When we moved to Florida three years ago, I promised my kids that as long as they wanted to return to King's Camp in PA every year I'd be sure to get them back. Despite an attempt to bribe them to find a camp in Florida the first year we were down here, they wanted to keep going. I am grateful they did because I, now, am a part of King's Camp—I am Princess Tammie. Those on staff are princes and princesses if they are 17 and older, dukes and duchesses if they are younger than 17. I've always wanted to be a princess! This is my crown:
I was looking forward to camp this year because I had such a great time last year. A group of us stayed up late almost every night playing games. Ever heard of The Great Dalmuti? If you're not a night person, you probably think I'm crazy, especially since we had to be up for staff devotions at 7:00. I, however, am very much a night person. I am also someone who loves to be around people. I enjoy getting to know people, and I love to laugh.
This year was different. The first two nights we were there no one stayed up late. I was profoundly disappointed, but I got some sleep. I think it was the third night when someone asked if I was going to play cards. I was thrilled. The next few nights I stayed up late talking with our missionaries (Matt and Elizabeth), who were amazing! When the two of them got together, I could not stop laughing. I kept telling everyone who hadn't yet spent any time with them that they needed to because they were very cool. Did you hear that Elizabeth?
One night a few of us stayed up until 1:15 looking at pictures of Uganda, which is where Matt and Elizabeth and their four children will be heading sometime this fall. Not only was it fun looking at the pictures and hearing about Uganda, but it was great to be able to talk and laugh with other staff who sat nearby.
During the week, while the kids were awake, staff had the opportunity to help them memorize Bible verses. Staff can memorize them, too, but our purpose is really to help the kids. Last year I memorized 26 passages (some of them long). I was surprised that I was able to memorize so many. I took the first letter of every word, made "to" the number "2," and "for" the number "4," and worked on visualizing the passage as I recited it. This year, I only memorized 17, but I spent a lot more time helping the kids. That was definitely a highlight of the week! Being able to see a kid's face light up when he said his daily verse and receive a new pin for his crown was a blessing.
Each day we had two times of Bible learning—one with Princess Julia and one with Matt (the missionary). It was during these times that staff and campers alike could reflect on God and what He wanted to teach them. I don't feel like I did much reflecting during the week. It wasn't until Saturday morning, after camp was over, that I started to process everything that had happened during the week.
So, what did I learn from my week at camp—my summer vacation?
1. I have a great passion for being around people and getting to know people.
2. I love to have fun.
3. I love to laugh . . . A LOT!
4. I love to serve.
5. I enjoy memorizing Scripture, and I'm not half bad at it. It was easier the second year, even though I memorized less.
6. A week without any contact from the "outside" world (Facebook, internet, phone calls, work, news, emails, etc.) was absolutely glorious! I did not want to get on my phone for hours after camp was over.
7. The counselors who are on staff at King's Camp are amazing role models. They serve with their whole heart. They love the kids. They are sensitive to God's leading. I'm glad my kids could serve as well and be part of that.
8. I don't feel my age when I'm at camp. This is pure vanity, I know, but when 22-year-olds and 17-year-olds carry on conversations with me like I am just one of the gang, it's hard to not feel like I'm 22 again myself. For that I am grateful.
9. I am a sinner in need of God's grace. The spiritual high from camp is amazing, but when I come back down, I realize that I am in a spiritual battle. There are days when my attempts are pitiful, and others that are better. But I can rest assured in the knowledge that Christ died for me. I have put my trust in Him. I will fall, but He will help me up. He will never leave me. In the end, Christ has the victory, and I am His child. For that I am eternally grateful.
Thank you John and Gayle for allowing me to serve at King's Camp!!