As most people know, it is my habit to review events I happen to be a part of , and preteen camp is no different. I was kept pretty active but it was in the best possible way given the circumstances. I will comment a bit on my activities (as well as those activities I avoided), some observations of the young people, and some comments on the surrounding contexts of the camp itself and the weather, and hopefully those comments will make some sense as I will be writing in an even more extreme hurry than I usually do because the time for church was moved three hours earlier due to the heat. This ought not to surprise us given the fact that the heat was very intense all week while I was at camp outside of Portland.
As was the case last year, my responsibilities began before camp started, as I drove a fellow staff member and her two daughters from the airport to camp and then back to Portland after camp was done. It’s nice to have good company and I seldom have the opportunity for anyone else to be in my car given the fact that I live a fairly solitary life. Once I got there, the sound equipment required some setup, which took a day at least to iron out all the kinks in our computers as they related to the video and sound output, and there were meetings as well. Like last year, I worked the sound booth for the dance class given my modest abilities in dance itself and taught the kids to sing a song, and I have to say that both of those activities worked out pretty well. Aside from that I was in charge of campfire and was able to keep the announcements working and keep the awards ceremony moving along well at a good clip. I was told that I had that job as long as I wanted it, which I suppose means that I am good at an activity that requires a certain tendency towards organization and order that most other people find rather distasteful because it requires speaking in front of a large audience. There were some activities I avoided, though, for example spending my evenings with the younger staff members. Given the tendency of such matters to go on for long hours in the night, I wished to avoid any kind of personal involvement with anything that would approach breaking the rules. So I got some reading done and tried to sleep early, with mixed success.
Many of the campers there were ones I had previously met, although there was considerable turnover in the staff department. For the most part, it appeared that the campers were able to get along with each other. There was some drama about some staff members not pulling their full weight, and there were some kids who appeared to be a bit less emotionally mature than others, but given the circumstances (to be discussed shortly) the camp went well for the most part. I got to see all of the dorms at least twice in dance class as well as every night at campfire and during the awards ceremony but I must say that I did not have the chance to get particularly close with any of the dorms myself, although even from my observation some of them had a particular personality–the second oldest girl’s dorm, for example, got into the habit of calling everyone dude or dudette. In my Christian living classes, I noticed that the boys would arrive first and that it required some effort (especially on the third and final morning of camp when everyone was pretty tired) to draw out comments from most of the girls, but I thought it was worthwhile to give a chance for everyone to have some attention and share their own thoughts and ideas and perspectives.
Conditions at the pre-teen camp were much different than they were last year. Last year it was somewhat chilly the first day, but this year the summer heat was pretty intense the whole time. I was quite fortunate that although my schedule was pretty full, my only outdoor activities were campfire in the evening when it was already starting to cool somewhat. The rest of the time I was busy inside of the dance pavilion, which proved to be a popular place for teen staff and the ministry in charge of the camp to visit–both because of the cool of the place as well as to hear my Christian living message, which I hope to write down and share soon if time permits. The fact that the weather was so hot made sleeping a challenge for many people, myself included, and also made it important to keep hydrated, which has long been a challenge for me personally. The fact that the water at camp was full of sulfur and iron deposits made the water greatly unpleasant, which threatened a crisis until one of our staff was able to use his filtering equipment, which by providence he happened to have with him, to greatly improve the water allowing us to be able to drink without the foul smell and taste of bad tap water. He earned a well-deserved praise from us as well as a special award and commendation for providing clean drinking water, which is not something that can be taken for granted.
Overall, I would like to briefly say that this camp experience was an enjoyable one for me, and as long as time permits, I see no reason why this is not an activity I would not enjoy for years to come. We will see what happens in the future, though.
 See, for example: