It has been part of my life for over six years. It started in 2006 which feels like just yesterday. I was a nervous sophomore in college, unsure of what it would entail. My sister and I drove together from the plains of Oklahoma through the Ozark hills, reassuring one another that it was going to be alright. “We will be fine”. Secretly, we hoped that the other person actually believed it because truthfully…neither of us really did. We pulled in to the gates and I had to hug her goodbye, reluctantly releasing my safety blanket. My sidekick. Desperately praying in the car, I drove myself the rest of the way to my kamp (yes, I meant to spell that with a K) hoping that it would turn out ok. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out ok. No, it turned out wonderful. Life-changing. Monumental. Pivotal. Special. Invaluable.
My six summers at this camp, four in college and two on full-time staff, were sweet years that I cannot put a value on. I believe that all of life is a process in making us who we are to be but I also believe some serve a greater purpose to that end. Those years and that place are more precious to me that I can express so I won’t even try. Moving to Texas nine months ago and leaving the Ozarks in the rear view was without a doubt what was next in my life. I believe that wholeheartedly and refuse to look back. However, one thing will always be true. Deep in the Ozarks, tucked away in the hills, there is a little kamp on Taneycomo Lake that will always feel like home. The colors are red, blue and yellow. The houses are log cabins, marked by years of kids who wanted to leave their legacy, just hoping to be remembered. The entertainment is void of iPods, Wiis, Angry Birds and Halo, replaced with bows and arrows, canoes, and slip n’ slides. The fashion trend is mis-matched and make-up less with the coolest kids wearing crazy costumes that make no sense and at the same time make perfect sense. The forecast is somewhat unpredictable except generally mornings are crisp and the evenings are thick with humidity. The relationships built are life-long, even though so little of your life is actually spent together. You’d never know that though as those few weeks/months seem to carry more weight than years anywhere else. You see in this little world, the stage is one of pure and simple joy. Laughter is the soundtrack. Smiles are the wardrobe. Children and staff are the actors. But above all, growth is the story.
It’s a place where faith is cultivated. Wounds can be mended. Fears are overcome. Comfort zones are left behind. Leaps are taken. And lives are changed. Lives like mine.
I am so very grateful for that place in the hills and so I’m especially grateful that I get to spend two weeks there taking care of some of my favorite kiddos. I’ll be kid-sitting for a camp family these next two weeks and I am pumped! Thankful for a job that has some flexibility of schedule! I’ll still be working (wedding this weekend in Lubbock!) and updating the blog but it will just be intermittent with some cute little ones and crazy stories of summer camp! Here’s to places that make us take leaps of faith and conquer our fears!