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opportunity camp, wrap-up

This is the final night of Opportunity Camp 2010 and it has been a good week.

Our staff arrived from various parts of California, Texas, Washington, Oregon, New York, and Colorado.  I’m continually amazed at the year-after-year loyalty that Opportunity Camp inspires among our staff.  Our executive director has served 31 consecutive years; others on staff have served 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years.

Camp is also a good entry point for high school students on mission trips.  It provides them with a week outside of what they would normally experience at home — the same goal we have for our campers.  It stretches, challenges, and encourages our younger staffers.

For our campers, this week is one of ups and downs.  There is the usual tension of trying to figure out a new place, a new system, a new community.  Kids are kids and each has a certain amount of hormones mixed with issues and medications.  Not always a pretty mixture.

We had to send several kids home over the course of this week for fighting.  Not unusual but it seemed more than the last few years.  It’s sad to see  how easily these kids resort to their fists; even more so when you realize they are exercising more restraint at camp than they do at home or school.

But the vast majority of kids are the ones who soak up every minute of attention.  They are the ones who use this week to create a new persona — someone they would like to be but can’t be back home.  They take advantage of the opportunity to drop the gangster or bully pose and become a kid.  A happy, fun-loving kid.

As the primary spiritual teacher, I get asked many questions.  This week I was asked about how to forgive by a little boy who was struggling to fit in.  One young lady asked me, “Do you talk about Jesus all day long?”  What a great question!  I wish the answer had been yes, but …

I also get the chance to reconnect with old friends from the church I served in Walnut Creek, as well as fellow staffers I’ve grown to know over the years of working at camp.  These friendships fit like a comfortable glove.

This year was Opportunity Camp’s 41st year.  There is a reason God has kept this program alive for as long as he has.  May the seeds we sow in his name continue to take root and flourish.