Monday, July 04, 2011

Girl's Camp

Every spring I wait hopefully for the phone call from a leader from church asking me to help out at the annual camp for teenaged girls. Oh, happy thought! I would go just to sweep the floors if they needed it. This year I went as an assistant to the head cook and it was big fun. The three of us who were the Kitchen Help got on extremely well and pretty much laughed our way through every course.  We called ourselves the Three Foodstuffs. It won't take you long to guess that I was Stuff-n-Nonsense. There was raucous, doubled-up guffawing, goofy aprons and, at one point, tiaras and rhinestones in the mix as well. Hopefully you get the picture.  I know my pal Lancer got some photos, so hopefully soon you can get a more visceral idea of the mood.

In addition to the much-anticipated chance to work with my cooking compatriots, and of course the unforgettable experience of hanging out with a wonderful group of very bright young ladies,  I think the reason I love going so much is that camp to me, more than anything, is a straightforward demonstration of how heartfelt service makes unimaginable things happen in literally miraculous ways. It's exactly how I imagine heaven. Well, sort of. Without cots and sleeping bags. And with better showers. But you know what I mean.

Anyway, this camp is run every year entirely on volunteer power. Under logistically and statistically impossible circumstances other than those that can be handled by volunteers. That means that you couldn't actually pay us enough to do what we did. Love was the only possible motivator.  The fabulous woman who organized everything does not have a degree in recreational management or anything like it.  The women who handled the ups and downs of getting the girls through the week are not professional counselors. The fabulous guys who came as our heavy lifters and fearless protectors are mighty men of business who usually wield smartphones rather than wrenches and pipesnakes.  The only qualification to do this is willingness to help out. And the love. Seriously.

In spite of the fact that no adult in the place got a night's sleep of longer than 3.2 hours for the whole week, the whole staff was joyful and united. I'm not kidding. After hours of doing other things for the girls, just about every adult that passed through our kitchen offered to help us do something.  It's astonishing when you think about it. They could have and probably should have gone and put their feet up, but instead they took up rolling pins and knives and sponges and made cinnamon rolls and green salads and washed industrial-sized sinkfuls of dirty dishes.  It makes me sigh thinking back on it, because these are high-quality people.

Community is so important. I hope you have one. Church, School, Neighborhood. Whatever. I hope you have people for whom you can occasionally get out of your comfort zone and just serve. Who would do the same for you.  Like so many in this modern world, I have no family within many hundreds of miles, and it weighs heavy on me sometimes-who would I call if something really serious happened? This week I remembered that there are people I could call. And they'd come running. At 3 in the morning. With a rolling pin or a pipesnake if necessary. Just like I'd go running to them.  That's a good feeling.

Here are a few shots I was able to get on the way and on brief, unaccompanied forays out of the kitchen:

The idyllic Pennsylvania countryside

In the middle is a goldfinch perched on the weeds. 

Driving these roads to the park is a favorite experience.
I slow down, open the windows and breathe.
This is a pretty covered bridge along the route to the park. 

The hillside at our campground. 

The girls around the campfire. 

The view down the hill. 
Sunset through the trees.

Clouds at Sunset

My pal, the brilliant cook-in-charge.

Blue skies over PA. 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! I love girls camp. I haven't been since Chris and I were first married (gulp)10 years ago. Amazing photos btw. =)


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