By Rev. Monica Lewis, Minister to Children, Students and Families

Just a few short months ago, I wrote a column for this very newsletter about Christian Community Camp. I wrote about taking my daughter and the way I initially pictured camp—being on vacation with 100 of your closest co-workers; about seeing people eating breakfast in their pajamas who you typically only see on Sunday mornings. Anyone who has ever been on a mission trip or traveled with new friends from church knows that there’s a special kind of bond that occurs when you’ve seen someone’s bed head.

Patty Love mentioned to me that she sat behind my daughter in our outdoor worship this past Sunday. Patty asked Ellie Kate if she was ready for Community Camp. Ellie Kate’s reply was, “Yeah! I’m already packed.” And she was. An entire week early. Part of that is because this mama will be wearing my mom and pastor hat at the same time during camp. But most of the reason is that we’re both eager to spend the week out there!

When Patty told me about this short conversation with my daughter, I smiled because it was a sweet reminder of what this experience is about—connection.

Ellie Kate is connected to Patty Love because Patty spent her own time and money providing painting classes to our camp participants last year and my daughter proudly displays her mountain painting above her art desk. She’s connected to Betsy Wilson, who she first met at camp three summers ago and who spent the last year teaching Ellie Kate’s Sunday school class. Betsy can ALWAYS count on a few hugs when she sees E.K. at church. When we left the building last Sunday, Ellie Kate yelled, “See you at camp, Miss Betsy!” She’s connected to Nancy Kupzyk, who she met at camp when she was 2-years-old. Nancy also taught Ellie Kate’s 3 & 4-year-old Sunday school class.

Just this past month, when she lost 3 teeth within a week, we were reminded of her first lost tooth that happened while eating breakfast at Community Camp. When we didn’t have anything to put the tooth in, Becky Hopkins gave Ellie Kate a small bag that she had been given by her secret pal. That’s still E.K.’s Tooth Fairy bag. Each time she loses a tooth, she talks about Becky.

During communion time last Sunday, she wanted to run to the back of the sanctuary to get served by Ben and Elizabeth Crocker. E.K. calls Elizabeth, “Teenage Elizabeth.” And guess where that started?…Community Camp.

Each year, my daughter’s life is more connected. It’s sweeter. It’s richer. It’s rooted in faith-based relationships with so many people who are part of our church. For so many of these, we have Community Camp thank.

If you’re not headed to Colorado with us this year, we sure do hope you can make it June 9-16, 2018!