Friday, July 18, 2014

"CILTies may be going home, but we will never be alone. We will always call this place our home."

We brought back one of our favorite chapels this morning. It's the story of the 10 lepers that were healed by Jesus and one of them came back to say thank you. It's really cool to be see it acted out on stage. I got to wrap it up and talk about my friend Fitzie that taught me to make lists of things I love. Today I'm thankful for the way the sun shines through the leaves at the Green Cathedral, talking with CILT girls on my bunk bed before devotions, searching for clay in the shallow end at the lake, lightning bugs blinking all over Main Field at night and the way that people can become your best friend in just one week at camp. 

I've learned so much about being thankful from my favorite author Shauna Niequist in her book Cold Tangerines, "I believe in a life of celebration. I think life, just breathing in and out, is a great gift. God gives us something amazing when he gives us life and I want to live with gratitude. I want to live in a way that shows how much I appreciate the gift."

We spent the morning in the Party Room writing the CILT graduation song and talking through final one on ones with each camper. I'm so proud of how this group worked together and created this song that reflects them and their time at camp so well. I'm excited for them to sing it at campfire tonight.

Before lunch we ran outside to take some CILT girl pictures in Main Field. Over and over again these girls have talked about how they're a CILT family and that they feel so loved and accepted here.

Being a counselor for these girls will forever remind me of Shauna's chapter Puppies, "When I think about how God made us to live, when people talk about true community or true intimacy, I think of them, this lovely, bizarre group of teenage girls. They let me into their fears and secrets, and cared about my fears and my secrets. They loved me with a force I think only comes with youth, a wide and fierce and expressive force, and I love them with that same love, because being with them let me live like I was young."

And Shauna also, of course, writes words to describe how I feel about these friends, "When you walk with someone, listen to their story, carry their burden, play with their kids, that's community. When you pray for them in the middle of the night because their face popped into your mind, when you find yourself learning from them and inviting them more and more often into the family places in your life, that's community, and wherever you find it, it's always a gift."

We ate lunch in the Party Room like a whole CILT Pack picnic and then had our own traveling dance party. This entire experience is a look at what life looks like when you're intentional about friendships and living life to the full. Shauna says, "To choose to celebrate in the world we live in right now might seem irresponsable. It might seem frivolous, like cotton candy and charm bracelets. But I believe it is a serious undertaking, and one that has the potential to return us to our best selves, to deliver us back to the men and women God created us to be, people who choose to be see the best, believe the best, yearn for the best." This is a training ground to teach us to keep living this way back at home.

Today Sarah Mooney set a record. Because she's leaving tomorrow for the rest of the summer she wanted to try to finish all of her Parent Letters early so she wouldn't have to worry about them on vacation. Today at 4:55 she finished all ten of her three page letters. She is a champion. 

Tonight is Oscar night in the River Village and everyone got dressed for the red carpet.

We had celebrities, paparazzi and fashion police.

You know Sophia Grace and Rosie that go on the Ellen show? We're them... Sarah Wright and Smooney. We could be great guests on the Ellen show too.

I've loved living in the Longhouse with Katherine, Smoon, Arielle, Emily and Ellyn all summer. It'll be strange to have things mix up next week.

Trading Post time tonight was filled with hanging out with CILTies all over Main Field. The last couple days of CILTs just feel like they're flying by so fast and you can't slow down time at all. I wish I could freeze today and just live in this space a little longer.

I wish you could meet these friends: Emma, Maddie, Emily, Carrie and Molly. They're hilarious, fantastic, kind, ridiculous and outgoing. I love hanging out with all of them.

Molly Henry has been sick all week but she came back tonight! It  was so, so good to see her and to watch her old campers attack her.

We watched performances of martial arts, drama and country line dancing before getting changed for Closing Campfire.

Maggie Shadid has been gone for a couple weeks but she came back to camp tonight just in time to surprise all of her old campers from last summer. She's the best and everyone who has ever interacted with her loves her. Maggie is the kind of person that you look up to and just want to hang out with all the time.

Did you know that "the CILT girls take lots of pics" is so true that it made it into their graduation song?

Soon all the CILTies were on the Longhouse Porch and we got to practice their graduation song a few more times before the horse parade came.

I think that singing the song on the porch together is even more special than singing it at closing campfire. I love when all of the campers are just singing and dancing and smiling and laughing together.

Session 3, you're pretty darn awesome.

We got to take one final Ben Dehr Longhouse Porch CILT Pack picture. This is what living the dream looks like.

The one and only Nina showed up at campfire tonight with Blaze. I couldn't wait to see her, it's been months since I saw her last.

One of my favorite parts of being a CILT counselor is that I get to watch my campers grow up and become counselors themselves. I'm so proud of girls like Sophie, Ella, Grace, Emma, Kristin, Emily, Gianna and Taylor who are doing great things in the lives of their campers.

Carrie Gaffigan is a rock star. She's been in Erin O'Awesome's cabin for two weeks and we really don't want her to leave.

Clare Edleman became the new Buffalo Queen tonight after we listened to four different slam poets perform.

We got to do the CILT cheer on stage one last time.

LV Stomp clinic is one of my favorite things to watch week after week. They're so creative and united and flat out awesome. I wish I could be in the clinic.

Then it was time for the CILTs to graduate. We called them on stage one by one to give them their diplomas before they shared the song they wrote this morning.

Session 3- Gone, gone, gone

When we made our way to the CAC
To find where our cabin's at
We didn't know, how much we'd grow
We climbed up a 12 ft wall
Together we're standing tall
We laughed a lot, gave it all we got

Making potholder headbands,
We've got AC don't need no fans
We're on our way, every single day
Starting fires with bug spray
Went to Day Camp on Tuesday
To have some fun, and spread our love

Hopi, Choctaw, Abnaki
Add the Brova that's 40

Chapel, love tanks, and devos
The light of Christ will show
How we love and how we care
This new bond that we all share
Penelope, Annabelle
Staring at you while you sleep
STS and pool selfies
Having fun these past two weeks

The CILT girls take lots of pics
And Crocs are our favorite kicks
Sherpa Walks and deep talks
Our lives won't be empty
From the moment you met me
Knew that we would be, a family

CILTs has done so much for me

And we all love Camp T, Session 3
Warriors, Blazers and the Braves
We will always save the day
Camp T, Session 3
CILTies may be going home
But we will never be alone
We will always call this place our home

CILT Session 3
That's who we be
Making jokes about Mike Jones' arm sling
We're a family
Making memories
Wow this session means so much to me
Wow you guys mean so much to me
Wow my campers mean so much to me
As a leader we'll never stop CILTing
As a CILT we will never stop leading

Backpacks, snapbacks
Making name tags and headbands
Doing hikes and holding hands
Stories, memories
Throwing backpacks at flagpole
Everybody has a cold
Birthdays, Wacky Wednesday
Every day we celebrate
Cause we remember God is great
Being 3rd, we are heard
Moving forward every day
CILTs we wish, we wish we could stay

Like sisters we'll never stop sharing
Like brothers we'll never stop caring
Like a family we'll never stop loving
As a CILT Pack we'll always be there for you

And long after we're gone, gone, gone
We'll love Tecumseh when we're gone, gone, gone

We finished devotions together in the CAC-- touch someone who, what we're taking away from camp, and a bead from the Sagamore Creed. I love this last night all together when we get to wrap everything up. The girls hung out in the Longhouse for a long time when we got back as the girls packed up there stuff... but actually just hung out with each other. No one wants to go to bed because no one wants all of this to be over.

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