Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Camp Life -or- Hypocrite much?

I have returned from Camp much tanner and sleepy! I was actually home yesterday afternoon but in attempting to update my blog I found myself staring half dazed at the computer screen and realized that I'd be better off relaxing!

I had a great time at Camp with my kids. From Friday to Sun afternoon I was there with my 3rd graders most of whom were at camp for the first time ever. They were wonderful and had a great time! We went swimming and played 4 square and Mighty Mighty Scoop Noodle Challenge! Mighty Mighty is this particular camp's variation of Capture the Flag which involves the attempted retrevial of a wide variety of items: footballs, water noodles, frisbees etc. The first team that gets all the items to their side wins. It is amazingly fun (even though I'm not that good at it...I can't outrun sprinting 3rd graders most of the time!).

I got a camp song fix of course and campfire fix too. All in all it was a great time. I stuck around til lunchtime on Monday because my 4-6 graders came up for week long camp. When I left they were having a great time so far. I imagine that will continue. It is camp afterall!

While I was there I met some other church staff who'd come up with their kids as well. We occasionally met for meals or lulls in the action and naturally discussed our programs and successes and struggles. Like all people tend to do when they have a similar job but different circumstances. It is always enlightening to see how other church's operate and such.

One such woman I met was in the same roll as I am: Children's Ministry Director. She was up for the weekend and staying the whole week long with her kids. She and I had several chats about the ministry things and I learned a lot about the programs she was running and the success that she'd had in her position. She reminded me a lot of a Martha Stewart type...a little too organized for my taste, but I readily acknowledge that that is not my forte. She described all her ministries in such glowing terms that it seemed that she'd never had any challenges with volunteers, troubled kids, or indeed things going wrong in any way. I know that this probably is not the case but she did seem to be implying it. I don't grudge that things are doing well for her, if her children's ministry is thriving so much the better.

What does bug me was her attempts to one up me in all things. When I described something we were doing or that had worked for us she would jump in and explain why that wouldn't work for her congregation and that her way was much better. Fine, whatever. Some people are like that. I'll do what is best for me and my church thanks.

What was especially interesting though was our last chat on Monday morning. We were killing time before Chapel began after breakfast. She'd brought her laptop up and was transcribing some notes onto it, working. We started having a conversation about how more church staff don't come up to camp and support their kids, and agreed that it was a shame that they couldn't get away or didn't want to come. That it was a blessing to be able to interact with the kids and get to know them better, etc. I agreed, and felt a bit guilty for not being able to stay longer.

Chapel began a few minutes later and I left her to go in and worship with my kids. After a while I noticed that she'd remained in the other room working on her laptop. I was there interacting with my kids and she was doing her work instead. And I thought back to the weekend and realized that when I was playing Mighty Mighty or swimming or singing at campfire with my kids she was sitting in the background, sometimes taking pictures but otherwise just passively watching. I felt a bit better realizing that for all her self proclaimed "perfection" I was the one participating with my kids. What is the point of coming to camp and sitting on the sidelines doing your work? (Oh and did I mention that she was staying at a hotel in town rather then at camp? And this camp cannot be considered roughing it at all!)

So I'm back at the office today, thinking it would be nice to be able to be back at camp with my kids, but glad that at least for the time I could spare the time to be fully there. I hope it makes a difference.

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