Early this morning at 5 am when it was definitely still dark out, dozens of kids showed up at HSE HS to load the buses. We pulled out less than an hour later headed for Sharp Top Cove, a Young Life camp in Georgia. With 63 kids and 7 leaders, we were ready for a week of adventure and the promise that it would be the best week of our lives.
We slept, watched Hunger Games, talked and listened to music till we pulled off in Tennessee for lunch. Everyone was ready to stretch their legs.
We filled up on Subway, Taco Bell, McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King before getting back on the bus.
And we finally got to take the traditional group bus pic.
In the middle of the afternoon we drove on a winding road through the mountains until we finally arrived at Sharp Top Cove. We were greeted by the Work Crew and met two of this week's characters right away.
I love that you get thrown into things right away. We have so many kids that have never been to camp before and they have no idea what to expect. The Work Crew took us to our giant cabins and we claimed our bunks before heading out to play and explore.
Most of the girls ran to the camp store right away to check out all the new merchandise. We walked around looking at all the stuff and had the hardest time picking because we would love to get EVERYTHING. Here are some of our favorites...
I'm so excited about leading with this group of people this week. JD, Hannah, Abby, Ryan, Ryan and Stephen love these kids, are passionate about their faith and will go all in to make this week the best for our kids. I'm stoked that I get to share this with them.
This camp is unbelievable. I can't get over how beautiful this place is. We're down in a valley surrounded by mountains. The buildings are all gorgeous, I would love to live in a house that looked like any of them one day. The grounds are beautiful. There's a pool, lake, zip line, blobs, slides, volleyball court and more. Every building has giant porches with rocking and Adirondack chairs to sit and talk in. I'm so excited about this place.
Our kids ran all over this afternoon checking stuff out and being crazy already. I'm so excited for all of these boys to experience camp together this week.
We got to share our first meal together in the giant dining hall. Young Life is intentional about having us share meals around circular tables and eating family style together. We get to share dinner without any distractions, something that's such a rarity at home.
These meals are one of my favorite times of the day because we get to talk and laugh and play double tap and sing to the music-- not to mention that the food is awesome.
Tonight they had a huge boxing ring set up in the middle of the room. At the end of the meal they called up guys and girls from different areas for the game. Grant Skelton got called from HSE and everyone screamed like crazy for him.
The girls circled around the edge while music played and when it stopped they had to tackle one of the boys to stay in the game. It was hilarious. Grant was the last guy standing.
Last summer I got to take many of these girls to Wyld Life camp at Timberwolf Lake for their first YL experience ever. It's so awesome to get to come back to camp with them again this year. I'm so thankful for girls like Haleigh and Brooke and the rest of their friends and how much we've grown together and with Christ since last summer.
LT, a school from Chicago, is here this week too. I had about 10 girls from that HS as CILTs Session 3 and now I get to hang out with some of their friends. I knew Ella and Nine before and just met Blaze today. I can't wait to spend time with them this week.
One of HSE's strengths at camp is waiting outside the Club room so that we can be in the front rows once they swing open the doors to let us inside. There are 30 girls from our school here this week and I'm so excited that each of them have made it here.
These are girls I had as students, girls I've sat in Campaigners with, girls that I watch play soccer and go to Orange Leaf with after school. I couldn't be more pumped to get to spend a whole week hanging out with them.
They make me laugh and feel so lucky that I get to be one of their leaders.
Holding with tradition, we did get into the very front section of Club tonight. For our returners they jumped right into all the craziness that they're used to. All of our new kids quickly realized what all the hype is about. Club is the greatest party ever.
We met more of the characters that will be on stage all week long: Coco and Jojo the Party Starters.
They called up kids for a spelling bee contest. The shirts had letters on the front and back. When the music stopped they had to spell out the next word of the song.
Natalie (S) and Rhett (D) got to represent HSE on stage. The girls totally dominated the competition winning every word except the last one when the boys pulled out a point with the word DYNAMITE.
Singing (aka screaming) is one of my favorite parts of Club. The kids go crazy jumping and dancing around and everyone smiles non-stop.
We met Freezy and Stinker, two more characters, and heard their raps.
Our musician of the week is awesome and I'm excited to hear more of his songs. I loved the lyrics from the song "Desire" that we sang together tonight.
They released us from club to run back to our cabins and get dressed in our grubbiest clothes for the Obstacle Course. We followed a path of flashlights and lanterns through the whole camp. We climbed over walls, got covered in mud, had water balloons thrown and water squirted at us, went down slides, army crawled through mud, trudged through a creek, maneuvered through ropes and eventually raced into the lake. We were intense.
When we finally made it home the girls were covered in mud. Haleigh didn't want to wash it off because she thought it was so much fun.
We had our first cabin time together in a circle tonight. There are 16 girls with Hannah and me so there is a lot to say and share. I love these girls already and am so excited about the people God planned to be here. I know he has great plans ahead. We're so excited to dive deeper into conversation and each other's lives as the week goes on.