Sunday, August 31, 2008

the sopwiths land on planet camp

Well, we accomplished it: the grand experiment. Would the Sopwiths be able to survive, enjoy and contribute to summer camp in BC? Liz and I had our doubts, but decided this was the time. We haven't engaged in summer camp since 1994 in North Wales.

Camp is a major part of the youth calendar in Vancouver, for those that attend church and for those that don't. Every kid goes for at least a week, some for more, some for the entire summer. The particular camp we joined with this year was Pioneer Pacific, specifically Breakaway (boys and girls aged 12-15). We know a few people involved in this camp, wanted to go somewhere cross-denominational, and preferably somewhere that people who aren't christians attend. It's a christian camp with a christian mission, and you are welcome to attend from any church or none. Once there we discovered that 95% of the campers and staff had been before, so we were the newbies.The intention was to help out as senior counsellors (pastoral support for the cabin leaders), to enjoy a bit of a family getaway in the delightful sea shanty cabin which is a short walk from the centre of the camp around a bay, and to generally experience planet camp.
By the beginning of August roles already began to shift (not unusual in these circumstances), and by two days into the camp we realised that the combination of family schedules, leading the musical worship (which ended up being a Tom thing), and the senior counsellor role, just did not work together in the beautiful harmony we had hoped. So for a bunch of reasons, we ended up handing over our major reason to be there to others, and I ended up co-ordinating all the music as my soul responsibility (from jumping rock to acoustic hymns and even a little african experience a capella under the trees). This allowed some good family times on the trampolines, beaches and canoes, as well as helping the camp run.
The experiment just about worked .. and we achieved much of what we set out to achieve. It was a great week on many fronts. Particularly fun hanging out with Phil Cann. Miraculously he had a cancellation of another camp, and was free at short notice to come and join us - thank God for that.
It's difficult from our vantage point to see how much lives were changed, and to see whether people met Jesus either for the first time or reconnected. I'm hoping to hear a few of those stories as the weeks unfold, because that for me is the major reason for these things to happen. It is also a fantastic opportunity for youth to connect with each other and have a fantastic time on the water, and on the land, doing some really really fun stuff. So yay to Pioneer Pacific.

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