This is a guest post by on of our summer staff, “Thunder Showers”.

It has been an exciting start to camp for the 2012 summer! Week 1 was probably the most eventful first week of camp that I have seen in the four years that I have been working at camp. As we opened the gate for Week 1, there were nerves paired with excitement in all of us – which resulted in an ecstatic staff! [Opening day is one of my favorite days of camp simply because we get to jump in the gauntlet and display a small picture of the rejoicing and welcoming that will take place in heaven when we arrive at home.] After all of the cars came through, we all went and changed out of our sweaty opening day attire and then into theme night clothes! The campers were pumped as they all piled into the Ponderosa for the first night. JIGGS made his grand entrance as commando boss and then started off Leftover Olympics in his patriotic cape of an American Flag. Then on Monday we had our first Lumberjacks and Jill’s theme night and we decked out the Ponderosa with sawdust, flannel, and most importantly: syrup. There was never a dull moment as each camper entered the Ponderosa for dinner with their fake beards, flannel, and overalls. Between the sawdust for Lumberjacks and Jills and the hay for the Lonestar Stampede, our dining hall has a permanent outdoors smell – and I don’t hate it one bit. Our first Wednesday night dance of the summer can only be described in one word: EPIC. You would think that a torrential down-pour and a power-outage would cancel activities for the night and put a damper on everyone’s spirits. Clearly those minor set-backs were not going to get in the way of our fearless leader and program director Bat Awesome, because he found a way to throw the most epic dance that I have ever been a part of here at the Pine Cove Ranch.  There was one point where I stood back and looked at the entire camp rocking out to the Cotton Eye Joe and my only response was, “wow, I get paid to be a part of this.”

Our Base Camps team arrived back to camp on Saturday, safe and sound, after their first trip EVER as a Ranch Base Camps team! It was so cool to welcome them back home after a long week of serving in Austin, Texas. They had some really fun stories that were a joy to listen to. Slice Cream Sandwich stated in his Base Camps update: “I have loved my time at The Austin Stone and seeing how excited the kids get when they show up in the morning and how much they love our staff with only having been with us for 7 hours a day. We are at 3 days down, 2 to go; that equals 14 hours total with the kids. Those of you on-site get over twice as much from your time until Saturday. One thing I want to instill in counselors as they go on Base Camps is urgency and not wasting time that we cannot afford. The counselors have been going hard and seeking to make sure that in every moment Christ is reflected through them.” What a cool privilege it is to see camp in a completely different setting but still have the same mission as those who are still here on-site. We are blessed.

It is now Wednesday of Week 2 and we are enjoying every bit of it. Even though it is the second week of camp, it is the first session of our Rooted program and it is off to a great start! They are learning a lot about serving, trusting, and identity. I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for them. It is very encouraging to know that we won’t have to say goodbye to them on Saturday, but that we get an additional week of fun times, learning moments, and great conversations. As I see them learning each day, I am reminded even more of how significant an extra week with these campers can be. Bless the Lord for that!

We miss each and every one of y’all who are not here. We can’t wait to work along-side y’all as we serve whole-heartedly for the gospel. In 2 Corinthians 5 it states that “the love of Christ compels us,” and our prayer is just that. We ask for your prayers as we continue to serve here at Pine Cove and that our minds and our hearts will be unified as the body of Christ. We are also praying for y’all as y’all too are being the hands and feet of Jesus each day. Enjoy each day and know that we are looking forward to seeing y’all very soon!