Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Woodleaf 2008

I finally have time to sit down and write about my amazing week at Woodleaf (a Young Life camp). Since our days started before 8 a.m. and ended after midnight each night, I didn’t have time to write in my journal while at camp. I decided I’d better get it down on "paper" before I forget.
First of all, I love Woodleaf! I love everything about the camp! What really blessed me was that everything that happens at Woodleaf is intentional. From the muddy games to the evening speaker, it all has a purpose: to introduce teen-agers to Jesus Christ. I have so many stories to tell, but I will focus on a few really neat things that happened.

My favorite part of Woodleaf was seeing one teen girl in my cabin literally transform in one week’s time! She was already a believer, but almost every word that came out of her mouth prior to camp was full of sarcasm. She would rarely let her guard down long enough to be real with her leaders or her peers. Day by day she became more real, starting with cabin time--a time when our eight girls and three leaders gathered to share thoughts regarding what was said by the speaker. She was quiet at first, but she found–as all the girls did–a safe place in cabin time to share her struggles. By the end of the week, when I met with her for one-on-one time, she was open and honest, with not even a hint of sarcasm in her speech! She asked me to be her mentor (which blew me away!) and so we will meet together this summer. God showed me–once again–that He can move mountains.

We took a group of eight girls to camp (there were also five guys). Six of the girls were Christians. One of them was challenged to "step up" her role in Young Life and be a leader. Another girl said she wanted to be a missionary some day, but she wanted to start right now by inviting her friends in Ojai to Young Life. By the end of the week, the other two girls who were not believers placed their faith in Jesus Christ and one of them was baptized in the Lake the last morning of camp. This baptism was not planned and is not part of the program at Woodleaf, but this girl really wanted to be baptized and so we got up early on the last day of camp and she was baptized in the lake, surrounded only by her cabin-mates. I wish I would have been there to see it, but I was on my way to the Sacramento Airport to pick up Pastor Ryan C. Now that’s another wild and crazy story.

Our head leader for the teen guys and our bus driver, Pastor Ryan, left behind his very-pregnant wife, Rachel, to drive the shuttle bus to camp, with the stipulation that he would drive or fly home at the first sign of Rachel’s labor. Late Wednesday morning, during our leader meeting, Ryan received a call from Rachel and a flurry of activity took place, from purchasing a plane ticket to deciding how he would get to the airport. Since Woodleaf was very under-staffed that week and I was one of the only "approved Young Life drivers" from Ojai, I volunteered to drive Pastor Ryan to the airport in one of the camp trucks. We arrived just in time for Pastor Ryan to board his flight. He arrived in Ojai that evening and Rachel had their baby boy the following morning (Eli Allen, 7 #s, 7 oz.). Ryan turned around the next morning and boarded another plane back to Sacramento so he could drive us home (he was the only leader with a Class B licence to drive the bus). So, Friday morning I once again drove 90 minutes to pick up Pastor Ryan. It was another fun adventure to add to my awesome week.

While I’m on the subject of fun, every day of the week our cabin participated in a faith-building, team-strengthening adventure. We ran through a muddy obstacle course, rock-climbed, completed a ropes course, went mountain biking, rode on this high-altitude swing and–my favorite–drove a Ridgerunner (sand-rail) by ourselves around a muddy track. We also got to dress up in a different costume every day (Woodleaf is the camp of themes). We were ‘70s workout buffs, super heroes, football players and–my favorite–‘80s rockers. Danielle and I were members of the band, KISS. Oh, and there was this one night when the girls had to make their leaders look crazy with makeup and hairstyles. The most fun evening for me was the ‘80s rocker night. It included dinner, an "opera" and an old-fashioned carnival where the girls earned tickets and "bought" me a seat in the dunk tank. It was a cold night for me, but in the end everyone got wet as the conga line ended up in the swimming pool! Imagine a hundred teen-agers dressed as ‘80 rockers jumping in a swimming pool at midnight. Yeah, it doesn’t get any more fun than that!

Danielle and I as KISS band members!

The muddy obstacle course

The Ropes Course


Rebecca said...

SO cool!! And Ryan and Rachel have a new one!! That was an awesome week. :)

Kari said...

sound like an amazing week :)

try2bAsunbeam said...

Sounds like you had a blast! A little too much action for me, but glad you enjoyed yourself. PTL about the 2 girls!

frisky said...

Soooo cooooool!!!

ATSmith said...

Great blog Christine. Thanks for the recap. Sounds like an amazing trip!