Grateful for Camp

grateful, castle bluff, fall color, ozark valley, autumn, kids camp, middle school camp in arkansas

I am so grateful for a wonderful weekend at Castle Bluff with our middle school students from church.  It’s been a couple of years since I made it to one of Taido’s camps so I had enough distance that I was able to wonder afresh at the experience.

middles school camp, arkansas, grateful

Lots of treasures on my Grateful List today:

sweet gal riding shotgun with me to and from camp: Hannah!

silly gals driving to castle bluff, grateful

all six Chinos getting to go this time: Taido speaking, me leading a small group, Cole serving on work crew, MP and Ben as campers, and Simon tagging along.  We were never all together, but it still made me happy to know we were all there.

Simon’s enthusiasm about being at camp, riding in and even driving the mule, “helping” in the sound booth and watching the madness all weekend

castle bluff, fall camp, grateful

so many new faces

seeing the face of someone from years ago in the eyes of their child

the sacrifice of time and energy by so many who could spend their weekend differently

older students serving younger students

castle bluff, grateful

new songs

and old songs

a room full of pure crazy, going bananas

going bananas, kids, kids at camp, grateful, crazy kids at middle school camp, castle bluff

girls learning in the tiniest of ways to extend mercy and grace to one another

trail marked with grace, castle bluff, forest hike, fall camp, autumn camp, grateful for grace

a hike on an old, familiar trail

an old cross

fall color popping up everywhere

fall color, castle bluff, middle school camp, grateful, autumn

misty mornings

castle bluff, foggy ozark valley grateful

a new building rising from the Ozark dirt and clay and the hope of more and more people having the chance to get away

rappelling deck at castle bluff, grateful, adventure in arkansas

catching up with folks I am usually just passing on Sundays

a wise fellow leader

the squeals of kids on the zip line for the millionth time or for the first

rappelling deck at castle bluff, grateful, middle school camp, arkansas

watching kids let go of fear and step backwards off the rappelling deck

rappelling off a deck at castle bluff, grateful

Ben’s face after he rappelled off the new deck for the first time

kids who have been to camp before sharing their favorite spots and moments with kids who were there for the first time

castle bluff collage, middles school camp, fun times, hammocks

late night giggles in rooms packed with girls

hammocks strung between bunks, between tree trunks and from rafters

7th grade drama making me so happy that I never have to go back to middle school, and at the same time reminding me to pray more diligently for students who are facing a battle every day

gorgeous, sun-drenched drive home on curvy roads and through dreamy autumn forests

drive through the ozarks, dirt road, castle bluff, camp

a pot of soup welcoming my family and me at home

castle bluff, grateful, dining hall, camp

Our camp Mama, Rhonda Bentley, who spent her 50th birthday with 100 middle school students.  Her big heart for seeing this ministry done is mirrored in so many other sweet souls.  She pulls them all together with her clipboard and spreadsheets, but the serving, cooking, playing, singing, washing, belaying, teaching, leading, praying, driving and working that happens in one of these crazy weekends is the body of Christ in action.  I love getting to see it in action!

50th birthday at castle bluff, camp, grateful

I brought a few leaves home with me and when I opened my Bible yesterday morning and saw them I said a prayer of thanks for all these blessings and more prayers of hope for the threads that kids will trace back to this experience as they count their own blessings years from now.

bible and fall leaves, bible and coffee, castle bluff, grateful

instagram creds: @hannahowens12, @nhill13, @lillyroxursox, @charlieallen24, @michellelfoster, @alisonchino

1 Comment

  1. Made me cry to read this. So grateful for all the years this camp has been used for the Kingdom of God.

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