It’s hard to believe that we are finally in the midst of the dog days of summer we so earnestly yearn for throughout the year. The crunchy, snow-filled streets have been replaced with scorching asphalt. Cold-sneezes have been replaced with allergy-sneezes and eyes have begun to water from pollen and the sting of the sun’s brightness rather than from bitter cold and whipping winds. Sweaters have been tucked away to make room for shorts, swimsuits and clothing that favors higher temperatures and jumping in pools. With this warm weather advent comes another moment we anticipate all year long- the noisy, sweaty, grass-stained, love-filled opening of the camp season.
Professionally speaking, we all seem to be afforded a more lackadaisical approach to work during the summer months. Let me rephrase that broad generalization- those who are not involved in summer camp programs may have a bit of professional reprieve when warmer weather arrives. Perhaps, for non-camp professionals, casual Fridays blend into activity-filled Saturdays, sleepy Sundays and slow moving Monday mornings. For the camping professionals of the world, however, this is the moment at which our preparation is put to the test. That preparation can look like one thousand different things: registering campers and receiving health forms; finding and training dedicated staff; building relationships, supporting each other and supporting camper families.
Now to say that these ‘tasks’ encompass every piece of preparation would be foolish; in fact, it’s foolish to refer to them as tasks in the first place. While filing and processing may not be the flames which keep our hearts afire during the cold months, we do find great satisfaction in many aspects of camp preparation. If we are able to take a step back from the overwhelming feeling that THIS year may just be the year that it all falls apart, we can find deep joy in recognizing the talents and gifts of our camp staff, in imagining the ways in which our campers will make us laugh and challenge us this summer and in connecting with camper parents throughout the year.
This is all to say that sometimes the preparation which leads up to the beginning of camp can eclipse the profound spontaneity, gratification and feeling of God’s presence that arrive when camp actually does begin. It’s not always easy for us to keep our eyes on the prize, but thankfully the kickoff to our camp season always arrives- whether we are ready or not. That moment is upon us. The kickoff to our camp season has arrived and with it we can finally leave behind our feelings that ‘maybe next year we should start that project earlier’…for now, at least.
Now we turn our eyes to the staff members, new and seasoned, who have arrived to Shrine Mont and are in the midst of preparing themselves mentally, physically and emotionally for the days, weeks and months ahead. We turn to the once empty cabins that are now being swept out, wiped down and strung with twinkle lights. We turn to the camp directors who have tirelessly put their hearts into staffing and supporting their camps. We turn to the programs to come which will inevitably include wacky outfits, silly persona's, exceptional dance moves and many, many song-filled nights. We turn to the warmth, butt buns, hilly paths and fireflies of Shrine Mont during the summer- as if it has been waiting behind a wardrobe door for us all winter long, only waiting to be opened.
The door is finally open and 2015 Shrine Mont Camps season has officially begun. We hope that you will keep up with us this summer, as we desperately want to let you know about the magical and hilarious goings-on of the mountain while camp is in session. We hope that you will pray for the staff, counselors and campers who will be laughing, growing, praising, running, eating, dancing, singing and loving at Shrine Mont Camps this summer. We hope that you will have the opportunity to indulge in a little camp-esque fun yourself this summer. We hope, above all, that you know you
are being prayed for and loved from afar by everyone at Shrine Mont Camps. We hope that this is the best summer ever, and we’re so thankful that you are a part of it.
By Paris Ball, Director of Christian Formation and Shrine Mont Camps
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.