A few weeks ago my Facebook page had a lot of people saying how much fun they had a church camp. It reminded me of my experience with church camp when I was about 10. I might have mentioned it before, I can’t remember what it was I’ve said about it, and also I’m too lazy to go look.
Short story. I hated it. I never went back and never, ever had the desire to do so again, but I do have some things that I have never forgotten about it.
I went with my cousin, who was a year or so younger than me. She went to church camp every year and seemed to love it, I was going for the first time. I remember going with my mom to get all the stuff I would need and that was a bit exciting because who doesn’t love travel sized stuff? It’s so cute, but that was where cute began and ended where camp was concerned for me.
So, we get to camp and it’s hot, because hello!, this is Oklahoma in the Summer, and it’s always hot and humid. We get to our cabin and get our bunks. I was on the top bunk. We had to bring our own fan to clip onto our bunk, because, once again it was HOT and we didn’t have an air conditioner anywhere that I remember. I’m arranging my stuff and I happen to pull back the bed sheets where I find several SPIDERS in my bed. Thus my paranoia about spiders commenced and still remains today. Anytime I’m in someplace new I always check for spiders in my bed. Every night I lay awake, sweating and worrying about spiders, while most of my bunk mates snored.
I’m not sure how far into my stay at camp the next incident occurred but it has stayed with me since that day. A mental picture that I can play just like it happened yesterday. We were leaving our cabin one morning to meet with our counselor to go do whatever it was we were going to do that day. There, on the ground, by our front steps is a little critter. It was probably a mole, it was about that size and it was just sitting there. If you’ve ever seen a mole they tend to just sit instead of running away. I’ve since seen them do it in my own backyard. They just sit there, not moving, probably afraid. We were all looking at it and talking about it wondering just what it was, when up bounces our counselors. A guy and a girl, though I could be mistaken because it was an all girls camp and why would they have a teenage guy at an all girls camp? I still think it was a guy. He sees us looking at the critter and picks up a big rock, probably 5 pounds or more. He holds the rock about chest height and drops it on the mole, crushing it. He then picks up the rock to see his handy work. I remember red blood and a splattered mess and feeling horrified. I still feel ill thinking about it. Then the counselor walks away, wanting us to follow, like it was no big deal.
I had a really hard time understanding this. I thought about it a lot the rest of my time there and I wondered why on earth God would have allowed that guy to torture one of His creatures. It upset me and worried me and I wanted to go home, but I stayed for the rest of the week. No one else seemed to be worried about what happen, though maybe they were as upset as I was.
Each night we would go to church or revival or whatever you want to call it. Basically, we would be preached at about how sinful we can be and how we can be forgiven and be in God’s good graces and go to Heaven someday and how wonderful that would be. There would always be a call to the altar and the chance to say the sinners prayer. Which of course I said, because I didn’t want to be left out of this going to Heaven thing.
At the end of the week I was exhausted and ready to go home. I came away knowing one thing for sure though. I was never, ever going back to church camp.
I think going to camp could be fun, but I didn’t feel like I fit in. I was not comfortable and I didn’t really feel like anyone really cared about me there. I was just one of the kids they shuffled through the machine, that was church camp.