The line stretched out across the lawn. We waited to get my daughter checked in to her brand new church camp. Kids from middle school age through high school milled around. Many stood in groups, obviously friends, laughing and giggling and discussing cabins.
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Erin didn’t know anyone. She spent the time in line part of the time looking around wide-eyed and the rest of the time with her head bowed and her lips slightly moving. I’m pretty sure she was praying – whether it was for God (or me) to get her out of there or for the strength to make it through, I’m not sure.
Fortunately, check-in went smoothly. Plus, she learned her cabin counselor was our wonderful friend from home. Whew! For her first time at a new and much bigger camp, what a relief to know she’d be with someone she knows and loves.
Even still, after hugging her goodbye and getting back to my van, I had to sit and shed a couple of tears at the thought of leaving her. I wonder if that will ever end. Probably not. Oh well.
She was prepared for the week, though. At least, I hope so! I feel we covered the most important things. What do you think?
- We took gallon ziplock bags, labeled them with the day, and then added her complete outfit for that day. By doing this, we saved the clutter of scattered and mixed clothing and made it easier for her to get ready each morning. We also put her toothbrush, etc. in a baggie and had an extra baggie with two extra shirts ‘just in case’.
- I stuffed two large trash bags in a side pocket of her suitcase – one for dirty clothes and one for wet towels and swimsuits. I’ve made the mistake of not providing a wet item bag before and boy, did her dirty clothes bag stink!
- I let her pick out a box of stationery. She took it, stamps, and addresses so that she could write letters to family and friends. In addition, I pre-mailed a letter to her before camp started and also mailed another the first day of camp to ensure they both got to her before the end. I’ve missed that deadline before and she came home thinking I’d never written her. I learned from that experience.
- We double, triple, quadruple checked she packed her bible, a notebook, and several pens. Sure, swimming and foosball and ping pong are fun, but who wants to be the kid who forgets her bible for church camp?! Not my daughter (I hope). Fortunately, I know she didn’t!
- We prayed together every night during the week leading up to camp.
Dear Heavenly Father, Meet Erin in all places where she comes to know you. Fill her with the Holy Spirit and teach her who she is in Christ. Keep her safe. Give her confidence, peace, compassion, and an unending knowledge of you. Help her this week be all that you desire her to be. In your precious name. Amen.
I continued praying this prayer each night she was gone.
So, we may have missed something, but I know we prepared the most important things we could think of. Now, I’m going to go pray some more. It’s either that or worry about her, and I choose prayer!
Love in Him,
What are your best tips for preparing your kids for church camp? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.