"For many were coming and going and they had no leisure even to eat"
This week, SUPC's buildings have vibrated with the sound of 160 youngsters, from Pre-K to eight grade, plus nearly 100 more counselors and staff ages teen to kid-at-heart. It is Schoharie Community Day-Camp Time: lots of coming and going! Thankfully for all, lunch, snack, and leisure were part of the schedule.
Over the course of the week, the campers have been learning about heart, courage, wisdom, hope, and on Friday, the last day of camp, power. Tuesday had an extra lesson in adapting to strange circumstances. With hail and lightning predicted in the forecast, all activities were pulled inside buildings: the sanctuary and CE building were already in use as part of normal activities, but even the manse heard the pitter-pat of young feet. The oldest campers had to possess patience at lunch hour - there was not enough space in the big room of the CE building for all the campers to eat at the same time. The counselors kept all the youth safe and entertained playing games while they waited their turn to eat.
Among all the good moments I have observed so far this week, by far the best for me, as a Day-camp first-timer, has been collectively the leadership shown by staff and counselors who grew up as campers themselves. Not only leadership, but compassion and kindness, respect, courage, and responsibility. These former campers love this week so much that they have internalized ownership - The kids have taken over! The fun they remember experiencing when they were campers is so clearly written on their hearts it shines through their faces, their actions, and how they interact with the current campers and their fellow counselors. The youth responded to the enthusiasm of their counselors and blossomed both in confidence and in faith. I witnessed a number of children, shy on Monday when they were dropped off, by Thursday they were able to stand and speak before all their fellow campers. It was amazing to watch.
This week's theme has been "Discover Your Strength in God" and the point of the lessons has been to showcase different aspects, "superpowers", of all believers. The current campers have a wonderful example of strength and love in their counselors and staff. We may have had a great crowd of children, but unlike the great crowds Jesus encountered so long ago, these "sheep" have had excellent "shepherds", and I hope they remember the lessons learned this week.