The summer camping season is coming to an end today. The last camper is only moments away from departing camp grounds for his trip back home. The staff, those that are still here, are working hard to clean everything so that our next user group can move in later today! As Camp Lebanon is moving out Camp Fatima, a camp for youth with special needs, is moving in. We are moving to our farewell dinner together as Camp Fatima is moving to their opening day together. This summer brought with it many frustrations and many rewards; which is the normal summer routine. Our attendance was down this year after having gone up last year. Yet, our campers making first time commitments to Jesus Christ was up! We had almost seventy young people go forward at a commitment service or share with their counselor later that they wanted to give their lives to Christ. During Latino Camp eight young people asked their pastors to baptize them when they got back to their churches.
Summer staff was quite interesting too! This was a year with a very high turnover ratio with very few returning staff. The high turnover brought with it some problems and some rewards as well. This staff has chosen a theme name for themselves and the entire summer as "The Year of the Newbies!" Overall the staff was very good. The summer of 2013 saw one of my "older" and more mature counseling crews. The maturity level brought with it more spoken blessings at meal times. Normal meal times are filled with a silly song as a blessing, this year even the campers were praying out loud for the meal!
Our last meal together will be in a few short hours as we share our victories, stories and laughter. Some staff will be looking to next year while other will be looking to see what comes next. Some have a clear path ahead while others are facing some uncertainties. No matter what we are facing ahead of us, it is clear to me that we have shared in a good work as we talked about our faith and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with each and every camper, staffer and friend that came to this very special place called Camp Lebanon.
My prayer for you is that your hearts will be stirred to come and see for yourselves and get involved as we go forward to what God is calling us to.