Have you ever wondered what a day at summer camp is like? Here’s a glimpse into the life of a camper.
“Good morning, good morning, good morning! It’s time to rise and shine!” The counselor sings at 7:30 to wake up the cabin. Sleepy campers slowly crawl out of bed, get ready for the day, clean up their cabin and have “God and I time” before flag. They’re going for a gold star cabin, but two sleepy heads barely made it out of bed before they had to leave for flag and left their suitcases exploding all over the floor and sleeping bags half off the bed.
Singing the extra memory verse on the way, the counselor and campers walk over the hill to the flag pole for the morning raising. The counselor who stands opposite them in formation inspects their finger nails and accepts hand-picked dandelions and “flowers” as a bribe before heading back to line. “Good Morning Michawana,” says a summer leader. “Camp Michawana, attention!” all of the campers (well most) snap into proper stance as the flag is raised for the day.
As soon as their cabin prays together for breakfast, campers run down the hill to the smell of French toast and bacon in the dining hall. They go through the buffet line and grab yogurt, Deb’s famous granola and a glass of orange juice before finding their table and chatting about what’s in store for the day. “Seconds!” Someone yells and campers dart to the counter for another plate of syrup, strawberries and whipped cream.
The table stacks their plates, trays and cups and decide who the table hopper will be that meal and pray they don’t trip or drop the tall stack of plates as to avoid the applause that would ensue. Campers talk through the morning announcements so they have to ask their counselor 100x a day “what are we doing next?” and then head off in all different directions. It’s time for Buddy Games. On the walk to the athletic field the cabin sings funny repeat after me songs and talk about how excited they are to go to the lake in the afternoon.
After intense rounds of relays and games, sweaty campers grab a drink of water as they make the hike back for Chapel. Everyone’s favorite part of the day, excitedly waiting outside chapel playing hand clap games or running around with their friends. The chapel doors finally open, the music is thumping and the staff cheer as campers enter and find their seats. Staff and veteran campers run to the front to lead motions during songs.
Chief Spitfire grabs the mic to teach the next section of the extra verse. She sings and adds motions and the campers join in. Campers learn how to turn open their Bible to the correct passage and follow along with their log book during Bible hour. The skit makes the passage come to life.
Following Bible hour is the zip line! The campers buddy up and decide who’s going first and giggle while talking about how nervous or how brave they’re feeling. After the long trek up to the top of the zip line and then climbing the stairs, the hearts really start beating as they get hooked into the zip line. The Event team member talks the campers through the process and opens the gates. 3, 2, 1….goooooo. Stepping off with squeals of fear and excitement the cabin cheers as the two brave friends zip their way towards the bottom.
All the way to lunch the cabin laughs and “oh my word’s” about what they just got to do while the counselor gives them all a high-five for trying something new and being so brave. One cabin mate needs a little extra encouragement because they’re “sick of walking.” 😉
While chomping on their walking taco (see always walking), the other side of the dining hall starts chanting, “Buddy, Buddy you’re a flake, you must go into the lake.” Louder and louder, the dining hall starts to roar. Even with his friends’ efforts to quiet the crowd, it’s determined, in the lake he will go. Campers go busting through the doors and find the best view on the fence or hill to watch Buddy get carried down to the docks. “In the lake! In the lake!” chant the campers. Splashing into the lake, everyone erupts in cheers and laughter as other staff get pushed off the docks by Buddy’s loyal crew.
Back to the cabin for quiet hour. The campers still can’t believe their counselor got pushed into the lake! Now they’re skeeming to get so and so in the lake tomorrow. After resting and working on verses (or snacking and messing around) it’s time for activity time. The cabin heads to the Trading Post for snacks and a new water bottle. Everyone’s excited to try the new mango frozen yogurt.
The decision was made to head to hand craft to finish up their wood burning projects before going swimming. Campers wave hi to their friends on the water trampoline from their stand up paddle boards as they try to keep their balance. They all laugh as their friend tumbles into the water. Tweet Tweet “Buddy Check” yell the lifeguards. Everyone puts a hand on the dock as they count campers to make sure everyone is accounted for and matches the buddy board tags. They have to recount because little Johnny won’t stop splashing kids in the face and everyone is moving around. The lifeguards announce it is now time to head back to change for skill hour.
Everyone meets at the flag pole and finds their skill hour group. The fishing skill hour heads to the lake, drama hits the chapel and photography grabs their cameras to get some great shots.
Cabins meet up again at dinner where everyone’s starving from a busy day and slightly sun burned. Dinner’s quieter than lunch, everyone’s getting tired from a full day, but it isn’t over yet. The table chats about their favorite part of the day and wonder what their families are doing back home. Everyone but one camper got an email from home, so the counselor makes sure to put a piece of mail in the box for that camper tomorrow. The rumble of the tractor signals it’s time for the hayride. Singing camp songs, hay flying, bumping around the back trails of camp. The tractor drops the campers off for evening chapel. Another boost of energy comes as they jump up and down waving arms singing “Oh happy day, happy day, you washed my sins away.”
That night at chapel, the speaker shared about her story of a broken life and how because of Jesus, she has received grace and forgiveness and healing from past hurts. Around the campfire after chapel, some campers open up about what their home life is like or other things they might have questions about. They take turns roasting marshmallows and licking chocolate off of their fingers as the flames light up the faces of friends on benches around the fire. Mosquitos buzz their ears and fireflies light up around the lodge. Some campers are laying on the hill hoping to see a shooting star.
After brushing teeth and wiping the dirt off their feet (or not), campers settle in for cabin devotions with their counselor. With lights off and flashlights shining from bunk to bunk, giggles start, deep conversations begin and some start snoring out of pure exhaustion. Camp is one of the only places where you can run yourself ragged but you couldn’t be more excited to wake up and do it all over again. “Tomorrow’s already Wednesday,” someone says.
“It’s time to turn flashlights off now,” says the half asleep counselor. “We’ve got a busy day tomorrow.”