The View from the door of the Hideous' tent.
We're all back home from the church youth camp, absolutely exhausted, but having had a brilliant few days. I went out there with Boris, Norris and Doris last Wednesday, Mrs Hideous joined us on Thursday and we were all there together until tea-time Sunday. If I ever take things such as my own comfortable bed, or the pleasure of a hot-shower, for granted - then the youth camp is a corrective! The exhaustion doesn't seem to actually hit while at camp - the busyness, the adrenalin, the jobs needing to be done and the constant barrage of energy from the young people numbs the system - so that tiredness hits like a tidal wave upon returning home.
The church has been running the youth camp now for so many years in a 'field' a mile or so up a track from Forgandenny, that we have an established pattern for the camp. Every year there's the usual heady concoction of serious stuff, sports, games, competitions, and lunacy weaved in and out of the normal rituals of setting-up and clearing away meals.
As in previous years the camp had a theme which linked together the evening talks, the morning discussions and the competitions. This year the theme was 'sacrifice', looking both at the sacrifices required in being a disciple of Jesus, but ultimately looking at various aspects of the death of Jesus on the cross - the 'ultimate sacrifice', made for us. Between Ian, Jillian, John, Vicky, Alison, and Garry - we had some great teaching, and profound discussion around the themes. Some of the young people talked very movingly about their lives and their faith, while others said how much camp meant to them - as a place of refuge from the hostility they experience for being Christians at school etc.
As usual we were all divided into teams for games, sports, crafts and other creative competitions. Somewhat embarrassingly, each team was also required to perform a team chant/dance. Somewhat even slightly more embarrassingly these were all filmed! Somewhat even more embarrassingly than that - our team was called Baboon! which had more than a little influence on our routine.
The camp-concert this year was one of the best for years - one of the comic impressions by one of the young people of one of the adult leaders was so side-splittingly brilliant and so funny - that the whole marquee was in uproar. Good, good times!
Camp is a special place for so many of us. The atmosphere of co-operative generosity, sporting competativeness, jovial cheekiness, reverent humility when appropriate balanced by complete silliness at other times, of hard-work, and of around 50 people living together around a little community of tents is just unique. It's a also special as it is an event through which so many people have been spiritually blessed over the years. So many campers (and leaders alike) talk about how camp has renewed their faith, or for some was even the place where they came to put their faith in Jesus Christ in the first place.
Camp leaves me utterly drained, and completely exhausted. That's mostly because I am quite unable to get adequate sleep under canvass. Every ruffle of the tent, every 'moo' or 'baa' from outside, every rain-drop on the tent roof, every uncomfortable wriggle trying to get comfortable on the ground, I wake up! One night I barely managed three hours sleep in total. Nevertheless, it is a very contented, happy and worthwhile tiredness!