Gess went to her first overnight camp this year. It was a lot of fun. I went as her sponsor and got to stay in the cabin with her and accompanied her to all of her activities. She did really well fitting in with her peers, but there are still some areas in which she lacks the independence to do on her own. Over all though, I think she had a great experience. This was only a one night camp, which was a perfect way to start.
After registering and getting settled in our cabin we began our day at camp by meeting at the flagpole. Each day they stand silently as they raise the American and Christian flags. Once they are up they say the pledge of allegiance to the American flag, the Christian flag and the Holy Bible. Then we were off to the tabernacle for our first service.
Our speaker was a man who starts Spanish speaking churches in our area and also travels the world sharing the gospel using a soccer ball. The ball was made of various colors which makes it appealing to the children. However, each color represents a piece of the gospel message. This is a way to share the gospel with the lost and give children who are saved an easy way to share it with their friends. I plan on purchasing a ball for Gess to keep so she can remember this very important message. I found them on sale by Energia Products (which is Spanish for "power"). They are a division of Childrens Evangelistic Ministries which have used this ball to spread the gospel in over 115 different countries. You can visit their site to learn what each of the colors mean.
After the service we had some recreation time. Each activity was focused on re-enforcing the theme of children around the world. We played games from China like "rock, paper and scissors" but in Chinese instead of English as well as their version of musical chairs. We made Chinese lanterns and various flags during crafts. Gess wanted to paint her entire base red, so we chose to make the flag of Denmark which is mostly red anyway. By adding a couple of white stripes her red thing turned into a flag!
They also learned to sing Jesus Loves the Little Children and other songs in Spanish and had a Mexican Fiesta with a pinata and everything. The kids munched on candy all the way home!
There was also the water slide, which was the part the children looked forward to the most. Gess was all prepared to be brave and do it when they got one of the teenage workers to go down it really fast. Seeing him zoom down that fast freaked her out and she decided not to go. However, another one of the youth workers came to her rescue and took her down on his lap. Actually we had more than one worker offer to take her, but he was already wet so he got the honor.
She handled the cafeteria fairly well and ate with all her friends. The food was good too! She also sat on the pew in the tabernacle with her peers and there were only a couple of times I had to get on to her. She seemed to listen well, or at least sit still and be respectful while they were talking. The music of course is always fun for her.
All the kids played well together. During free time she seemed to perfer to hang out with the boys and play some basketball. They were gracious and she seemed to have a ball (pun intended of course).
They also had a miniature golf course that she loved and did pretty good at from time to time. She even had a couple of holes in one, and then there other times I think her par was like 20! She had fun which is all that matters.
Then of course there was a camp fire upon which we roasted marshmallows to make some Smores. They really hit the spot after such a long day. Gess also handled lights out in the cabin just fine, or at least as much of any of the kids did. They were all pretty tired but resisted putting an end such a fun and exciting day.
Next year she will again go to the one night camp. I can't wait to see how much better she does. If she were better about boundaries I would feel better about sending her alone, but then again, I enjoyed being a sponsor to all 3 of our girls and I wouldn't want to miss the fun too!