I was blessed to spend two days at Camp Singletary which had been transformed into CandyLand! Making my way into the mess hall I could smell the cotton candy! Candy was everywhere - giant “candy” hanging from the ceilings, on the walls, jars of candy all over and desert after lunch was, of course, candy! Every kind of candy!
I first visited the elementary girl’s cabin where it was nicely decorated! Pretty lights hanging and their “carpet squares” (to wipe their feet off before getting in bed) were pretty and one said, “Good morning, gorgeous!” Decorative pillows on the beds and cute pillow cases. The cabins are judged for cleanliness and their cabin was ready.
I heard loud music from a cabin and Chase and Conner invited me in to the boys cabin. A little less “homey” than the girls cabin. After talking with the counselors, camp is very simple for the boys. No need to bathe - you swim in the lake. Life is too simple for the clean cabin award - they make a mess and don’t worry about it. On the last day they clean up!
MAC stands for “met at camp” and consists of one high schooler or middle schooler and one elementary student or sometimes one more camper. Everyday there is time to do MAC things together (Lunch, Swim, Dinner, Party). I saw the older kids helping the younger kids get their food and bonding. Instead of being intimidated by the older kids they are becoming friends with them! After dinner each night, the MACs go to vespers, a time of worship and prayer together, on the lake pier.
Each group has “Bible” with an age appropriate lesson. Their singing is led by cool young counselors and, of course, Pastor Tim! One special thing, to me, is how our kids interact with Pastor Tim. They know they have a pastor, not just a pastor for their parents. I think this makes our youth feel special.
I worked in the kitchen part of the time and let me tell you - that is a well oiled machine! Several of the team could run it on their own (and have) but we have all of those gifts and knowledge in one kitchen! And it works! In my opinion that is the hardest and hottest job!
There are many other parts of camp like crafts, Bingo and singing with the nearby rehab center, senior night, Jesus-in-Action awards, etc.
Some of our camp servants came here as kids. Some were here the first year of Pine Valley’s Summer Camp in 1988. They love getting to know different ages! I heard “tradition” many times. This is their tradition so they keep coming! Some of the servants take a week of their vacation to come to camp. They know the importance of camp. In 1 Corinthians 12, the church is compared to a human body. Just as our bodies are made of many parts serving specific functions, the church is made up of people with different skills and abilities. Some in college, some just married, some are parents, some are working, some are retired, some are grandparents. But there is one thing in common for them to come serve in this heat! They are on fire for Jesus. Burning up for Jesus!
After being with IGNITE and seeing the spiritual side last week, I wondered what the big thing would be about camp. One difference was what were tear-stained notes last week were sweat-stained notes this week! As I sat back to pause and reflect I quickly realized - fellowship! You do not go to Camp Singletary for the luxurious accommodations, crystal clear water, and great air conditioning. You go for the fellowship. You take home more friendships of all ages, more memories, and more Bible knowledge! Most importantly you take home God’s love!
Our kids were “unplugged” for this God-filled week, just enjoying God’s creation! I believe Jesus was smiling down on Lake Singletary, watching His children have fun while learning Good News! He listened as the whole camp sang praises to Him! “Sweet Camp Singletary, where skies are blue. Sweet Camp Singletary, Lord we lift our praise to you!” to the tune of “Sweet Home Alabama.” Jesus watched all ages laugh and play in the lake - a way to cool off in the heat! I believe He enjoyed painting gorgeous sunsets behind the cross, as our backdrop, for Vespers each night. He saw new friendships being made - many for a lifetime - friendships that help us grow spiritually. He witnessed encouragement! Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Psalm 145:4, “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts” I believe God looked at these servants and said, “well done, good and faithful servant!” Everyone comes back from camp exhausted but with a renewed spirit! Many have moved out of their comfort zones and God has increased their faith by revealing their new potential. New potential that benefits them and our church - all for the glory of God!
“Sweet camp Singletary! Lord, we lift our praise to you!”