Sunday, June 1, 2008

A PLACE APART
Summer camp experiences fueled my imagination and formed my faith

Sleeping bag rolled up and tied
Suitcase neatly packed by mom
Ball glove and bat in hand
I board the bus for camp

As familiar friends we sing
And make jokes along the way
Winding into the high country
For a week at Summersville Camp

Soon unfamiliar faces and names
Assigned to the same dorm room
Become friendly acquaintances
Ready to take the camp by storm

The week flies by in a whirl of action
Mornings in groups and crafts
Afternoons on the field or in the woods
Evenings in services with music and preaching

Early morning assemblies at the flag
Dining hall lines and trays of camp mush
Junk food from the Snack Shack
Flirting with girls from other places

The green canopy and cool dampness of
The woods on a hot day compels me
And my afternoon walks there both
Frighten and entice me.

Occasionally I see salamanders crawl and
A snake slither down the steep ravine
And who knows what it was that just
Bounded for cover through the leaves

A path leads to a mountain stream
Running swiftly with whirlpools
Forming around outcropping rocks
An inviting but foreboding flow

Somehow amid the various activities
A child’s heart is enlivened
New challenges are attempted
And a soul is being formed

Camp is a place apart from
Liberty Street and the ordinary
Games and friends and routine
Of summer on the city block.

It hallows a place in my heart
And a vision in my mind
A place to which I return
In my thoughts year after year.


CAN YOU HELP SEND A KID TO CAMP? I know of a handful of urban neighborhood kids who'd like to spend a week at Wabash Park Camp in Clay City, Indiana, but can't afford the $150. If you'd like to help them, drop me an e-mail. I'll let you know where to send your tax-deductible scholarship.

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