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Do you send your children to summer youth camp? Every year as some sort of ritual passage for the beginning of summer my oldest two children go off to church camp. This will mark the 9th year we have embarked on this annual right of passage.

Youth Camp

I remember the first year Pepper went to church camp… 6 years old and without one family member along. I was so scared! I cried for the week leading up to her departure and cried some more as she rode away. In fact, I was so worried about her that I literally made myself sick the week she was gone. I had a fever, no appetite and could hardly get out of bed until the day she came back. So, what? Yes, I am a wee bit attached to me kiddos.

The next year was Jake’s first time to go to camp. He is my lone prince and, although I did not get physically ill this time, I was still a complete mess. It probably did not help that his children’s pastor had to call me nightly because he was crying and needed to be consoled. We were both happy to have him back home. Needless to say, Jake took a year off before returning to summer camp.

Each year it’s a crazy period of buying camp clothes, marking everyone’s belongings, laying out outfits, packing bags, rolling sleeping bags, labeling medicines, and much more. BUT… this year? This year we took Pepper and Jake shopping on Friday night for a few things {new swim suits, toiletries and snacks}, spent all day Saturday on the go, and then Sunday night we pulled the luggage out of the attic. That was it as far as SuperDad and I were concerned. The kids knew what they needed to do and we knew that they were quite capable of handling it all on their own. They were packed by 9:00pm on Sunday night and ready to leave out at 8:00am Monday morning. No worries.

In fact, for the first time in 9 years I actually feel calm with them leaving. Through the amazingness that is Facebook, we were able to track their 5 hour journey South as the Youth Pastor and other adult sponsors checked in along the way. We knew within minutes when they had arrived and were assured things were progressing well as they made the trek to the camp. {Last year’s ride both there and, even worse, on the way back did not go well due to mechanical issues with the buses they were traveling on. Pepper had a very traumatic ride back and tackled me when she got out of the vehicle she had been moved to and we both cried for a bit. So glad to not have to worry about that this year.} Jake even updated his FB along the way to let everyone know that their bus full of high school kids was watching Toy Story 3 and having a great time. Oh have times have changed!

So, today will be their first full day at camp and they come back to us on Friday evening. They have a pretty busy schedule and were excited about the band {Dutton} playing at camp this year as well. Sounds like they have a fun week ahead! I pray they develop relationships within their youth group as well as with others, but mostly I pray they further foster their relationship with God. After all, that is the main reason we send them every year… contrary to what they might believe! 🙂

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