Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Good-bye Front Porch, Hello Camp!

By: L.A. Kohl
May 25, 2005

I’m writing this at the end of May...just as our homeschool year is drawing to a close, and our hectic month of June is looming before me. Nate and I are in charge a Christian youth camp, and this year that looks like living at the camp for two weeks in June. And the two weeks prior to that will be a “whirlwind” of final preparations.

Why do I bother telling you that? Because it means my “front porch” will have to be vacated for awhile. There are seasons in life like that. Times when I feel like I don’t have a spare moment to sit down and think about anything...much less write something worth reading. So, when you don’t hear any views from me, you’ll know why.

Do I regret my over-committed, busy, all work and no play (or pay) month? Well, as a stay-at-home mom, I’m used to the “no pay," so that’s a non-issue! But there are lots of “costs” to myself, my husband and our family because of what we’ve chosen to do. However, those of you who have been involved in any type of volunteer work know that the rewards almost always out-weigh the difficulties.

There’s the “cost” of lost time and income. With Nate being self-employed, any time he spends on camp is time lost earning money for our family. But wow – it’s amazing how the past few years that we’ve been involved in this, there always seems to be LOTS of business work for him to do in April and May, which pays for our month of June. That’s just a “God-thing” that we couldn’t work out if we wanted to.

There’s the “cost” of lots of stress and lost sleep as I try to figure out what kids should go in what cabins. What cabin leader should work with what age of kids? What will the final schedule look like? What will we do with the dozen extra kids that invariably show up at the last minute? How many cases of soda and candy do I buy for snacks? What kind of decorations do I buy, and how much money can I justify spending on such “non-essentials”? On and on I could go, but you get the picture.

But all that is off-set once camp finally begins. I get to hear kids exclaim how “cool” some of those decorations are. I finally get everyone situated in a cabin, and most of them are happy with their placements. I get to see kids eagerly line-up for the much appreciated afternoon “snack shack” visit. And most of all, I get to know some of the individual kids that come to camp.

There are too many of them to get to know them all personally – but that smile and hug you get from a few of the girls that you have in a class, or sit by in chapel...those kinds of things are priceless. To see a youth’s face glowing with excitement and awe over a new skill they’ve just mastered, or over a new spiritual decision they’ve just made – that beats any pay-check or personal free time we could have had.
So, off I go, as camp registrations are flooding the mail-box and cabin assignments are looming before me. Who knows, maybe I’ll come back with some great insights from my camping front porch! I have learned this much: life may not be simple, but it is rich.

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