Musings on the Camp Experience
The camp experience begins with a registration. After registration comes packing, and then travel and of course arrival! Most who arrive at camp are at least a little bit nervous as camp can be a bit of a mystery and when it is someone’s first time there a lot of unknowns including the food, the grounds, and the people. The friendly, smiling faces of camp staff upon arrival helps folks begin to warm up and settle in for the experience which can include games, archery, high ropes, low ropes, hikes, crafts, classes, boating, campfires, Mass, and more. All which are participated in and accomplished without technology.
But… It almost doesn’t matter (almost) what activities or program you’ve come to camp to experience because honestly it is the connective pieces, of faith, fun, kindness, conversation, nature, laughter, and prayer, that make the experience. I recently heard a staff member say, “Technology cannot give you all of this” as he looked out into the trees.
As a 32 year “camp person” I’ve been privileged to be a part of so many of those connective pieces, and I know in our changing world where technology is at the forefront of our lives, that a camp experience is more important than ever.
The proof for me is in the experience…
I’ve experienced the smiles and the laughter. I’ve heard the songs being loudly and expressively sung. I have sat in the middle of the woods with a group of kids for no reason other than to listen in to the natural world and I have watched them be wowed. I have experienced moments of deep faith and grace. I have walked along side a camper on a horse who are working hard to overcome a fear. I have answered questions from overwhelmed and scared parents. I’ve hugged a homesick summer camper who I know can make it until check-out, even though she’s not sure. I have had the immense pleasure of watching 70 college age staff pull the thread through the moments of summer camp to make a week the best week of the summer for many, many hundreds of children. I have equally been awed by school year program staff who do it all in one day…food service, clean, facilitate activities, get kids to think and make them laugh, and smile through it all. None of this required my phone or the internet. It only required me to show up, be present, and hold the space for the experience to happen.
It is true that the activities and programs bring us together but once together the less tangible takes over and makes the real impact which links us to God, one another and meaning in this chaotic world.
Angi K Sullivan
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Camp is such an unique experience! Our staff take turns sharing their perspectives of the experience that is CYO Camp Rancho Framasa!
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