Monday, September 12, 2011


Every year I go to this weird cult thing called "camp" where I have gone since I was seven and where parents everywhere love to ship their children off for a week away from home so they can wonder what it would have been like if they never went down that road (Parenthood Rd). My parents shipped me off to a camp called Camp Imadene as a child and I will ship my future children off to camp in a generational cycle of party-time-for-parents. Little do the parents know that CAMP IS THE BEST THING EVER! Actually, I think they probably do know, but that's beside the point, I believe the children have won by subterfuge. As a child I looked forward to camp throughout the entire year. It was the quintessence of summer to me. One thing I do miss though is the Crow's Nest, a high tower with a big flotation ball on the bottom and a basket-like nest on top, maybe twenty feet up, that sat in the lake. You'd climb up into the nest and rock it back and forth until it touched the water and swung like a pendulum to the other side. It freaked the heck out of me, but it was worth it. And then it sunk. I think it may still be at the bottom of the lake and kind of hope it is because I have an unrealistic dream to resurrect it.

I love the safari cutouts because I never get
to see them with the older camps.
Just to get one thing straight, if there was a fight to the death between all the camps in all the universes, the camp that would beat them all would be Camp Imadene. It is the best place on earth, and I am one of the lucky few who have discovered the secret. Therefore I cannot divulge its whereabouts. But I can tell you that Mesachie Lake is the most beautiful lake in the world and that when it comes to camps, smaller is usually better, regardless of whether other camps have cooler stuff. Imadene could consist of a straw hut and a row-boat and it would still be the best camp ever. Call me biased.... because I am. The crazy thing is that Imadene now owns the mountain across the lake as well as the property on the other side of the road (they're trying their hand at world domination...). But it isn't that, and it isn't the canoeing, climbing wall, repelling, wakeboarding, tubing or BMX track, it's the entire camp atmosphere. You walk onto that camp and you feel love, pure and simple. And I can tell you why - before entering the camp grounds two old wooden signs sway in the wind, one says, "Camp Imadene," the other says, "Bible Camp." That's why. Because Camp Imadene is a Bible Camp.

A WHAT?! I mean if you are going to call a camp anything to try and coax children into going to it, a Bible camp probably isn't it. But though this may be hard to believe, the Bible is actually awesome. Why? Because God is awesome and so is His son Jesus. But the title "Camp Imadene: Jesus Camp" is kind of no longer available because that now means something more than just a camp that's all about Jesus. It means what I said in the beginning, a weird cult thing where they make little kids cry a lot. Why would you want to make little kids cry? So staying away from the name "Jesus Camp," if I were to suggest a name change for Camp Imadene: Bible Camp to something that more accurately embodies what it is, it would be, "Camp Imadene: Bible Camp of Awesomeness, because Jesus and God are Awesome, P.S. Jesus Loves You."

Realistic picture of camp's name change.
Requirements: 5 old wooden signs
I wish I could go up for the whole summer, but I think I would get fired, so instead I usually go up for the last camp of the summer, Senior Coed. Despite what you might think, Senior Coed is not a camp for senior citizens. If it was I don't think I would go. You see, as much as I love children, I stay away from the junior camps because of things like bed wetting. And as much as I love old people... The age for Senior is the perfect age group, 16-18, which means some of the campers have already been staff for younger aged camps in the summer and could probably do a better job of cabin leading than I can, but it also means that the campers are more like young adults. Whereas at other camps it's crucial to keep to the schedule, at Senior if you want to miss your activity to have a shower we like to encourage our campers not to smell and with an activity name like "Beach Lounging," it will likely go on smoothly without them. This year I was banned from the BMX track because of my heroic fall the day before going to camp (see the P.S. at the bottom of that post). And instead of taking the swim test with my campers I had to cheer them on from the sidelines, secretly reveling in the fact that I didn't have to do the swim test with my campers. That was really just a segue (apparently "segway" is not how you spell that) to tell this funny story: the first thing I did when I fell off my bike was call my mom to come pick me up. On the way home I told my mom how a woman had stopped when she saw my bike splayed across the pavement and me sitting in a corner crying and bleeding as I waited for my ride. She told me she once fell off her bike and broke her sternum, which made me feel better because other than some war wounds nothing was wrong with me. But when I was telling my mom in the car I said she broke her scrotum, and my mom's like, "Ouch! Wait, don't only guys have that?" Then we both realized what I had said and burst out laughing. So when I went in to work later that day and showed off my war wounds, I told my boss and coworkers about the lady who had stopped to talk to me and in my head I was saying, Don't say scrotum, don't say scrotum. So instead I said she broke her cervix. Such is my life.

Regardless of how old the campers are, camp is one of the best ways to build kids up when so many of them are constantly getting knocked down. Imadene, at least, is a place where they can feel totally comfortable to be themselves, to ask questions and grow as a person and figure out what they believe, separate from their parents. It's where I learned I could lift up my hands and dance around for God and not have to feel like an idiot even though I might look like one, where I learned I could sing my heart out despite how terrible it might sound, where I was reminded again and again that God really does love me. And when I started cabin leading, camp is where I learned that I was actually capable of doing things for God, no matter how inadequate I felt (I usually walk around feeling like a twelve-year-old playing grown-up time) because there I was, doing it, and fooling my campers into thinking I wasn't actually 12 inside despite the fact that I regularly get mistaken for one of them. I try to combat that by being extra wise and mature and saying things like, "Jesus was a revolutionary," and trying to command respect with my eyes which usually just ends up looking intensely creepy.

I may or may not have added the
rainbows coming out of His head.
But everyone who has gone to camp knows what I mean when I talk about the "after camp blues." You go to this amazing camp and learn about this amazing Jesus and meet all these amazing people and then you go home to what feels like your sucky little life in comparison, at school or work, or worse, both, and be with people half of whom don't even like Jesus (how could you not like Jesus? He's Jesus. Just look at Him). And you're supposed to go out and tell people what you believe and just pour love on them until they say, "What the heck is wrong with you?" and you answer, "Jesus is wrong with me," though you worry it may just be you. (IMPORTANT NOTE: if your incessant hugging and complimenting is starting to make people uncomfortable, that's a good signifier that it's not Jesus that's wrong with you. You've just gone too far.) But it's not that easy. All you want to do is stay in that comfort bubble of love forever, maybe buy a Winnebago and park in the back forty, and then every summer the campers will wonder who that weirdo is who lives in a Winnebago and tries to give them high-fives and play the Tower game. But no, that's not a thing. Camp is for a short, wonderful time and then it's over, and you do your best in the real world during the year, and then if you're lucky, you get to go back to camp and take a bubble break with some bubble tea. So take heart! There's always next year.

I've just had a revelation: Camp Imadene should invest in some bubble tea. 


  1. Camp is so great, and yes I know how the after camp blues are :(
    But hey next year is only a year away

  2. Great post, Faith! I am at work, trying to pretend I'm working, and I just about lost it all and laughed out loud when I read your caption on the Rainbow Jesus picture. Great thoughts on Imadene, too. Really makes me miss it even more.

  3. Thanks Luke! I miss you at camp! Maybe next year???