The one where we go to camp

Kel and I went to summer camp this week, more specifically we spent two days at Timber Wolf Lake, a Young Life Camp in Northern Michigan.

If you haven’t been to summer camp for a while, then I suggest it’s something you fix… and quickly.

I know… at first it doesn’t sound like much fun.  We’re just so grown up! (too grown up?)  After all, do we really want to spend our time on High Ropes courses and being bounced off blobs with alarming altitude and speed?

And aren’t the mattresses crappy?  And let’s just talk about the food, what if they don’t accommodate our grown up tastes?

I hear you on all this.  I do… and in spite of it all I say: “Go Anyway, you need it.”  

You need to remember and revisit a thousand things you’ve forgotten.

Like I said last week, I cry all the time now, and sometimes at the most obscure and inopportune times.  My time at camp proved no exception, if anything it got more ridiculous.  Seriously, no doubt Young Life is something God wants me to be doing, so many weird tears.

At all camps, but especially at Young Life Camps, there is a tangible energy and excitement in the air.  For me, it was the most poignant when the students enter the room for dinner or for club: dancing, clapping and hollering up a storm.

Excited to be there, excited about life… just crazy excited.


YL Pic

Our first night at camp as the kids danced and clapped their way into the dining hall I lost it because you guys… do you even remember high school?

Do you remember how many times a day you asked yourself if you were okay?  If you looked okay?  If the thing you were doing was cool or weird or about to create a viral new trend?

How many times a day you wondered if you were going to fit in or say the right thing?

Do you remember how hard and pinching it all was and how awkward you felt?  How you wondered if you were ever going to be free of the questioning: “Am I enough? Good enough, smart enough fast enough?”

That’s why I cried, because in all that high school energy was this basic question and I think it’s the question so many of our nation’s kids are asking.

“Am I okay? Am I enough?” 

Guys I wanted to hug every one of them, especially the girls, in this spastic, crazy old lady sort of way.

Yes! You’re okay and you’re enough!  More than enough!

Isn’t it funny how when we got out of high school we learned that there really never were cool kids or jocks or in-crowds?

We ALL thought, deep down, that we were the biggest misfit in the room and that in a matter of seconds, someone was going to figure it out and we would be screwed. 

This is why I believe in Young Life – because it’s an organization that tells kids. “You’re okay, it’s going to be more than okay and here’s why… There’s this God that’s crazy about you and created you just the way you are.”

Remember how it really is that basic?  I didn’t… I’d forgotten in the  midst of all my grown up stuff.

I needed to go to camp to be reminded of this AND to be reminded that I’m called to do something about this.

I want to be a part of being Jesus to kids who don’t know that his love is the thing that makes it all okay. 

A part of an organization where grown-ups tell kids about Jesus with their hands and their time more than with their words.

I believe in students, in every generation.  When people say that they don’t have faith in the next generation I get angry, I want to ask them “What are you doing about that?  What are you willing to give or give up to invest in them? Because those are people’s kids, our kids, God’s kids.”

Because if you won’t hang out, mentor or go to basketball games then I perhaps you should reserve your judgement on this generation.

Or at least lend your ears for a while to the leaders who spend their days investing in the generation you so easily discard with your words.

Because I love these kids, so does God, and he could do that a lot better if more of us grown-ups would be willing to be Jesus to a kid.  To just go and give.

If you go to camp, if you hang out with kids, if you bring them Jesus or even just give to the cause it will change lives, yours included.

If you’re interested in changing lives through supporting Young Life or even getting involved, email me at leannerae (at) gmail (dot) com