Sunday, July 25, 2010

a new view of the fire...

High school camp - what a week! It's always a high point of the summer - lots of programming, lots of energy, little sleep (who needs sleep???) ... and tons of memories!

This year's high school camp definitely lived up to it's reputation - and more. :)

I sat outside the victory circle this year during high school camp - a view I have never personally had during one of our weeks of summer camp program. I am usually down by the fire, playing guitar, swatting away mosquitoes, staring into the fire, listening to camper testimonies and reflecting on just how many folks have shared at this fire over the camp's 60+ years of ministry.

But this year was different. You see ... on Wednesday of this past week I had a meeting with one of our program staff girls. We met outside my house and after the meeting I went in to put my feet up for a few minutes. Being 37 weeks pregnant - this is a necessity every now and then.

We had a Csection scheduled for August 3rd and I was hoping/praying that the baby would not come early...during the very intense week of high school camp.

As I sat down on the couch, my boys napping, my husband working around camp - I was suddenly slammed with an intense pain in my back. The ball was officially rolling. It was just a few minutes before my husband and the camp nurse were in my house and we were on our way to the hospital.

We left camp between 3:00 - 3:30 and our precious little baby GIRL (we didn't know gender before!!!) was born at 4:39 pm. It was a whirlwind, an adventure ... not exactly what I thought I'd be doing that morning. Welcome Baby Laura Kathryn.

Things had already been put in place just in case something like this happened during a camp week - and from what I heard - my program staff rose to the occasion and things went without a hitch.

After a couple of "relaxing" days at the hospital, it came time to head back to Gilead. I was getting antsy to get back and see my boys (the 5 big brothers were pretty excited to meet their new sister!) as well as the staff and campers.

We drove into camp on Friday evening just as the dinner bell was rung and the campers crowded our Suburban hoping to get a glimpse of little baby Laura and to congratulate the new mommy and daddy. I was not expecting their excitement as we arrived home and it moved me to tears. What a reception! Then ... again ...when we got out of the car and walked to the dining hall - they cheered and welcomed us home. Tears. Again.

So -as I sat above the victory circle this year - recovering from major surgery, adjusting to life with a newborn - I marvel at God's amazing plan. For the campers to be able to see ... once again or maybe for the first time ... the gift of life in a baby. For the chance to share our life with our campers. For the work that God did in the hearts and lives of campers this week through our counselors, staff and speaker ... He definitely does not need me! It has been humbling to recognize that God even chooses to use us.

I look forward to seeing the victory circle from my usual spot again - but have been thankful for this chance to see it all ... from a new perspective.

Oh - and that sleep stuff? It's overrated. :)

Kimberly Mallory
Program Director ... wife to Josh and mommy of 5 sons...and a daughter!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

it's good to be back!

Although I've made several trips to the Victory Circle since last summer, both the physical location and this blog, this Friday marked the first trip back during a youth camp. I had almost forgotten how amazing it is to sit by the campfire and hear young people (as if I no longer qualify as a "young person" at age 23!) share how God is working in their lives. Those testimonies always seem to last for a long time, but they never get old.

It is such an encouragement to me as a staff member to hear that God has used our efforts to work in the lives of other people.

As I reflect back on what a great week we had last week, I cannot help but get excited for the coming week as well. Several campers who were in my cabin at some point last summer will be back this year. It will be great to see them again and hear how God has been working in their lives the past year.

Not only that, but we have a ton of fun stuff lined up for all the campers this week. I'm excited to see how God will use what we have planned to create lifelong memories, friendships, knowledge, and spiritual commitments in the lives of the incoming high school campers.

So - who else is ready for Monday???

Jared Hageman
Guys High School Staff Leader 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

the first day of camp...

Hey - thanks for joining me at the victory circle today...

Do you remember your first day of camp? This is not just ANY first day of camp - but the first day of camp for our staff as well!

Remember the nervousness you felt as you drove into camp wondering WHO your counselor would be?

Emotions were flying high today as junior highers arrived from all over the Pacific Northwest to embark on a week of memories, activities and potentially life changing moments.

There are about 3 times as many girls here as there are boys ... it makes for some interesting dynamics!

We are excited about our first week of camp - as staff! Even though it's not super hot - the energy is high! Campers are enjoying the outdoors, experiencing new activities and for some, learning how to play! Riflery, archery, swimming, slip n slide and mini golf are just a few of these fun choices campers have throughout the week. It is sure to be a memorable experience.

Our speaker this week is Dan Waldeck from The Master's College. Pray for him if you remember. While the speaker is not the only spiritual influence in the week - he is definitely the catalyst for many spiritual discussions. These campers come with much more than just their luggage. Pray for them as well!

We'll try to meet up here again throughout the week. No promises ... it can get pretty busy out here and it's hard to find time to sit down. We'll do our best though.

Until next time...

Kimberly Mallory
Program Director

Thursday, June 24, 2010

fun and the SUN!

The Program Staff arrived on Tuesday! I can hardly believe it - we've had 3 straight days of gorgeous blue sunny skies and heat! As I got up this morning for an early AM walk - I was greeted with the misty fog that us Carnationites enjoy so much...and signals the promise of a warm day!

"So...just what do you DO during Program Staff training?" a first year Program staff member asked early in the week.

Well...last night we enjoyed dinner at Claimjumpers Restaraunt. Later on in the evening, we played games until way too late...

Is it all just fun and games?


Each week, each day, each minute of camp is planned with fun and games in mind! Is it all just so that kids and staff can have a good time?

Definitely not!

Each event is prayerfully considered and evaluated to make sure that it matches with our goal of helping campers to understand who Jesus is and how He impacts their life personally.

For some campers it is the realization for the FIRST time that there is a God who loves them, died for their sins and wants to save them from eternity without Him! For other campers, it is the acknowledgement that they have strayed from God's Word in their daily life and a recommitment to come back to what they know is true and right. And for still other campers it is a refreshment and encouragement to continue on in the straight and narrow path of following Christ as they encourage their fellow cabinmates and their counselors and any other staff members that they encounter.

This is what we do at Program Staff Training.

Kimberly Mallory
Program Director

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Summer Dawns...

Welcome back to the Victory Circle! It's been a little damp around here BUT...


Here in the NW we haven't "really" experienced what we'd like to CALL summer...BUT - the Program Staff will arrive tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM and around here - we call that summer time!

We are super excited about what God is going to be doing this summer through our staff, speakers and campers!

Summer camp brings to mind things like mosquitoes (I think we'll have plenty this summer!), sticky candy, late nights of giggles and games, smoky campfires, Monday morning jitters, Saturday morning tears, and wild & exciting activities all day long! Remember YOUR days of summer camp? Don't you just wish you could sometimes go back and be a camper?

Some staff will arrive tomorrow - Tuesday and the rest of the staff will arrive on Saturday. They will go through a week of training, then serve our campers during Family camp and then experience their own campers July 12th.

Will you be joining us on this journey? Pray for us as you remember...

Until the next time we meet at the Victory Circle...

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director