Saturday, July 26, 2014

Term 7, 2014, Buttercup....Awkward...Where is Sarah?

Every year at Camp Barnabas I look forward to Term 7 because it is full of incredible people and experiences that cannot be made any other time of the year. It's not that it's BETTER than the other Terms that I serve out at Camp Barnabas, it's just incredibly different due to the make-up of the campers. Term 7 we serve individuals age 7-15 with Down Syndrome, Autism, and Developmental Delays. This Summer I served during Terms 1 and 5 as well, but they were INCREDIBLY different than the term I just served. I can't say I have a favorite term at this point, as they are all so different, but I can say that there were some highlights that I want to share from Term 7, just as I did from Terms 1 and 5.

I absolutely LOVE how God takes a group of people that don't even know each other and by the end of the week we all have such a shared experience that you have made new friends for life. On our first night, camper card night, all the volunteers are quiet and nervous to share their thoughts and feelings. By the end of the week, no one is shy. I LOVE THAT! *grin*

Our CIA's were AMAZING! I can't just single one out, because everyone jumped in and did their best. We had three campers that were strong in persistence, and the CIA's swapped campers from time to time. I thought that was sweet! They also kept an eye on each other and when one camper (or two) would get up and run, they would help each other out. It was AMAZING! If I had had more time, I would have given each one a handwritten note saying how AMAZING they were, but it was Term 7 and time was so busy with campers. *grin*

Then the campers, wow, our cabin was the most unique one that I believe we have ever had. Of course, I was with Ronni (She's now 13!) again, and that was full of LAUGHTER and fun. *grin* Ronni would call us Pork Chop, and I called her Buttercup. She brought lots of laughter and love to the cabin. On day #4 the cabin ate breakfast at the Council Ring, and Ronni wound up dancing with a boy. Of course, it was Camp Barnabas Appropriate (CBA), and it was sweet. *grin* We attempted Excursion at one point, and I didn't see Ronni. In a moment of panic, I said, "Where's Ronni?" Her CIA said, "Over talking to the boys." Sure enough, I looked over and she was sitting in a lawn chair talking to the boys. I laughed and said, "What was I thinking? I know she likes boys." Every time she would start to wander away, one boy would bring her back to the area we were at. (Still CBA, she never left the area, just started to) Yes, I keep an eye on all of our girls. *grin* Ronni was REALLY good this week, and remains at the top of my favorite camper list, although the list is growing of favorites. She's just at the TOP. *giggle* She loved it when I called her Buttercup, and I will admit, I loved having a new nickname for her! *grin*

I spent a fair amount of time with the girls at the playground. It started to be a favorite time of day for me. I was blessed to have Hopie in my cabin again. Hopie was in my cabin last year, and made me smile tons. She built my character in the beginning at times, but after we figured things out, she was a complete JOY. She would swing and sing, and it made me smile! We would often say, "Sing it, Hopie!" She LOVED it! When we were at the park or walking somewhere, her word was, "Awkward." I don't know that she fully understood the full meaning of the word, but it sure was cute! It became a word, like Buttercup was for Ronni.

This post wouldn't be complete without mentioning Anna. Anna was one of our campers, who had been in my cabin last year too. On camper card night, I saw her name but didn't put together that it was Anna from last year. When I first walked in the cabin after camper arrival, she saw me and put up her finger showing me to come over to her. I went over, and we hugged. It was SO GOOD to see her. Throughout the week, we spent a lot of time together, and she really grew on me as the week went on. She would move to sit by me from time to time, and I would just grin. She liked everyone, but it was still cool when she would come over to me. She was the main reason we were at the playground every night. We didn't attend even one party at night because Anna requested the playground each night, so her CIA and I would go to the playground with her. Hopie and her CIA sometimes came too. It was precious.

Anna had connected last year with a Barnstormer (14 year olds that come and serve at camp through cleaning bathrooms, serving meals, and doing dishes.) named Sarah. On camper arrival day, I saw Sarah, but hadn't been to the cabin yet, so I didn't realize it was THE ANNA. *giggle* Not long after I first saw Anna at the cabin, she said, "Where is Sarah?" I explained that I had seen her, and that she would probably be at dinner that night. Well, as it turned out, Sarah wasn't at dinner, so we did the playground, and went to wrap-up. At wrap-up, I found her, and I think Anna was thrilled. Sometimes Anna doesn't show emotion when some of us would. *grin* Well, after that, she would consistently ask "Where is Sarah?" I learned quickly (and remembered from last year) that she enjoyed the conversation from that one question. She would say it often right after she just asked me, which seemed to bother her CIA. Due to the fact I teach Special Education, I was fine with it. Sarah was AMAZING, and made a point to join us each night at the playground. I'm praying Anna and Sarah are in the same cabin next year, as Sarah was AMAZING with her and will be able to have a camper next year. I selfishly hope she's in my cabin again, as we were able to make each other laugh by the end of the week without saying a word. I LOVED IT! Everything with Anna takes time, and I felt really close to her by the end of the week. When her Dad picked her up yesterday, I was sad to see her go. I'm already praying for next year. *grin* How cool is that?

For today, I think that's all I want to share. In the future I plan to post about Excursion, the pool with Lilly, and Lice. YES, LICE. Talk about one unforgettable week. I already can't wait for Term 7, 2015!


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