I was sitting in Vienna House when Evelyn (a former MAD camper of mine) showed me a photo of her and Clara (another former camper) from their first session of MAD camp. This gave me the idea to have counselors recreate photos from when they were campers. It also got me thinking of how friendships are made and developed on and then off the mountain.
When your child is heading to camp for the first time, there are so many questions that run through their heads. Will the counselors and other campers like me? Will I have fun? Will I make friends?
Camp is definitely a place where when you get here, all of those questions quickly melt away. Making friends at camp helps you build strong interpersonal relationships you never thought you could. At camp it can be easier to truly be yourself. It is when you feel like your complete self, others maybe can feel safe to be themselves too. Your bonded by the magic of the valley, and when you go home it’s always easier to just say - you had to be there.
When I was a first year camper at 16 I had no idea that eight years later those people would be some of my best and lifelong friends. I know they are people I can always stay true to who I am and will also keep me in check when I stray away from the path God is leading me on.
No matter how much time has passed, camp people are family. Whether you saw them last week or last year you will always have a shoulder to lean on, and when you see them again you always get a little piece of that valley magic back.
Clara and Evelyn started in first session of MAD camp together and enjoyed singing and making music. This year they are both counselors at MAD camp, Clara as a cabin counselor and Evelyn as their oocc/accompanist.
Michael and Colby grew up at St. George’s camp with their famous rendition of “French Toast”. Last year Colby served as a counselor at St. George’s while Michael was a cabin counselor of MAD, he is now their program director for this summer.
Olivia and Harry met at Explorers session 3 and went onto Explorers the Great as best friends. Olivia worked on Explorers staff and was their program director for three years. Harry has worked at many camps including MAD, Art, and St. Andrew’s. In 2014 they worked at Explorers Camp together.
It was an action packed week for session two of sports camp! Campers had a great time during their AM and PM sports blocks learning about Rat Ball, Ultimate Frisbee, Tennis, and many others. We had a great time celebrating the fourth of July with all camps, and having a dance and Kingball with MAD camp! Other fun evening programs included Kangaroo Court, Walkie Talkie Tag, and movie night. With all this activity is there any time to rest? Don’t worry, there was still time for some TLC with a spa day led by Frannie. Thanks for a great summer Sports camp!
A wonderful performance of Bones the musical was put on by a great session of MAD session two campers. Besides rehearsals, campers hiked to the cross, went to freedom fest for the 4th of July, and cheered on the staff vs world game for the Bishop’s Jubilee. Their creative evening programs included craftival, live-action clue, box fort, and their world famous last night talent show. We will miss the wonderful harmonious singing from these amazing campers!
What a fun and innovative time our session two campers of St. George’s had this week! It was an action packed week full of hiking to North Mountain, going on camp outs, and even a scavenger hunt to help save our beloved Squadoosh (our Shrine Mont mythical creature). Campers and counselors also had fun with a camp dance, bonfire with s’mores, and celebrating Christmas. We were reminded this week that we are all a part of the body of Christ and to share that love when we head back into the valley of the world. Thanks for a wonderful time, good ol’ St. G’s!
What an energetic week session one of sports camp had! Some old time favorites sports such as basketball, tennis, and soccer were played, as well as some new favorites, like tae kwon do and cricket. Some other activities that were enjoyed was the all camp carnival, a pool party, a bonfire, and the famous kangaroo court. Thanks for a great first session sport lovers, we’ll see you next year!
Music and Drama camp started off their season with a pun-derful group of session one campers! Activities on docket for the week included a dance with sports camp, and hilarious improv night, and a camp olympics. The last night they had a talent show that included s’mores, yum! They ended the session with a wonderful performance of Allen Pote’s musical, Moses and the Freedom Fanatics. Bravo MAD camp!
St. Andrew’s was jam packed with activities this year! Campers canoed, hiked to Seven Springs and the Cross, camped out behind Lexington House, ate tons of butt buns, and had a talent show! Not to mention the all-camp carnival and cook-out. Who knew you could fit so much into one week?
St. George's kicked off the beginning of the summer with a bang! Though at first the week was a little rainy, the sun dipped in and out and showed up for good by the end of the session. Campers played Messy Kickball (some messier than others), Question the Counselor, participated in an all-camp carnival, ate s'mores while searching for Bigfoot, beat the pavement for the real camp stories in the newspaper elective and created in the art elective. Christmas was full of cheer with caroling, a special Christmas service, and the traditional playing of the Christmas rat ball. Campers learned about the body of Christ and headed out into the valley of the world after final worship.
Explorers the Great RECAP
Explorers the Great session had an action packed couple of weeks on the mountain. They had their scheduled three day hikes which included trips to some waterfalls. Something new that was tried this year was rock climbing and the campers had a blast! Although there was time spent away from camp, there were also some traditional activities planned such as walkie talkie tag, campfire and s’mores, camp carnival, and an impromptu dance with St. George’s. Keep on adventuring explorers!
I'm listening to Tracy Chapman's "Revolution" and I can't help but think of camp. That might seem like a strange connection at first blush, but hear me out.
You see, in the tradition of the love of Christ, we at Shrine Mont Camps guide campers to be a force for love in this world. Regardless of any political ideology, I'm guessing you'll agree this is quite the fantastic mission. But in a world so divided, so fraught with anger and frustration - isn't choosing to be a force for love a revolutionary act?
Chapman's song speaks about the impoverished among us and how they will rise up in society - my question is, who will meet them and how will they treat them? Jesus spoke of the least of these among us and how we are to reach out to these persons. At Shrine Mont Camps, we learn that anyone we meet might be the least among us - our campers and counselors come from a wide range of experiences, backgrounds, and identities. They have so many different stories to tell. Each of them - and of us, really - could and likely has been the "least of these" at some point in our lives. It may even change from day to day and moment to moment. It is this empathy that we lead with at camp.
The revolutionary power of love. We hope our campers, counselors, and staff take this away when they leave camp; that for a short time, there was a consensus somewhere, somehow, to lead with our hearts. A short time that will hopefully stay with everyone who experiences the power of a summer at Shrine Mont Camps. As we lead our way into the Valley of the World, we take our lessons from camp and do our best to lead with empathy, love, and open hearts.
As Chapman says, a revolution can start with a whisper. Something as gentle, subtle, and powerful as love - for your neighbor, your friend, yourself. Campers know this from their time at Shrine Mont Camps. We hope that you will welcome them to share this lesson with you and the wider world. We are pretty proud of it, and we're guessing you will be too.
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.