Last week, I drove south through towns I had never heard of, into the land of no cell service, to Dry Creek Baptist Camp. I was there to help out for the week – they were short-handed and Whit asked me to come be a counselor. I realized halfway down there that I knew very little about what this camp would look like, and that Whit was the only person I knew. I didn’t know it then, but BOLD is my word for this year, so this was a perfect first step.
This camp was different than any I have ever worked. We were each assigned 1-2 campers, and stayed with them in a cabin. The camp is free for the girls to attend, and they are recommended by guidance counselors, social workers, and some come from churches. They all come from unimaginable backgrounds, and we were there to give them love and attention and show them love so they could maybe fathom God’s love for them.
The first day, we had lunch, and a scavenger hunt and pool time and dinner and worship and a devotion and a campfire. I knew as little about the camp as the girls did. It was a little awkward and a little uncomfortable and a whole lot of fun. I wish I had the pictures from the scavenger hunt – we did backbends, “owled” and several other silly things. After the girls went to bed, the counselors all gathered in the middle room to pray. We prayed for doors to open to have conversations, for the girls to ask questions, and for the canoe trip the following day.
Ah, the canoe trip. I grew up canoeing with friends, so I was pretty sure it would all come back. We took Gus the Bus out to the Ouiskachitto to canoe for several miles. Each boat had one camper in front and one counselor or staff member steering in the back.
I was with Denver, one of my two campers, and we had no trouble at all. She had canoed before, and we stayed at the front of the pack most of the time. We managed to not get stuck at all the first stretch. We stopped twice, once to swim and the second time for lunch. Between swimming and lunch was a tricky stretch of river. The water was low, so there were lots of logs to get hung up on. We had one really close call with tipping over, and some scrapes with logs, but I can proudly say we stayed up right the entire time!
After canoeing was swimming in the pool, and then time to shower and get ready for an extra special night. The girls asked if they could fix our hair first though…
After dinner, the girls got lessons on how to do their makeup, painted their fingernails, and made picture frames. Then they were whisked into the tabernacle and to a room full of beautiful ball gowns. Once they were dressed up, we all had a wonderful fashion show!
Once the fashion show wrapped, everyone had coke floats and listened to the camp director give a talk that every middle school girl should hear. She talked about sex and what the Bible says and that it’s not a bad thing, but meant for marriage, and why. She used great illustrations and I think it really resonated with the girls. I got to talk to my two campers after, and they agreed that the talk was something they had not heard before. Since one of them has a mom that’s only 15 years older than her, it was certainly a new take on sex.
The last morning, the girls slept in and then we all had brunch. The tables were set with real plates and silverware, with a place set special for each girl. Her photo from the night before was in the frame she decorated. They were served breakfast instead of going through a line. It was wonderfully simple illustration of the place that is prepared specially for each of us in heaven. After lots of hugs and making sure nothing got left behind, the girls went back home. The time went much too fast!
I’m so glad I got to help out at Dry Creek for a week! It was a wonderful time filled with beautiful girls learning about God and growing in their confidence. I would go again today if given the chance.