Fun Times at Family Camp!

By Amanda Brown

As I see it, there are two ways to experience Family Camp: as a kid, or as a parent. 

Family Camp for kids:

1. Fun!
2. Teeter-tottering all day!
3. Cookies before bed! Wahoo!
4. More fun!
5. Music!
6. Campfire!
7. Afternoons at the beach!
8. Staying up late! Way past bedtime!
9. More cookies!
10. Unlimited pop at the juice bar! Wheeeeeee!

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Family Camp for Parents of Kids:

1. Fun! Wedging 14 duffel bags into your minivan! Don’t forget the stroller. And the playpen. And the highchair. Oh, and the baby. And her three sisters.
2. Watching your kids bash their faces open on the teeter-totters. Twice. In an hour.
3. Cookies before bed! Sugar rush for angry toddlers when it’s already past their bedtime: what could possibly go wrong?!
4. More fun! The baby screamed all night long! And the beds are made of crushed dreams, I think. My achin’ back!
5. Music! Singing old school camp songs brings back great memories. And also makes you realize that you have aged. A lot.
6. Campfire! Wahoo! Oh wait, where are the kids? Honey? Have you seen them? No? I thought YOU were watching them? I NEVER GET A BREAK!!
7. Afternoons at the beach! This part really is swell. Everyone loves it.
8. Staying up late! The kids reach a new level of fatigue yet somehow rally and manage to refuse to fall asleep until midnight, then get up three times in the night to go poop in the communal bathroom, have a bad dream, and then finally wet the bed in a final act of exhausted defiance.
9. More cookies! May as well eat again. It’s been an hour since our last meal!
10. Unlimited pop at the juice bar! See above mention of bed-wetting. Awesome.

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Lest you think I’m a disgruntled, pessimistic parent, let me assure you: I jest. Family Camp is wonderful and we look forward to it every year. I grew up going to church retreats like this and adore the memories I made then, and I know our girls are doing the same. It’s just so different on the other side of it: being the grown-up in the picture instead of the kid.

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When we go to Family Camp, I am reminded of the fact that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, a community of believers from all walks of life who have something to share with each other. I love having the time to sit and chat and with new friends and catch up with old ones, too.

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Sunday mornings can be so rushed, so harried, as we chase after our wild children, so the opportunity to just get dirty, forget to brush our teeth (c’mon, it wasn’t just me, right?) and sing some silly songs together, helps us connect on a deeper level, and I love it. It’s a time to refocus for the new year, to be challenged and reminded of what we believe about God, and take a step back from the busyness of life to just be in fellowship with others.

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Good times. See you next year!

Photo Credit: Erna Schram (Thanks Erna!)

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