down to the lake, one group of boys thought they saw a bear or a snake and were afraid. Their counselor explained that the lake trail is like God’s path. Even though there are some scary things along the way, if you stay on God’s path, He keeps you safe and directs you, as Proverbs 3:5-6 speaks of.
The end of the week carnival came far too quickly, but we played, laughed, and had so much fun at the different stations. The campers got to dunk their counselors in the dunk tank, get their faces painted, eat watermelon, play limbo, and so much more! On Friday night campers received their character awards, where their counselors got to build them up, and speak life into them about who they are.
One camper told their counselor, “Mr. C, when I first met you I thought you were big and mean, but I think God softened all of our hearts because now you’re just a big, soft, teddy bear and I love you”
Saturday was filled with tears and hugs as we said goodbye to our little family. We prayed that God would keep them safe and declare His mighty love over them. It is so scary sending such precious and little souls back into everyday life, but we must look to the future with eager hope, knowing that our labor is not in vain, and that what God has started here at Camp CUMCITO, He will finish. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Tot Lot 4 -
The final week of Tot Lot 2018 has ended and no one wants to leave. As the campers get ready to head home, it’s hard not to think about the beginning of the week and just how far we’ve come. When asking different staff members about their favorite memories from this week, there were a few we just had to share.
Camp is a wonderful time to get familiar with kids who maybe haven’t grown up in the same environment as you. Some campers aren’t as disciplined or as obedient as you, but at Tot Lot we love to work with each kiddo on their behavior and practice being better sons and daughters in Christ. During Bible time one day, a camper who had trouble following directions, raised his hand to say, “God loves all children, even if they are bad all the time.” Hearing that really affirmed to the staff that had been handling this campers behavior, even though the disciplinary situations aren’t always positive, our staff handled it in a way that communicated God still loves you!
One of Tot Lot’s favorite to do is to host a carnival for the kids on Thursday evening. There is a bouncy house, Merry-Go-Round, various games, and at each station there is a prize. Each camper gets a bag to fill with prizes throughout the evening, but one camper came up to her Big Sister and asked, “Do we get to take these home?” Let’s just say the Big Sisters answer put a smile on all her camper’s faces.
During week four of Tot Lot one of our staffer’s kids (also a camper) was rushed to the hospital with pneumonia which was thankfully caught early. The next day, the Big Sister told the rest of her girls about their fellow camper. Immediately, this Big Sis witnessed the rest of her campers begin to pray for their friend. Many of them were ones who weren’t particularly fond of prayer, but when they heard their friend was sick they ignored their own wants.
It’s the things the campers learn and pick up on from the adults around them that really shape who they grow up to be. Although they don’t realize it now, Tot Lot is a profound way to begin their journey with Jesus, surrounded by people who love and support them - That is what Camp CUMCITO is all about!