Saturday, December 11, 2010

This is joy.

CILT Reunion- Day 1

After months of anticipation, countless facebook statuses, recruiting, and planning- 1:00 on December 11th had finally arrived. There is nothing like the screams and hugs of camp friends reuniting. It was incredible to see each kid that walked through the door greeted by old friends and acceptance and joy. This is home for us.

My friend Alli was telling me that coming to camp is so special because she's been coming here since she was 8. She doesn't remember a summer without Tecumseh. When she's here she remembers all those years.

The reunion always feels kind of extra special. When we come back for this one day we're returning to some of the best friends we've ever made that we've been missing for 5 months.

We made introductions, played where the wind blows and worked in teams on the shapes games. In Kampen we rotated through three challenges. In one room you had to see how many camp games your team could complete in 20 minutes. In the second room you had to identify what certain items represented from CILTs and then solve RV cabin riddles (i.e. exclamation spice = Osage, girl who loves shop class = Chickasaw). The third room had all the pieces to 2 giant puzzles that had to be sorted and then put together.

They broke up into sessions and created skits that told the highlights of their 2 weeks at camp. I loved Session 3's creative 12 Days of  Camp and laughed at their "great idea, poorly executed" preface.

Dinner was "Would You Be My Friend If I Wore This" theme.

I still want to be friends with all of them. I think these outfits might make we want to be friends with them even more.

Our pizza feast was accompanied by the "Would You Be My Friend If I Listened To This" soundtrack. This meal was Friday night dinner meets Crazy Campfire- energetic dancing, singing on chairs, screaming to Lovesick, and jumping to every song.

We competed to finish camp song lyrics- "Kings and queens and bishops too want to wish the best to you so..."

Human Ladder was a new game for Camp T- lines of teams raced across the room diving to make their team's ladder extend. It was so fun we had to play two rounds and the staff joined in the second time... and won!

Volunteers devoured skittles and then m&ms were transferred by straws.

We played the CILT version of the Newlywed game to see who knew their session the best... Who is most likely to go on a hunt for Manuela? Who was the best with the elderly? Who has the funniest laugh? Who brought the most luggage? Who is the biggest facebooker?

Next we all came together to...

...Skype with Beef! It was funny to see all of the kids scream when they saw his face pop up on the screen and then all try to talk to him at once.

The movie of pictures and videos from last summer brought back memories of rompers, a mouse funeral, ultimate challenge, singing Bieber on the bus, cheers at campfire, adopt-a-cabins, and dance parties everywhere.

I loved sitting in circles talking while eating ice-cream sundaes.

I don't think anyone stopped smiling the entire time we were at camp. I just kept thinking, "We're really here right now- I've been excited for this for so long! There isn't anywhere else I would rather be."

For six weeks this summer Kaitlin, Shelby, Beef and I spent our days loving these kids and teaching them to be counselors. It was surreal seeing them all back together again.

So many of them said this weekend felt like an escape. Here everyone can be goofy and silly and sing on top of tree trunks with their best friends and wear weird outfits and laugh like you only can with great friends.

We put on a mini-campfire. The highlight was Soap's re-mix to Lovesick. She changed all the lyrics to be about camp and had the entire thing memorized. Everyone's jaw was dropped watching these girls sing- it was awesome.

The girls went back to Whitetail to fill love tanks- a paper bag for each person filled with notes from friends. I wish I could have sat there for hours writing notes to every girl in the room to tell them how special they are. Those little notes are better than gold. Thank you to all of you that wrote me one- they mean the world to me. Keep telling the people in your life why they're special.

We sat in a giant circle and each said our high of the day and something that had changed in our life since this past summer. Every year, this is easily my favorite part of the reunion. All summer long I sit on the Choctaw floor with girls sharing our stories and supporting each other. On this one night in December we get to make that circle bigger as all of these girls come together.

I shared part of Shauna Niequist's idea's about change- how you can fight the waves of change and be pushed under and dragged across the bottom or you can go with the waves. We talked about what is going on in our lives and how we're in the middle of change or how we've found hope.

I love the message version of this verse where God says, "I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out. Plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." -Jeremiah 29:11

In the midst of change I want and pray to believe and understand that God knows what he is doing. It's easy for me to doubt and trust my own plan but God has promised to show up and take care of me. He knows what he is doing and has a greater plan than I can ever create. I pray that these girls will hold on to this hope and promise.

The rest of the night was laughing, heart-to-hearts, and sitting talking in circles. Staying up till 3am was totally worth it.

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