Today’s Word from Deacon Amy…
Last weekend I took a group of elementary students to Camp Lutherwood in Bellingham. I cannot tell you how good it felt to load the van with kids and head out of town. It has been two years since I’ve driven a van full of Trinity kids anywhere. It was a wonderful feeling, to be going back to camp!
This weekend, especially, held deep meaning for me. The first time I took a group of students to an Elementary Retreat at Camp Lutherwood was 11 years ago. My daughter, Ava, was in kindergarten then. I took her, along with 5 other kids from the congregation I was serving in Everett. We had a great weekend – and the retreat became a tradition. Since then, I have returned every year (except the past two years) with a van full of kids. It is one of my favorite weekends each year.
When we arrived at camp this weekend, one of the young adult staff members walked up to me with a big grin and said, “Hi, Amy!” It didn’t take me half a second to recognize him. Swiffer (his camp counselor name) was one of the students in that very first group that I took to Camp Lutherwood 11 years ago. He was in third grade then. Now, he’s working at Lutherwood. What a joy to see him, all grown up, leading younger kids at camp. I felt so blessed to watch him shine all weekend. This is what I call a youth ministry full circle. How cool.
This year’s group of students from Trinity consisted of six boys and girls who have been connected to our congregation in various ways. Some are regular attenders, some come to VBS every summer, and some join us on occasion. A few of these kids have been watching their older siblings attend this retreat, and waiting anxiously for their turn to arrive. They were giddy with the opportunity to finally get to go to camp!
Our time at Lutherwood was fantastic. We experienced chapel sessions, sang songs, heard Bible stories, watched funny skits, played games, paddled kayaks, and sent arrows flying from our bows. We ate s’mores, we slept (a little bit) in cabins with kids from other churches. We made new friends. And we heard about God’s love for us.
While I was there, I met a mom from another church who was at camp with her child. She asked me which kid from our group was mine. When I explained that my girls are too old for the Elementary Retreats now, she told me that it was nice of me to still come with the other kids. I laughed, part of me thinking, “well, it is my job,” and the other part thinking, “how lucky am I?” I mean, really, how lucky am I that my job is to take kids to camp?
As we were preparing to leave, I asked one of the girls from our group if she’d had a good weekend. “This was the best weekend ever!” she quickly replied. I told her that I was glad she’d had fun. She looked up at me very earnestly and said, “No. This was seriously the BEST. WEEKEND. OF. MY. LIFE.” How lucky am I that I get to be a part of her best weekend ever?
And, really, it was one of my best weekends ever, too!