Saturday, July 28, 2007

Reflections on Camp... Liability... and Grilling Burgers.

So last week I promised some updates on camp. Here's one. Sometimes as a youth pastor one experiences moments of true delight that seem like "heaven on earth" and make all the crap of the job worth it. Many times they are super spiritual and sometimes their not. Last week I had the joy of once again running all the afternoon activities at camp. A camp favorite, and the most stressful for the activities director, is boating. We rent these little 4-6 seat outboard aluminum fishing boats and the campers get to drive them and go exploring on the lake for one hour. I ALWAYS tell them not to crash other boats, not to "fall" into the water, and not to come back late. After a decade of doing this I anticipate all of these things happening. So last week I sent out nine boats of campers and workers, ALL NINE CAME BACK ON TIME! Most of them were soaked from "falling" in and I know they were playing bumper boats but the fact that they all came back on time, just might be my crowning achievement in youth ministry... (plus, like my bro, I teach good, just not English). The only problem was I went three times to pick up the scenic chair lift hikers before I figured out they must be really lost. Everyone was safely back at camp by the end of dinner but losing three campers and two counselors really but a damper on my "having punctual boaters" celebration.

Earlier this year, we made a big change in our church policy. We decided to let 18 year olds attend the young adults class... even if they were still in high school. It always cracks me up when the church makes rules for adults to follow. Anyway, it has been very helpful for this group to come up with some appropriate guidelines for defining their group; 18-30, not married, no kids allowed. But somehow in this change, and in these definitions, there arose a huge misunderstanding about what to do with my seniors who just graduated from high school who happen to be 17 still. (It's the same fall birthday Kindergarten thing) To me, it seemed simple... let them go to young adults. However, me and the young adults leader did not see eye to eye right away. There was this huge question about liability and legal minors. (Here comes a rant) I know the folks at Guide One and Church Mutual probably hate me, but I send kids out on rented boats, I treat 17 year old graduates like adults, and while I'm at it... I let kids skate in the church parking lot. PEOPLE must come before POLICY. (ok, end of rant). In the end, everyone is doing things my way, but I still don't understand why it was a hard decision.

Today was the Summer Heat Volleyball tournament. I'm always nervous when there is a church sponsored event and I don't have a job assignment going into it. Today was fantastic though! I did very little except chill with my kids and watch some pretty exciting volleyball. Nothing quite like changin' diapers under an EZ-UP while sippin' on a diet mountain dew. I did end up spending much of the afternoon behind the grill, but that too is very relaxing to me. The smell of smoke, the burn in the eyes, and the sizzling sounds of grease dripping past the grill onto the coals; not a bad way to spend a sabbath, although technically, I'm pretty sure I was working.

Tomorrow should be great. Our church is hosting a group of kids from Los Osos, CA (four hours north) and another group from Gilbert, AZ (four hours east). They will be sleeping on our floor tomorrow night and heading up to camp with us on Monday morning. Sounds like fun!

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