30 years ago this summer my Mom packed me, my brother, my cousin, and our preacher’s eldest son into the station wagon and made the trek to Camp Hunt, a Christian summer camp located in Central New York. I had heard about Camp Hunt because my Mom had been a camper there in the 60’s, but at 12 year old, I had never actually been.
That week was life changing for me. I started camp as a kid who had barely survived 7th grade. Someone who had strong convictions and a heart for God, but who had no idea how to relate to kids at school. There was no one in my age group at church. I was a preacher’s kid and I was so lonely, so confused, so unsure about how to live authentically as a Christian without subjecting my self esteem to the constant barrage of middle school bullying.
As a kid who was no longer a kid, Camp Hunt was the first place where I felt I could truly ‘be myself.’ I could sing loudly, play hard, and live boldly as a Christian.. and you know what? That was viewed as an asset! I felt acceptance and I developed friendships that have truly lasted a lifetime.
I was a camper for a number of years, and a camp counselor for even more years than that. But, you know… life gets in the way.
I graduated college, moved away, and before you know it almost 20 years had gone by. So, this summer I made a conscious choice to re-engage, to spend another fateful week at Camp Hunt– this time as a Bible Class teacher. This time I brought my 2 year old daughter.
I had heard many things had changed. Rules were different, schedules shifted, facilities updated. I was nervous. After 19 years, would that spark still be there? Would this place, which was one of the most important influences on my childhood, still live up to my nostalgic expectations?
As I pulled off of Route 12, drove through Hubbardsville and up the hill, my heart caught in my throat. Everything about this drive was familiar to me… it was like I was 13 again, and the anticipation was almost unbearable.
And then I saw it.. the corner of a teaching shelter. Grindley Auditorium.. and the sign for the entrance. Camp. I was back. I was home.
Sure, things have changed… but not the things that matter. Sitting on top of ‘the hill’ is still one of the most peaceful places on earth. The kids still play four square during canteen. The singing at Grindley still lifts the roof off the building. Soccer is still best when it is pouring rain. And the people.. some of the faces have changed, but the spirit is still the same. Just as I reconnected with this very special place, I have also been able to reconnect with friends from years past… we have picked up like we saw each other just yesterday.
Camp Hunt is good for my soul.
I have a sneaking suspicion I will be back.. I think I want my daughter to fall in love with Camp like I did.. and in the process, fall in love with God.
In the meantime, the bell for campfire just rung… Anyone up for the ‘Fishy Song?’
Hi all! So, I need to ask a favor. I am still at Camp and there literally is not enough bandwidth to upload and download all the great posts I usually like to highlight each week. So, I need to take a pass on that part this week. However, I promise that when I get back to the land of high speed internet access, I will visit your great posts, pin them, and share them. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by Thoughtful Thursdays. I hope you leave a great post at this week’s linkup as well!
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