Last weekend I got on the CDC bus with 30 kids from the area and three other adults and we went to an overnight camp called Kicking Bear. I don't think any of us knew what we were getting in to. Turns out the camp was basically an archery and shooting range. There were no cabins, which most of the kids were expecting, but there were some people there from other places that were prepared for our arrival and had extra tents that they generously set up for us to use.
Friday was rainy, but it cleared up in time to have a fire and marshmallow fight. 10,000 marshmallows. It did grate against my conscience to throw away so many marshmallows, but it was super fun.
When everyone in the camp was heading to bed and the boys weren't ready to sleep Josh (one of the teens who became a de facto leader because he ended up being the only one his age) came to the rescue. He said, "Alright boys, who wants to go bear hunting!" So we took the excited and scared boys into the woods in the middle of the night. For city kids, it was really a crazy and frightening experience to be in the woods in the dark. We came back to the fire, roasted some leftover marshmallows, and prayed together. It was beautiful.
Saturday they sent us out into the woods to shoot arrows from compound bows at fake animals. It was really pretty super, and they made sure we were very safe. It was great to watch the kids get into archery, and I really enjoyed it myself. I definitely improved my skill with a bow throughout the few hours we were practicing.
At the end they had a raffle, and one of the boys from our group won a ticket for a free brand new bow that's worth about $400. I think he's going to get the money instead of a bow. But how cool is that? Especially since we didn't pay anything for the camp. One of the guys (Steve) who brings his own family to the camp knows Tony, the children's director at CDC, and Steve straight up paid for all of us.
Ray Howell also shared his story with us about his conversion to Christianity and the beginning of Kicking Bear. Cool stuff. You can read a short bio if you're interested.
I think my favorite part of the weekend was getting to spend a bunch of time with Josh. He was one of the teen staff for day camp, so I worked with him all summer. And he just decided to follow Jesus this summer, too. So I'm hoping to be something of a mentor figure in his life, which is both scary and exciting. It's been so awesome to see the way God is transforming his heart and life.