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