Thursday at Mini Camp

June 19, 2014

This morning our Bible teacher Joyce helped us to consider what life was like for Jesus as a boy in Nazareth. What was the same? What was different? To help us imagine we saw pictures from a place called Nazareth Village that showed us what Jesus’ kitchen and Synagogue school and Joseph’s carpentry shop might have looked like.

Tonight as a part of the gathering we heard stories of “insiders” and “outsiders” and brainstormed ways to rethink the rules in a way that helps to invite in the outsiders like Jesus did with Levi the tax collector in Luke 5:27-32. As an example, we watched a video clip of a football team who did a pretty amazing thing for one of their team mates. Take a look at the video below.

It was another great day of camp here at Laurelville and we’re looking forward to more games, hikes, crafts, and worship tomorrow! Parents, we’ll see you at 5 pm for our closing worship!

Mini Camp Makes a Splash at Polar Bear Swim

June 20, 2014

It’s 7:15 am and what’s happening at Laurelville? Mini Campers are streaming toward the pool getting ready for a Laurelville tradition–the Polar Bear Swim. We line up along the rim of the pool–a little shivery, a little nervous about the cold splash–and we sing: 

“It’s summertime at Laurelville, it’s 30 degrees below.

The polar bears go swimming, because they love it so. 

They get up very early. They grab their suits and run. 

We ask them why they do it. They say to have some fun. 


Then we’re in and loving it, just like the polar bears. Now we’re awake and ready for the last day of Mini Camp. We’ll be back at the pool soon for pool games, then it’s on to another cabin faithful time with our brother/sister cabins where we’ll enjoy creek hikes, Sunset Hill, and the craft shop. 

Welcome, Explorers!

June 22, 2014

Today we welcomed 46 enthusiastic Explorers (ages 8-10) to Laurelville. We started off with cabin groups introducing themself through very spirited chants and some other helpful get-to-know-you games. Later, during the gathering our Bible teacher Patty helped us look at a variety of names and symbols that help us to remember and understand the person and character of Jesus as we explored our theme Step-by-Step: Walking with Jesus. We closed the Gathering with our camp theme song written by counselors John and Sam.

Then the games began! Sharks and Minnows and Freeze tag were popular picks of the evening. My goodness can those campers run! By Evening Song the campers were tired but super excited for Polar Bear swim in the morning. Think of us as we’re jumping in the pool at 7:15 am tomorrow morning. It’s a great way to start the day 🙂

Monday at Explorers

June 24, 2014

Today was AWESOME! The Explorers woke up bright and early for the Polar Bear swim and ended the day with banana boats. Everything in between was groovy. We played capture-the-flag, putt-put, basketball, and carpetball. We went on creek hikes and played in the pool A LOT. During our Bible times we learned about how Jesus was the people’s expected one and about what Jesus was like as a kid. With the first full day under our belts, we expect that the week will get even better from here.

Action-Packed Tuesday

June 25, 2014

Explorers camp was action-packed on Tuesday! The regular activities of swimming, worship, games, and crafts kept the campers busy. Tuesday was an extra special day because of the carnival. After supper Explorers had tons of fun with face painting, water balloon toss, digging for worms, “sumo” wrestling, and bobbing for apples. Probably the most fun part of the carnival was our “live jukebox” where counselors John and Sam sang live songs from behind a curtain whenever a camper requested one. Frozen songs were especially popular. During the worship times, the Bible teacher Patty taught us that following Jesus means including and spending time with outsiders.

Navigators Olympics

July 1, 2014

Monday night was one for the record books. It was the Laurelville Olympics at Navigators and it was an action-packed night. Cabins came streaming to dinner in team-themed apparel representing their countries. The Royal Rainbows, Baseltopia, and Ukraine were among those proudly represented with flags flying high.

(insert Olympic theme music here… “daaa, daa, dada da da da, da dadadadadadaadadadada….”)

The events of the evening were the running relay, standing long jump, balloon pop, frisbee discus, water balloon toss followed by the first-ever team dance routine (outstanding!) and the counselor ice cream surprise event. We welcomed a panel of world-renound judges to rate the dance routine and ice cream-topping performances.

The festivities ended with the officially wet-and-wild closing ceremonies–an epic water battle! It was quite a night! After drying off and sharing in the Gathering together, all the Olympians enjoyed the tastiness of warm and gooey banana boats. Then off to bed to rest up for another amazing day at Laurelville.

Welcome, Seekers!

July 7, 2014

Last night we welcomed 26 Seekers, ages 12-14. It may be a smaller sized group, but that doesn’t mean less fun or excitement. From the start we found our place, identifying what our role would be if stranded on a desert island with our cabin. There were the standard hunters, gatherers, and fire builders, but also the specialized coconut handler, animal runner (running them off a cliff), entertainer, and resident “Gilligan.” It might be good we have the luxuries of our cabins and dining hall this week.

After some name games, ultimate frisbee, and “cuckoo kickball” we gathered for worship with our Bible teacher, Amy Yoder McGloughlin. We started the week by working with our cabin groups to creatively share two things that we know about Jesus. Through body sculptures and symbols from nature, groups showed us that Jesus heals, that he died on the cross, that he loves everybody no matter what, that he draws together diversity, and much more. Throughout the week we’ll dive further into some of these attributes through stories told in the book of Luke.

After some refreshing popcicles, a classic game of “5 Puck” it, and some some bat/moth sleuthing, we circled up for evening song. This year our evening song is “Jesus be the center” (page 31 in Sing the Story). 

Jesus, be the center,

be my source, be my light Jesus.

Be the fire in my heart,

be the wind in these sails,

be the reason that I live, Jesus, Jesus. 

In the midst of all the fun and games, this is our prayer–that Jesus will be the center of each day.

The Spark: Luke 2:22-40 and 2:41-52

July 8, 2014

So we don’t know a lot about Jesus’ childhood, but we do have two pretty awesome stories that follow the news of his arrival here on earth. On Monday we explored these two stories in Luke 2. The first was of Jesus being presented in the temple and being recognized by Simeon and Anna as the one they’d been waiting for. Amy described this as them seeing “the spark,” as we had experienced in a game of “electricity” as we looked to see where the spark might be in the circle. Simeon and Anna saw it in the baby. We were challenged to consider places where maybe we’ve felt that spark in our own lives, asking what it is that we are waiting for? And beyond that, what is it that God is waiting for us to do?

At the evening gathering, we continued on this theme, asking how God calls us. Here are a few ways that we identified feeling called by God–how God calls us:

  • through our talents/what we’re good at
  • through other people’s affirmations or what they point out in us
  • through scripture and prayer
  • through our experiences and opportunities that arise
  • feeling God’s love and the call to share it

We then spent some time with the story of Jesus in the temple. His parents couldn’t understand why he had done what he did, but something drew Jesus to that place–he seemed to have felt the “spark” of what his purpose was on earth. We spent some time sharing stories about how we’ve felt called by God and how we’ve received that call and positioned ourselves to grow into that purpose. Like Jesus, we are each called to something, and while it can be a lifetime journey to figure that out, we can follow step-by-step in the way of Jesus, watching and feeling for that spark and responding when we feel it.

6-Word Sentences with Navigators

July 8, 2014

Like all of the campers this summer, last week’s Navigators explored the life of Jesus in the book of Luke, taking to heart his call to follow step by step. Rose challenged us to summarize, in only 6 words, what we learned from our Bible study. Here are some of the sentences we came up with:

Jesus is light in my heart

God carries me the whole way

Jesus does the cha cha slide

Jesus said ‘follow me’. I did.

Jesus has beard on his face.

Jesus loves me more than anyone.

Our love lights up the world.

God loves and it never fails.

Jesus will always make life better.

We can share God’s GOOD NEWS.

Go out and proclaim God’s kingdom.

Jesus walks with us.  We rejoice!

I will walk with Jesus today.

Anoint others. Be anointed. Cross dividers.

Jesus sent and gave people power.

Jesus loves healing friends and me.

Everyone can share the good news.

Jesus watches us. We are sheep.

Take it step by step always.

Jesus leads my life. I follow.

Called.  Follow. Stumble. Forgiveness. Empowered. Follow.

Sow the seed. God will grow.

Jesus loves us as we are.

Jesus gave me a new song.

He knows me better than I.

Jesus’ love for me is unconditional.

Walking with Jesus requires love, faith.

Jesus is the Son of God.

Love. Heal them. Preach the Word.

We all walk together with Jesus.

Seekers on Sunset Hill

July 10, 2014

Last night was a beautiful night to be on Sunset Hill. Low 70’s, just a few scattered clouds, a beautiful waxing gibbous moon, light breeze, and campers who have been rained out of going to Sunset far too many times. It all made for a great night.

Sunset Hill in a nutshell: walk-a-mile, worship, games (rock-paper-scissors sorts, bunkbeds, and ride that pony), s’mores, singing, and sleeping under the stars.

Seeker Talent

July 11, 2014

Last night was the 563rd annual Laurelville Talent Show (or something like that) and there was a lot of talent to go around. Cabin groups, individual acts, and even video submissions filled the evening after a game of human foosball. Acts included some classics like counselor immitations, campers getting ready, tell us about your first roller coaster ride, ear cleaning, and somebody gets wet skits. There were also card tricks, violin and flute performances, and a ballad about a cornfield.

We look forward to seeing what talents emerge for next year.