Here's my Top 5 from camp, in no particular order:
1. Bus rides
One of the parts of camp I felt a little uneasy about heading into it was getting to know new people. I've never been one to really start up conversations with people I don't know. I'm kind of an introvert.
On top of that, we were forced to sit with people we didn't know on the bus ride to camp.
It turns out I had nothing to worry about. All the students and leaders were incredibly willing to get to know new people. There were plenty of games played with the intention of learning more about the people around you.
It was about a 6-hour ride (including three stops) and by the time we got to camp, I already knew about 20 new names. The ride home was just as good. I rode on the freshman bus most of the way home and it was a great time.
Time Alone With God is a key component of Student Ministries here at NMC. And at camp it is a point of emphasis. Each day we spent time by ourselves getting to know our Heavenly Father. Saturday morning we spent about two and a half hours working our way through several different stations designed to help us connect with God in unique and creative ways.
My TAWG was very powerful and enlightening. I was led to many key verses and even memorized a verse - something I haven't done for a very long time. I also was given some clear direction for how I should spend my time at camp and with the five guys in my cottage.
3. I WANT IT!
Celebration Time was what we called our gatherings. These times included worship, sharing and messages from leaders.
The theme of the camp was Brace Yourself, but another major phrase that emerged from camp was, "I WANT IT!"
Brace Yourself comes from Job 38:3 when God questions Job. If you're not familiar with Job's story, it goes like this:
Job was a righteous man who was also blessed with a large family and many possessions. God allowed Satan to test Job by killing his family and taking away all his possessions. When Job praised God despite all this, God allowed Satan to strike Job's body with painful sores. Even then, Job did not sin.
Derry used Job's story to lead us into the question, "How bad do you want it?" Job lost everything, including his own health, and still gave God his praise. He must have wanted it pretty bad.
As a response to God's call on our lives, Derry encouraged us to walk out to the bluff overlooking Lake Erie and let God know how bad we want it. Hearing students and leaders alike scream, "I WANT IT!" at the top of their lungs was a moving event.
4. Cedar Point
Obviously, Cedar Point is a fun place and something you'll always remember. We were told a number of times, however, that the best way to spend a day at Cedar Point is with a large group - 20 or more people.
I was skeptical, but I quickly learned the truth of that statement. The first group I spent time with was 37 people. Getting to know the people in your group is really fun. Playing games and singing makes the wait in line go so much faster. Then when you actually get on the ride, it is so much fun to be on the ride with a bunch of people you know.
I went on Wicked Twister, Max Air, the Mine Ride, Magnum (twice), Raptor, Blue Streak, Sky Ride, Gemini and Millennium Force. The only rides I really wanted to go on but couldn't were the Dragster and Maverick.
Several times throughout the first two days of camp I hear the term, "All-Star Group" being thrown about in reference to the group of leaders. I surely didn't feel like an All-Star, especially since this was my first experience with the students at NMC. But I quickly figured out why the leaders were earning such high praise.
This group was a high-impact, high-energy and high-quality gathering of adults who were ready to invest in the lives of students. They brought fun, enthusiasm, laughter and spiritual leadership to the table. I am so blessed to have been part of this group. I learned a lot about leading in the five days I was away at camp.
Here's the list of leaders I am talking about:
Geoff Cocanower, Kory Lantz, Kyle Lantz, Scott Cline, Adam Hochstetler, Derry Prenkert, Josh Lutz, Jeff Simpson, Kenny McIntyre, Matt Schoettle, Will Cramer, Dustin Gill, Annie Cline, Alison Gingrich, Cindi Lantz, Janelle Lambert, Janelle Prenkert, Stacey Seitz, Jen Szohr, Tiffany Christensen, Alyssa Walter, Peggy Bearss, Katie Weiss, Kristy Mikel, Brenda Sittler, Janet Stone, Jess Noelle, Dustin Gill, Brad Bullock, Chad Loucks and Terry & Kelly Bley.
There's probably one more post about camp coming, so stay tuned.