Sunday, June 30, 2013

"10? That's how many toes my sister Margaret should have... 13? My name's Ellyn and I teach clinics... 17? I'm a national champion... 22? That's how many bracelets I made today."

The CILTs were in charge of chapel this morning for all of the stay overs. They had practiced and planned last night so they were ready to go.

Most of them helped lead the songs on stage. After being in the audience of chapel for all their camper years it's so cool to get to be the ones upfront.

They performing the Wemmick skit about how God's opinion matters more than anyone else's.

Taylor never had any dots stick to her at all because everyday she went to visit Eli the woodcarver. She told Justin about where her confidence came from and he started to visit Eli too.

Jared and Sally did a great job wrapping it all up and made it easy to relate to with their experiences.

We had to wander past the CAC on our way to meet the CILTs after our staff meeting and ran into some friends. Emily Peterson, from first session, was here dropping off her little sister Ava. We got to see Erin and Irene hard at work making buttons for all the new campers.

I ran into Emma and Olivia, they both just finished 8th grade at my Junior High, who were dropping off Olivia's little sister. These two are so fun and I miss seeing them in the hallway everyday.

A whole bus full of kids rode to camp together and the CILTs got to be their official welcoming crew. After they met, the CILTs helped them carry their stuff to their cabin for the week.

All the CILTs were slowly tricking back into the Party Room from their cabins so we had a little time to hang out with Emily and Sophie, who was dropping off her brother. This pair is so wonderful and we loved getting to just hang out with them again. A little strange to be there without the rest of their session, it still felt so normal to have them there because they're part of our CILT family.

We just really love Emily and Soph, if only their moms would have left them behind for the whole week.

All the CILTs planned their devotions that they'll lead in their cabins later this week and we did some fun week 2 lice checks. Smooney definitely wins the award for being lice check MVP.

Did I mention that since Jamie Z is gone on a family vacation (we miss her so much already!), we get to have Natalie Finney join Team CILT for the week? We're pretty pumped about the new addition.

We used our lice check sticks to pull out this week's challenges from the CILT Jar.

After sitting down all afternoon we were ready to run around and play the Airport Waiting Game. Fitzie taught it to us years ago and it's still one of my absolute favorites. Smooney and I want to play it in a real airport.

Week 4 and the friendship bracelets are stacking up quite beautifully.

I love that during this game you can run around switching seats the whole time or just hang out with people in your area too.

We didn't waste any time getting to the CILT Jar challenges and pulled all the tables together for our banquet dinner.

It took a few extra seconds to walk all the way down and around the end so the people on the main side did a lot of filling.

Tonight we got to give Adam the Order of the Oar for his birthday.

This 28 year old loved it.

Since the CILTs were with their adopted cabins tonight we dressed up without them. Can you tell who we are?

I'm so excited that Annie is here this week. She's a frequent week 4 kid that I first met years ago because she would smell my Diet Coke every afternoon. I can't wait to play with her lots.
I'm beyond thrilled that Sarah is here for the next few weeks. She's camp famous to a lot of counselors and has a bit of all of our hearts. I can't wait to turtle in the pool, braid her long hair, hear her stories and make her laugh.

Illinois cabin sure is lucky to have both Katherine and Rachel. I wish I could have them both in my cabin.

Sophie and her little sister Reece have arrived! This pair is hilarious.
I love Mags and Alli-- they're both always so kind, helpful and genuine. Their kids are lucky.

Did you figure it out?

Alex is Finney
Finney is Smooney
Ellyn is Alex
Irene is Sarah Wright
Smooney is Irene
Sarah Wright is Ellyn

Aw.... best friends Ellyn Alex and Rachel.

Katie Miles and Bailey Taylor, two of my HSJH 8th grade girls are here for the week! I can't wait to see them a ton.

I'm so glad that Maeve, Olivia and Grace are all working this week so we can see them on our DC shadow day.

I really love these outfits.

The CILTs watched home movies from the past week together in the fellowship room before watching a Nooma video for devotions. We talked about how God knows what's best for us and has a plan for our lives. Even when we can't see him or hear him talk to us we still trust that God is good and he'll take care of us.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"I haven't left my room, all I've done is sit and face time CILTs."

I'm sad that Reecie is leaving today. I love that Maddie and Lesem are such good friends and roommates this summer. I'm glad that these CILTs aren't going home yet. Ale May is one of my old HSJH students and it's been so fun to see her at camp this week.

Enoch is an old chapel story that got a massive creative twist today. Instead of just hearing the story, we saw it acted it out by a crew of turkeys, an eagle and an owl. It was phenomenal.

You may think you've heard Enoch before but you've definitely never seen it quite like this.

I had two of the very best surprises today.

First Emma Servies from Session 2 last summer showed up at the Longhouse. She was at camp to pick up her brother and stopped by to say hi. I miss this girl so much. She made such an impression on me and is one of those girls that has such a big part of my heart. It was so good to see her.

Smooney, Alli Kenney and I were eating lunch at Chipotle when all of a sudden Sophie from last week and Kathryn came through the door. I've missed this girl so much already and I was beyond excited to see her. The five of us got to hang out and talk for awhile and it was the perfect surprise on this Saturday.

Friday, June 28, 2013

"I promise to not talk about the Crow's Nest. If I do you can cut off a large chunk of my hair."

Rachel Lombard and Maeve-- two of the greatest people I know. Seriously. I wish they didn't live all the way in Chicago but I love getting to play with them in the summer. I fell in love with this pair when they were CILTs two years ago and am so thankful for their friendships.

When I grow up I want to be more like Lizzy Dale. I'm so thankful for Annie Fazz and her consistent friendship.

We visited St. Elizabeth's nursing home this morning to visit with the residents. I met Helen first with Marisa, Megan, Amanda and Hannah. We stood in her room as she told us stories about her family and her HS days with the basketball boys and the principal that played marbles with them. She was a hoot.

For a lot of the CILTs this is their first time doing something like this.

They share camp songs with the residents and some of them will clap along. One man sang the muffin song right along with the CILTs.

Watching them quickly make these connections is so cool.

We played Running Charades in Main Field when we got back to camp. Each round was a list of that counselor's favorite things. While we were there Farm Discovery passed by and we each took a pic with our animal alter ego.

It was a good time watching the kids act out things like,
"Laying on the beach in the shade drinking an ice cold iced tea"
"Climbing 14,000 foot mountains"
"Running a half marathon in the Bahamas" and
"Handmade presents on my birthday."

Do you think you know which favorite thing belongs to which CILT counselor?

When clinics let out we went to find kids to play with. Caden is a new camper this summer and loving camp like a boss. Rachel and I short-twinning today, she's really fun.

I'm so glad that Alli, Coll and Moll are all on resident staff this summer so I can see them so much more.

Camp friends are some of my oldest friends and sharing camp makes those relationships that much stronger.

Annie and I decided to declare today, "Annie and Sarah Picture Day," because we haven't been getting nearly enough lately and she'll be gone next week.

I'm so lucky to get to work with Smooney and Jamie Z all day every day this summer. Together we get to prove over and over again that CILTs really do have more fun than people.

Country Hoe Down, one of my favorite themes, was tonight. We whipped out our overalls and bandannas then braided our hair for the occasion.

I had to miss the first theme night of last session so I was really excited to get to do this with our session two crew. I didn't know too many kids in this group before it began and this week has been all about getting to know them.

We're already having so much fun and I'm stoked that it's only half way over.

Friday nights are without a doubt the best nights of the week. Everyone dresses up together. We get to have a dance party during dinner. All of the resident and day camp counselors are on. Clinics perform. Everyone in camp goes to closing campfire. We dress up in a rainbow of unit t-shirts. We get to watch the stars as we walk back to our cabins.

This is a life that sizzles and pops. This a place where joy permeates everything we do. These are people that celebrate each other.

These friends are absolutely part of my second family. I've got their backs and they've got mine.

Dinner was a country party. We ate fried chicken and cheesy taters. Our table talked in country accents. When the music didn't start at first we sang two different TSwizzy songs on our own. When the music did come on we stood on our chairs and sang like we were at a jamboree.

There's nowhere else I would rather be on a Friday night.

Ain't no party like a CILT party cause the CILT party don't stop.

The Trading Post is crazy on Friday nights. Cookie Sandwiches and Strawberry Shortcake Bars literally fly through the air. All 40 CILTs come to our window at once wanting water bottles, neon sweatshirts, ice-cream and sunglasses.

They're an enthusiastic bunch.

I love working with Smooncat this summer. We've been great friends for six years but we've never gotten to work in the same village let alone do something like CILTs together. We mutually inspire one another and do our best to love each other well. She's one of those friends that I can be comfortably silent with or sing "22" so loud with that I think I might pass out. Smooney is one of those friends that I know I don't have to worry about losing.

It rained on and off during Trading Post but we toughed it out and danced in the rain anyways singing every song we could think of that had "rain" in the lyrics.

I love these friends and am so lucky that I get to work with them. I've watched them grow from CILTs to counselors and I couldn't be more proud of the big things they're each doing with their own girls.

 Warrior CILTs are swaggy.

Oh how I love closing campfire. The horse parade. The running for the benches. The pharoah-ettes at the beginning. The unit cheers and four year awards. This is the best show around.

I'm so glad that Fran is working on DC this summer. She brings me joy.

I'm so lucky that I got to have Anna in my cabin-- her best friend told me about her last session and one of her old counselors warned me that she's awesome. I'm sad that Devon is leaving tomorrow but so glad that I got to cross paths with her a lot this week.

I officially met Megan last summer when she asked me to be a CILT counselor next summer. I was so flattered that she thought so highly of me and am so glad that it worked out for us to be together this year.
Cate is a veteran camp kid herself and a good family friend of mine. Tonight she gave me the craziest, biggest, most awesome friendship bracelet I've ever seen or received. It's so massive and awesome that I tied it on my backpack so I'll never have to take it off.

Seriously--coolest thing ever.

 Nart was the best photographer ever during the CILT cheer tonight. I love this team.

Sometimes I really wish that Mags lived in River Village because I would love to get to play with her all the time. But then I remember how good she is at being a Pathfinder counselor. Her life story inspires these girls and she always wants to hear their stories. Maggie's heart is one of the most genuine and kind I've ever known. She's doing big things.

One of the things I love most about closing campfire is seeing this whole camp family together celebrating one another. We cheer each other on for awards and songs. Every clinic gets a standing ovation.

The River hip-hop kids were beasts tonight. They danced to LeCrae and were worthy of a music video.

They brought back Tecumseh Counselor for the first time this summer-- Adam the Plumber, Maggie and Nart as KJ and John Amy, Alex the undertaker, Annie and Liz as Braves, Andy and Todd as Patrick Star. Hilarious.

Liz and the LV hip hop crew did a dance to a techno version of Taylor Swift's Love Story. It was phenomenal, Lizzy was an all star in her first big performance. I'm sure it won't be the last.

King Kyle got the crowd excited during Toast. Beef and I jumped up at the last minute to add One Camp to the agenda. Mike, Maddie, Jamie and Becca Hough shared a new song called "One Voice" at the end of campfire which was really cool.

At the end of the night the Torchbearers stood on the Wright Way to light the way for others on their way back to their cabins. They each had tears on their faces, predictable for this group, but I think they're always genuine. Camp impacts you in a way nothing else does and it's so sad to think your time here might really be over.

While the CILTs did devotions with their cabins, the CILT counselors got to visit with Mel and go back home to the Longhouse. Eventually we had a star gazing devotion in Main Field as I shared a chapter from a new book I'm excited about called, "More or Less." As we walked back to the cabin afterwards my girls just talked about how the stars really do shine brighter here than anywhere else they've ever been.