Jennie "Bieber Fever" lists out the top 18 reasons why she (and any other returning campers) can't wait for another summer on the shores of ol' Lake Kimball.
Elizabeth Ray, one of our program specialists, reflects back on Fall Festival and the New Year's Eve Camp that rang in 2013! She dishes on all the fun that was had and is to be had at Camp Henry! Check out our New Year's Eve Camp video too!
"Hey all you camp lovers out there,
I don't have to tell you all how great summer camp is because most of you have experienced it firsthand for yourself. There is something so special about leaving your everyday world behind for a week and coming to a place dedicated to creating a unique experience of love, laughter, nature, and faith.
Recently we decided summer isn't the only time of year to have summer camp fun, so we have created events during the year to allow campers to come back to camp to enjoy even more of that summer camp experience. Coming back to this place during the school year allows campers to recharge and remember the things they learned during the summer, to renew friendships, to be challenged, and to be reminded how much God loves them. It also allows people who have never been to Camp Henry before to get a small taste of what the summer is like here.
Last winter, we brought in the 2013 by having our first ever New Year's Eve Camp for campers and staff to come back, reunite, and have a blast! If you happened to be at camp last year for New Year's you will probably remember the awesome time we had playing broomball, decorating cookies, the big reveal of human-hungry hippos, and the many dance parties that took place. It was a wonderful time to rekindle relationships with one another.
Then, just a few short weeks ago we had our 1st annual Fall Festival, #CHfallfest. At Fall Festival, we had some of the classic camp activities such as climbing the cargo net, outdoor cooking, campfires, chapel, and skit night just to name a few things. We also had a big focus on fall themed activities. We had a great pumpkin scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving, leaf animal art, and a fabulous costume contest. In fact, summer staff member, Molly Peterson's favorite part of Fall Festival was "watching everyone perform skits in their Halloween costumes. Who could forget Penelope the hedgehog's costume or how extremely realistic (and terrifying) Maverick was dressed up as an ape?"
Fellow summer staff member, Rachel Szczytko, recounts her favorite leaf driven memory from Fall Fest. "One of my favorite parts of fall festival was catching leaves before Saturday's dinner. The wind really picked up and everyone jumped around on the deck attempting to get as many as they could- classic camp ingenuity and tons of fun!"
One of the chapels during Fall Festival, Ashleigh talked about the changing colors of season and how trees lose their leaves each year, only to be renewed in the spring time. It was a reminder to us that while things in our life may change or parts of us may get shed off at different times, our roots are constant. And if our roots are in God, we know His love for us will create new things in us, just like spring weather brings new leaves to the trees. This chapel was a great connection back to the 2013 summer camp theme of being Rooted.
Even with the turning leaves, the weather during Fall Festival was absolutely gorgeous and it allowed us to spend lots of time outdoors including some of our last moments out on the lake canoeing, sailing, and kayaking. A few who were daring enough even went swimming!
We are now just under 8 weeks out from our 2nd annual New Year's Eve Camp. And we are so thrilled about this event, we have been planning for it since last New Year's Eve Camp! You can expect to see many familiar summer staff faces as well as the return of the Kimball Cup Broomball Tournament! While you are getting excited for this event, feel free to use #CHNYEVE so we can all share in the excitement and anticipation! We will have some of our classic camp activities mixed with a focus on winter and New Year's Eve themed activities, like sledding shenanigans and Camp Henry's very own, unique countdown celebration. It will be a great time to hang out, have a ton of fun, and to look forward to what God has in store for each of us in the New Year.
Come help us ring in 2014 Camp Henry style at New Year's Eve Camp! Bring a friend or two along, bundle up for cold weather fun and sign up for #CHNYEVE! If you attended last year, post a picture or two on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #CHNYEVE, we would love to share in your memories!"
Adam Swenson, Camp Henry's Assistant Program Director, is going to take you on a quick journey through the highlights of the Summer of 2013 at Camp Henry.
"There are endless amounts of highlights from Summer 2013. It is tough to just select a few, however, it's such a joy looking back and reminiscing on the events that took place here. I tend to create a mental collage that overwhelms me with happiness and excitement. Now you're probably wondering, "Hey, Adam, what's on this mental collage of yours?"
Well, I'm glad you asked! To help me illustrate the vast diversity of my mental colllage, I'm going to use the help of my 4 hybrid animal friends from Olympic week. There were the Slammoths (mammoth/sloth), the Wolfodiles (wolf/crocodile), the Snarwalls (snail/narwhal), and the Sharkosaurs (shark/dinosaur) and each of these creatures were created by the campers and represented a team during the Olympic games. My favorite part of this was during the opening ceremony when each team performed a team cheer and proudly waved their unique flag.
Speaking of flags, I saw a reoccurring theme of flags throughout our time at camp. Whether it was our daily flag raising and lowering ceremonial services, playing capture the flag, the boys village march to opening campfire, or demonstrating our dance moves to the 'Wavin Flag' energizer, flags were everywhere!
One of the most meaningful moments I experienced over the summer was on the night of July 4th. We enjoyed song and dance around the beach bonfire followed by an entertaining fireworks display hidden behind the tater totter. After the fireworks, each cabin group was given a giant paper lantern. Upon lighting it, we released it into the night sky. We used this lantern as a symbol of our hopes for how we could help share what we learned at camp to everyone outside of camp during the year.
Another thing that seems to be forever engraved in my head was during one of the hottest days of the summer when the Newaygo fire department came to camp with two of their fire trucks. They helped us kick off our Luau theme with a visit to the 'waterfalls' where the fireman proceeded to hose us down in the B field. The sounds of laughter and singing along with the vision of slip n' slides and dance moves are still so fresh in my memory.
In fact, the water activities at camp have been some of the most fun times. I always got a kick out of kayaking to the natural spring and participating in the polar bear challenge with everyone. Even receiving clay pies during fun swim or playing walk the plank on the green raft was a treat. As one of the wakeboard/water ski instructors, it was so great to hear that a handful of these campers chose to come to Camp Henry for wakeboard and waterskiing. When the question of "Why did you choose to come to Camp Henry?" was posed to other campers, the majority of responses revolved around Camp Henry being a safe place to try something new. And that the amount of support and encouragement received from everyone that makes it so much more enjoyable.
Now friends, let's not forget about the reason for the season...Christmas in July. There was so much energy and activity during that week, I don't even know where to begin! There was non-stop singing of Christmas carols, wearing of ugly sweaters and reindeer games at play, we certainly had a jolly time. My favorite part was not only seeing counselors Molly and Riley play pregnant Mary and Joseph during the nativity scene but the village Christmas themes is where the hype came from. In boys village we had 'Jurasic Pirates' and the scene of walking into the village was priceless. You saw pirates sword fighting for each others treasures while at the same time defending themselves from the hungry and wild dinosaurs that roamed about. Barely making it out alive, we came across the program staff house where minions chased each other around trying to get a banana. We then entered into girls village for a tour of America. We had to make it through customs/security first but once we got in, we had the opportunity to see the windy city, meet the president, refresh ourselves by old faithful and meet some talking corn stalks from Iowa. We ended the day with the annual cabin gift exchange that consisted mainly of back rubs and ice cream sundaes.
As you can see, our summer here at Camp Henry is a place where kids interact with people face-to-face and, at the same time, learn about themselves and others around a camp fire, under the stars, or sitting at a dining hall table. It allows the idea of boarding the train to Hogwarts during a Harry Potter Party or fighting crime as a ninja warrior to flourish. You find a world filled with possibilities at Camp that are unavailable in everyday life.
It's really the little, impromptu activities that we experience which makes our time together truly special. I always love the spectacle of the fire dancers and fire tossers during Indian campfire. And being able to see all of the open area activities, such as witnessing assistant director Stephanie play dizzy bats and catching her contagious laugh to watching counselor Maverick lead a group of kids in "I lift things up, I put them down". Even morning chapels and seeing everyone's reaction to counselor Blake shattering a potted plant on the ground or Genevieve scaring herself while popping a balloon. The list goes on and on. What I love about Camp Henry is that it gives the chance to practice being the best you can be. People experience a place designed to create happy memories, have the opportunity to climb towers, ride horses, shoot an arrow, and even experience the success of winning an epic game of Gaga! These moments stay with us forever. So the question I have for you is, what are some of your favorite memories from Summer 2013?
We live for camp, we long for camp, we love camp. Camp will forever be a part of me in everything I do, because camp is more than a place—it's a way of life. We hope to see you all next summer!"