By Sam Stucky

Time flies at Laurelville!  Tomorrow is already our last full day, AND our last Thursday of summer camp :(.   But that is not stopping us from living up the rest of our week with our Seekers.  Since Monday night, we’ve had a SECOND polar bear swim, but this time in the waterfall.  Needless to say, it was more polar.  We also built over twenty new physics-defying rock towers in Jacob’s Creek.  EVERYbody loves a good rock tower.  Other activities included more Gaga Ball, hiking, mini golf, tennis, and a new one called Gatorball.  In Gatorball, you attempt to knock bigger, balancing, balls off of your opposing team’s cups.  We ended Tuesday night playing Persecution, in which campers run around to various “churches” getting signatures and learning a little bit about some Anabaptist martyrs all the while trying to avoid being tagged by the persecutors.  Only a few campers got all nine signatures.

But besides all of the running, sweating, and laughing, we’ve also been doing a lot of serious learning during the Gathering times.  Bible teachers Derek and Becky have had us acting out how we can help modern day people in need with more than just a handout.  One scenario we worked on was a bully teasing an individual.  The campers were asked to add or replace characters in order to help the person in need.  But it wasn’t just comforting the person or confronting the bully.  The Good Samaritan “bandaged wounds AND poured on oil and wine AND took him to an inn AND paid for any extra expense.”  So we spent some time thinking of reasonable responses that went beyond the “right thing to do.”

Meanwhile, in our delving deeper into the Samaritan story, we thought a little more about how God is always calling on “unqualified” individuals and is ALWAYS welcoming outsiders.  For instance, the man who brought Israel out of Egypt was a stutterer and Jesus’ own disciples were boring old fishers and evil tax collectors!  And one example of Jesus’ welcoming is his calling all of the children to come to him.  The Bible is loaded with examples of this “upside-down” thinking.  We then spent some time journaling about why it is that we avoid the outsiders in our life.  These kids have been doing awesome with the depth of Derek and Becky’s teaching.

Tonight, we will be heading far off the beaten path to Sunset Hill to sleep out!  I don’t want to jinx it, but this is the first summer that I’ve been on staff here in which we’ve slept out every week.  Congrats 2017!

Tomorrow, we are hoping to be able to give our Seekers a taste of MUD, depending on the dryness of our mud pit (and give our Program Director Katie Cline a taste of the duck pond.  Happy Birthday, Katie and Sanderson!).

Like I said, we aren’t letting the ever-nearing end date bum us out or slow us down.