Today is KATE'S 15th BIRTHDAY! We decorated her bunk while she was asleep, all wrote on her birthday card, gave her a crown to wear all day and the whole dining hall sang Happy Birthday to her. I love Kate so much and love that we got to celebrate with her today.
After breakfast we went to Real Life, one of my favorite parts of camp. Five people from the assign team and summer staff sit on stage and share parts of their testimony with all of us. Each one is different so the kids can all find someone to relate to. Today they started telling us about the person they were in HS and what some of the most impactful things in their life were at that time. We'll get to revisit Real Life a couple more times this week.
Then our characters came out with their new special glasses that help them get transported to any scene. They didn't really work for her at the beach but he got doused in sand, water, pool toys and seagull poop. When he couldn't take any more they announced that we were about to go compete in the Cement Pond Olympics!
All of camp got divided into four different teams-- Red Bulls, Green Guppies, Blue Barracudas and we joined the Yellow Snappers. Some kids got to compete for us in individual events like the Sweatshirt Relay where they swam a relay passing off the giant sweatshirt to the next person.
The Yellow Snappers hold up a Y with their left hand and snap with their right. The Yellow Snappers yell, "Our team is the Yellow Snappers (HUH!) the Yellow Snappers (BAM!) the Yellow Snappers (Pyoh!)." The Yellow Snappers cheer each other on.
All the teams jumped into the pool for the next couple events and made a long single file line down the lane together.
We had to pass the giant Golden Egg down the lane under all of our legs and then back to the front over our heads.
The Yellow Snappers got a victory!
Next each lane passed Crock in his life raft all the way down their lane and back again while they were splashed by the rest of the pool. I think Crock had the sweetest spot.
Hannah competed in the Dive For Pain competition.
Everyone moved over to the lake side to watch the Blob for Style competition.
My friend Ella flew for the Red Bulls.
Carly flipped threw the air for the Yellow Snappers and ended in a dive.
Daniel did a crazy flip mid air for our team.
We went back to the pool for the Jousting Competition on the floating lily pads. The Yellow Snapper guy Dillon won both of his battles.
Then it was Jenna's turn to step up and she kept her balance to win both of her battles too.
Everyone stayed around the perimeter of the pool to watch the Synchronized Swimming competition.
Our kids planned some great moves and had both Payton and JB lifted into the air. I loved having all of the kids from our school competing together. Megan, Lauren, Audrey and Brooke were such great cheerleaders for everyone.
The last thing we got to watch was the Giant Whirlpool. The boys all got in first and lined up around the perimeter. They started walking slowly, then running, then swimming until they made a fast current. Then the lifeguards yelled for them to change direction.
It was so hard for them to swim against the current they had just created and many were pulled back or just swam in place. Then it was the girls turn to jump in and do the same thing.
All of camp had a picnic lunch of cheeseburgers out on the lawn this afternoon. It's so fun to get to just be outside in circles on the grass. The funfetti cookies were a highlight too.
I got my daily pic with Ella and Nina-- great girls I tell ya. Then Hannah and I rounded up the White River girls for an adventure. We made them go off roading on the way there.
Some of them volunteered to go through the creek instead of over the bridge. Haleigh and I were twinning today which was really fun, most of our YL wardrobes match so we get to do this a lot.
Today our cabin got to do the Repelling Tower. Everyone got suited up in harnesses and helmets.
Most of us had done climbing walls like this before but had never repelled down the other side like James Bond.
Kelsey, the summer staff girl at the top of the tower, was so nice and I loved getting to talk to her for a couple minutes before I went down. She had a ring of bible verses that she was working on memorizing up there. When it was just her and I she asked if she could be praying for any of the girls in our cabin. I gave her some names and she wrote them down to pray about later. I love that she, and the rest of the staff here, is so intentional about partnering with the leaders in prayer and making this the best week ever for these kids.
Hannah and I were so proud of all of the girls giving the wall a shot and climbing up at least a few of the rocks. Most of them went all the way up to the top even if they were nervous about it.
Next our cabin all went to the snack bar together to get the Gutter for Kate's birthday. This is a special Sharp Top Cove treat-- a rain gutter filled with ice-cream, hot fudge and all the toppings you want-- big enough to share with the whole cabin.
Our girls are experts at all digging in and eating at the same time. They devoured the gutter.
Once we finished they took our picture with the empty gutter to hang on the wall in the snack shop.
We headed back outside to the blob, water slides, giant swing and zip line. There is the perfect number of people at camp this week-- there are always people around but we never really have to wait in line anywhere.
This afternoon I got to just go from group to group hanging out with different kids.
Dinner was insanely good, a fiesta to end all fiestas. The queso. The guacamole. The chicken. The chips and salsa. I can't convey in words how delicious it was. At the end of the meal they brought out a special dessert for Kate and all of the work crew sang Happy Birthday to her.
Soph has quickly become best friends with our server Charlie and our girl Katie, she hunts them down in the dining hall every day and they love her right back.
After dinner most of our girls went back to their rocking spot to hang out and people watch until Club. We were talking earlier about how sweet camp is because here everyone gets to hang out all the time. You don't have to make plans or get rides or worry about getting left out or see what you're missing out on via Instagram. Here everyone is included all the time, everyone is invited, everyone is part of the party.
Lil Freezy, the Hype Man and DJ Stinker came back out during Club tonight.
We sang more songs and heard another great talk from Crock about what is draining the life from us. They keep introducing these new songs that have such awesome lyrics to connect with our cabin times. I love these words. Even when kids can't articulate what they're going through I think so many of them are in this place.
At the end of Club Ashley interrupted from the back and said, "I really think you guys are going to want to see this. Follow me. Stay quiet." She led us outside, down the hill and into the darkness. We stopped along a fence and then all of a sudden this cabin was illuminated in the middle of the field. Everyone ran towards the music and the lights.
We had ourselves a little country hoe down right there in the field. There was a banjo and washboard, country accents and a canopy of stars.
Nina and Kyndal got called up to compete in the worm spittin' contest. They actually had to put these wiggly, squirmy worms in their mouths and then spit them as far as they could into the crowd.
Mitch was one of the guys called up to be in the dance off against the girls. They learned a short dance to the cotton eyed joe and then added their own flare to the end.
At the end of one of the songs we turned around the find the work crew walking in from the dark with giant trays of ice-cream sundaes. Seriously, Young Life camp is the best.
Before we headed back to the cabins for the night we got a crew of friends and strangers to take a picture with the country crew on the front porch of their cabin.
We finished the night with cabin time again. I love that these conversations are part of our everyday life here. We get to ask hard questions and be honest. Sometimes we're really deep, sometimes we don't always agree, sometimes we hear something new, sometimes we realize something about ourselves-- but I think it's always good. Tonight I'm thankful for each of these girls and that God is working in their lives right where they are.