by Shawn Leonard, NWYM Board of Christian Education clerk
For many, the camps of NWYM leave a lasting impression and I am no exception. There I am, riding in a van/bus with other kids on our way to camp. We are all very excited and can hardly contain ourselves. Something happens inside my stomach as we round Garibaldi Bay getting ever closer to camp. Our driver, Bill Ellis, was never harsh to us even though he could tell we were getting more and more excited and probably a lot louder. We would yell out, “look, there’s the G on the side of the mountain!” The big smoke stack would pass by and the next thing you know we are at camp, finally. One of the most memorable years was when my dad was the camp pastor. I don’t exactly remember if it was Junior High Jamboree, MidWinter, or Surfside, but I was so proud and felt so special. I was exploding inside wanting to tell everyone, “That’s my dad, the camp pastor.” Somehow I kept my composure and didn’t explode.
My dad is a bit of a nut…no, not a nut, more like a clown. One year, Harry Selby and my dad where at the same camp (what were the camp directors thinking? J). They ran around together acting goofy, talking silly, and making funny faces. The details are a bit fuzzy, but somehow Harry came out on the losing end with the kids and one of his legs got shaved clean. Yep, a leg did get shaved. It’s all probably for the better, because I believe shaving half a mustache was in the works also. My dad, well, we think he was in a play (we’re praying he was in a play) and showed up wearing a pink tu-tu in the dining hall up front at the microphone ready to pray before the meal. He prayed and instantly dove and slid across the top of a table on his stomach, somersaulting onto the floor, then standing up goofy style proclaiming “ta-dah!” The whole place erupted in chaotic laughter and bewilderment. What a joy! Does anyone remember?
I am so thankful for camp. There are many people throughout the yearly meeting who I first met at camp. I have a friend I met at Family Camp over 35 years ago; we have been the best of friends ever since. The blessings that have come through the camps are innumerable; I hope and pray it is the same for you.