Tuesday, July 18, 2006

9 Hours, 320 miles...

What was I thinking?!!
I got volunteered by my eldest and her church pals to take them all to camp yesterday.
Since there was 6 in that age group going, I got handed the keys to the church van.
A vanload of geeked up 12 yr. olds and all their gear for a week at camp-yeah, I can do this! It'll be fun.
We loaded up and headed out at 9 am. It's about 156 miles more or less to the camp. I've never been there before, but I had been up in that general area before in the past via motorcycle rallies with Bill & co. and it was also part of the route that he & I had took for so many times to get to his medical appointments in Columbia, so I knew the roads, it would be just the last few miles of side roads I would need help with in order to find the church camp. Both the ones who had drove there before and Mapquests anal retentive directions made it sound more complicated than it really was. I found it with no trouble.

The whole trip went smooth, the kids were well behaved for the most part. I was invisible. They kept themselves entertained. My youngest got shotgun. We were a package deal-sure, I'll drive but my other daughter has to go along too, since I have noone to keep her for a day. No problem. She was jazzed at going, she had just been to camp 2 weeks ago so she was looking forward to hopefully seeing some conselors she knew and say Hey! Both my girls were anxious to show off the camp to me. They just love that place. It's the highlight of their summer. All the church kids feel that way. This camp always has a theme for the summer, with weekly subthemes geared for the age groups attending. This years theme was 'Alien Invasion'. The 12 year old groups subtheme was 'Aliens Are Among Us'-I guess the message being that Christians are indeed nowadays considered alien in the worldly world. This group is teetering on the verge of teendom and all the temptations and the bad choices that go with it, so judging by the material I read, the emphasis will be on how one can have Christian values and behavior and resist the sleazery that the world shoves in their face.

Sounds good to me. Be in the world, but not OF the world kinda things.
Of course, you could take the opposite tact and say that the modern pop culture is the alien force that needs to be reckoned with. Either way, it'll work.
So, that will be the focus of all their lessons and activities this week. There will be good clean fun rivalries between the cabins, or teams, as they call them. There will be innocent pranks pulled and they come home with a whole new repetoire of hokey camp songs and wild tales and new friends to email. And hopefully the main point will stick...at least until next summer. The camp must be doing something right when even typical jaded and bored teen agers actually want to go every year, too! Most times, it seems the excitement of summer camp wears off by the age of 13. We have groups of 15 and 16 yr. olds still going. And actually are looking forward to it!

Anyway, the pastor had gave me 40 bucks to cover lunch and any other minor expenses and when we stopped at the Burger King about an hour from camp for lunch we lucked out in that they were running a special on the Whopper meal. All 8 of us were fed for less than 24 bucks. And their behavior in there was perfect. I had been anxious going in there with such a large group, but everyone minded their manners and it was no more stressful than when me and my own go out to eat. That particular Burger King must be the unofficial demoninational lunch stop because 3 more church vans from our demonination pulled in while we were there...and yep, they were all on their way to the camp, too. So now it became a contest. The kids wanted to leave in mid-meal because they didn't want those others to get there first "and get all the good cabins"! Just for the record...we did beat them all by about 10 minutes.

It is a nice camp, right on the lake, actually more like a cove on the lake. Some of the structures are newer, but most appear to be built in the 50's or 60's. It's a mix of rusic and modern. As is everything around here it's built on a hillside, so it can become a tiresome walk to the cabins. I drove them to their cabins after we checked in and they got assigned. It was too beastly hot to be lugging all that gear by foot!
My eldest and her pals all got assigned to the same cabin, and it was the one they had all wanted and even better-they were the first ones to get there- so top bunks for everyone! They were so happy!
I got the boys in our group to their cabin and squared away and my youngest wanted to give me the nickle tour of the place. We wandered around for a while and she pointed out the cabin she had stayed in, we checked out the game room, the mess hall and she got to see some conselors she knew. Big hugs and howdys for her.
We had to get going, it was almost a 4 hour drive home, so we swung by the girls cabin to say Bye. And dang,I left my sunglasses there on my daughters bunk!
Realized it just as we got to the blacktop. Oh well, too late now. So it was a squinty drive back for me. Sis slept most of the way home.
We got the van dropped off and back to the shack here by about 6:30 pm.
You know, you'd think just sitting all day driving wouldn't wear you out. But I was completely whooped! Dozed on the couch for nearly an hour as soon as we got home.

And come Saturday I get to do it all over again when I go to get them.


Blogger Fish said...

I had the distinct pleasure of going to summer camp twice as a kid, and both times that adventure did indeed make my summer. Since that has been about 55 years ago I can't tell you a thing about the drivers, counselors or others that made it possible for me - but I'll be eternally grateful to them.

So for all those kids having fond memories 55 years from now, thank you for taking your time to make it happen for them.

7/18/2006 9:20 PM  
Blogger white trash republican said...

Well, thanks Fish!

I can remember my times at camp when I was little, too.
As crabby ol' adults we so easily forget the simple pleasures of childhood.
I'm just glad that our lil' dinky country church can do this for the kids-they pay the way for all of them so kids who otherwise might not be able to go, get to. The payoff is seeing all them hop off the van all excited and hollaring that they wanna go again.

7/19/2006 8:20 AM  

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