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!"
Hey guys! Our post today comes from Adam Swenson – a Program Specialist here at Camp Henry. We asked Adam to share a bit about what camp means to him. Here's what he had to say:
When asked what camp means to me, I become overwhelmed with the amount of thoughts that pertain to what Camp Henry has provided for me. Whether it's opportunities to try something new to being zany in outrageous costumes, I am given the appropriate amount of freedom while being taught lifelong lessons like communication, honesty, and respect.
What most people in today's society don't realize is that with our advanced technology and crazy busy schedules, we don't know how to communicate with others effectively- let alone to stop, take a breath of fresh air, and take notice of our surroundings. One thing that comes to mind while being at camp is that it gives me the appreciation for little things- waking up to a gorgeous lake view, singing by the campfire, etc. We often get caught up in our busy daily schedules and sometimes forget about the little things, such as the small ant on the ground, the bird chirping in the tree, or the squirrel scurrying with a nut. They are a valuable part of creation and truly make the world a better place. Unfortunately, these things get lost as we hurry from place to place, going about our daily routines. But they are parts of our life that are even more valuable than our hair appointments, work deadlines, and car problems. They are the simple things, which God made for us to care for, enjoy, and appreciate. Matthew 6:22 explains, "The lamp of the body is the eye. If, then, your eye is simple, your whole body will be bright..." Having a simple eye means keeping our life uncomplicated and having a healthy outlook. Camp has taught me that this way of viewing life can allow for glimpses of our extraordinary God, and we can catch traces of his imprint everywhere in creation if we simply take the time to enjoy it.
Hey Camp Henry Fans! Ashleigh (Program Director) here, and I am excited to post today about one of the main reasons I work at Camp Henry. Camp is a place I have fallen in love with and I consider myself blessed to be a part of this ministry. Working at camp allows me to combine to of my biggest passions – my faith & helping others have a great time! Check out the article below I wrote last year about how Camp Henry approaches these two passions:
How a Summer Camp Experience Can be a Milestone in a Child's Faith Journey
If you are anything like me, you might have had a tough time sitting through church as a kid and you couldn't quite make the connection of how any of it related to you. The good news is that many camps today focus on faith and can be an opportunity for a child to really learn and grow in an accepting environment.
There are many different reasons for choosing a Camp with a focus on faith but a lot of the data suggests that parents view camps as an integral part of their child's faith development. A lot of parents are thankful to have yet another avenue to expose their child to certain beliefs and to staff who are thrilled about sharing their views in a respectful way. Much can be gained from the fantastic relationships campers are able to develop with their counselors and the great thing about camp is that it is relevant to the child and their way of thinking.
In fact, many camps go beyond just having a chapel time or a certain chunk of the day that is specifically devoted to faith discussions and are utilizing methods that incorporate faith and fun. A great example is how we operate at Camp Henry. As a Christian camp, we believe that everything we do at camp should be an example of our faith. We search out teachable moments and do all that we can to make no distinction between faith and fun. We firmly believe, along with many other camps in the industry, that campers can explore and experience spiritual truth in everyday activity.
Being a welcoming and inclusive camp is what we're all about! We appreciate and value that campers come to us from all sorts of faith backgrounds, and many from no faith background whatsoever. We truly believe that the best way to learn about what it means to be a Christian is for campers to have a chance to see it modeled before them – in how we treat them, interact with one another, serve, etc. And the beauty of it is, we always end up learning so much from our campers as well. God's love for all of us is a key message we try to convey and are excited to share.
Certainly, all camps are purposeful with the activities they provide. Elements and facilities aren't just in place for kids to have a blast – as camp staff, we hope that the child will learn, challenge themselves, become more appreciative and understanding of the world around them, and explore their faith in new and relevant ways. Choosing to send your child to a camp that has a faith focus can be another great tool for helping them learn more about their faith and in helping them make their faith their own.
Greetings from the shores of old Lake Kimball!
Part of our New Years plan at camp was to start this blog for all you guys- so here it is! Camp has served as that perfect get away from our everyday routines and an even better place in getting reacquainted with our faith and making everlasting memories. We certainly do miss seeing all of your bright and smiling faces here so with this, we want to continue it by providing more opportunity to stay connected throughout the year. Whether it be announcing our next Camp Henry Live event, sharing a campers story or a devotional, we will update this frequently so you can see what is happening with Camp Henry!
Check out these other great ways to stay connected to us throughout the year:
-Like us on Facebook
-Follow us on Instagram (username CampHenry37)
- Follow us on Twitter @CampHenryMI
-Visit our website: www.camphenry.org