Saturday, November 12, 2011

Walls and Weighted Tea Pots

  How would you go about tearing down a wall? Storming a castle? A similar question that you perhaps might not have connected is this - how would you achieve some cathartic release?  The camp’s mighty trebuchet is our answer to all three.  He (or shall we call it a “she”?) made an appearance at our Pastors and Wives’ Retreat last month.  The participating couples had to predict the final trajectory of where the deadly melon would land and set up the milk crates to catch it.  If they hit the target, the prize was a gourmet dinner for two at a fancy restaurant. The competitive men and women lined-up to take their shots and ooh-and-ah at the explosive melons.   
  Originally built for our Outdoor Ed program,  campers make predictions, graph the possibilities and outcomes, and discuss ancient civilizations impact on today’s world.  Mostly though, they just have fun setting up their castle wall to hopefully be destroyed by the flying toaster or weighted boot.  This connection between education, destruction and fun sounds very childlike, very boy like, but can’t we sophisticated adults apply this method in as well?   
  When we face those overwhelming obstacles, when we come up against those willful walls, why not take a similar approach? Take that awesome task or difficulty that lies before you and overcome it in a way that will not only bring enjoyment to yourself but to those around you.  Throw a melon at it or a teapot, whatever it takes.  Break down that barrier. Barge through that gate. If you miss, try and try again and as you get closer and messier you might just realize that the anticipation and joy in the attempts perhaps has been the lesson or the game all along.  

Monday, October 31, 2011

Who done it?

It’s Halloween and no campers are around, so what does Prescott Pines Camp do with a day like today? Well, we work a little and then we prepare for a party of course!  Our very own Paul Clark wrote his own Murder Mystery Dinner Party script inspired by the movie Murder by Death.  Last year, we also held such an event in Groom Creek Lodge- and true to camp form- every staff member was quite into their character.  The baker ended up being the murderer. (Please don’t let that deter you from tasting our delightful desserts when you visit though!) We can’t wait to share this year’s pictures with you but here are few from the last party.  You may also wonder what the town of Prescott does on such a holiday.  The road up to camp, Mount Vernon, is closed off by the city and big portable lights are rolled onto the street. Thousands of people – young and old alike- walk the highly decorated row of historical houses.  With the coming of fall, the trees drip with golden yellow and orange and the children run with delight in their colorful costumes as they collect their candy.  Check out our facebook page for more pictures of our Murder Mystery Night. Any suspicions of who the murderer may be?  


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Soap, Shoes and a Dialysis Machine

Frontier Village Campers 2011
It’s a common question. What should I pack for camp? Just this morning, a man from the men’s retreat found himself in such a packing quandary. He came to the office looking for the laundry facility since his wife only put one pair of jeans in his bag (though my husband wonders why that is a problem). So clothes, yes, you pack clothes, shoes -suitable for the woods, toothbrush, soap, etc… But what about a nurse? A doctor? A dialysis machine?  Last week we hosted Phoenix Children’s Hospital where all of the children who came to camp have kidneys that are no longer doing an effective job. Periodically, they receive dialysis treatment so packing for them required more, much more.  The Phoenix Children’s Hospital bought many staff and volunteers as well as a U-Haul full of equipment and medicine. For many of these children, this was the first time they were away from home and family. And because of that, they were able to be – in a sense- away from the limitations of their illness.  Here at camp they could be children! They could explore the woods. They could go on the zip line. They could play on the low ropes. They could dance the night away in the MAC. They could be campers. 
A teacher from one of our participating Outdoor Education schools wrote the following in an email to us:
“I personally believe that camp changes lives. Really. Whether it is a church camp or a school camp, this might be the first time for some of them to shine outside of the classroom or athletic field. What if you aren’t the brightest or the fastest? Maybe you can build a mean shelter, or get us out of a dangerous situation with your compass skills…I am tearing up as I write this because we need so much compassion this year. After the 8th grade suicide on our campus this year we are more aware than ever of the need for acceptance and guidance. I want everyone who touches their lives to believe in kids and want to be with them…”
And Prescott Pines does believe in kids and we believe in camp! No matter where you come from or who you are, here at camp you can soar across valleys, face your challenges, and –quite literally-climb over walls- all with a big smile on your face.  When it is time to go, you leave with so much more than you came with, a moment in life packed full of lasting memories.   

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sobriety Coins and Branches

A single mother of two spoke of the recent transition in her life- her first born was leaving for college.  A twenty-two year old full time nursing student shared her thoughts about her relationship – they had been together since they were sixteen, have they changed too much to be right for each other now?  A retired school district employee wonders if her social security check will be enough.  No matter what stage of life we are in or what we are in the midst of - be it joy or pain- we were made to share. The women’s retreats were full of such moments. What a month September was!  As we entered into October this past weekend, we hosted a different kind of women’s retreat. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous came to gather around one another in celebration and support, new participants discovered that they were not alone and sponsors passed on encouragement and wisdom.  In the MAC, they journeyed through the Angel Walk where the blind-folded woman would be guided through obstacles advised and supported by mentors on the outside. At the end of the crossing, they received their sobriety coin. It was an emotional time.  We are glad that Prescott Pines Camp is a place of gathering, sharing, and realization that we are not meant to go at this life alone.  He is the vine and we are the branches and those branches work together to support one another.  May you see such branches in your life and may you be such to others!  Who is someone in your life that you share with like this? Thank them today by leaving a comment below.     

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lookout Fire

Lightening caused it.  About ten miles south of Prescott, a fire spread, the Lookout Fire. With such steep, rugged, difficult terrain, helicopters would be necessary. Sometimes an opportunity comes along where the community is given a chance to come together to meet a need. In such times, Prescott Pines Camp is grateful to be able – if we can – to be a part of the work.  This was one of those times.  On the day we commenced our outdoor education season with one-hundred-twenty sixth graders from Tarwater Elementary, we were called upon by the National Forest Fire Service for the use of the ball field. Here the helicopter would land and load up with equipment and would be conveniently close to Gold Water Lake to fill up. We were honored to be of assistance to the five crew team of one hundred and twenty personal.  In the middle of owl pellet dissection or debriefing team building, we would stop and wait for the helicopter to fly overhead. On their history hike to the lake, the students were even able to see the water retrieval. What an exciting week it has been here at camp!  It sounds as if the fire has been well contained and was restricted to the forest area for which we are thankful. Check out the pictures!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Witness the Life in Me

Witness the Life in Me

“Oh, Sweetie, I just take it day by day now, ” she said with a smile. I smiled in return but the truth in such a statement caused me to reflect later - was that the appropriate response? I hugged her. My blossoming baby-belly quickly bringing us close together, one of her arms tightly wrapped around my shoulders and the other still gripped onto her cane. Camp hosted a special women's retreat this midweek. Many of the ladies that came during this time have built their legacies and are in the last chapters of His narrative in their lives. I had the privilege of speaking to them the first night about my experience in China. When I surveyed the group, it was clear that their concept of the nation was much different than mine. They lived during the time of the Cultural Revolution. They knew Red China. They heard the front line news of the closed doors and the persecution, the oppression, and the famine.

I entitled the talk “Three Lives, Three Women, One Story” and as I spoke to them in that dimly lit room, I could clearly see their faces, imprinted with stories of their own to speak of and share. After forty-five minutes, we thanked God together for the Greatest Story Ever told and the honor and privilege it is to a be a witness to His kingdom coming. But there was one more story that they insisted on hearing about: how did I meet my husband? I briefly shared about my sister working at the camp where Ben was the Outdoor Education Coordinator and how on my return visit back from China, I shadowed her at work. That is when it happened. Ben was standing up in front of a group of sixth graders singing about three short-necked buzzards when I fell in love. The last of the three women's lives I shared was my own but I stopped the story simply with my return back to the states. But these women knew better than I, know better than I. They insisted that I continue sharing. It all brings Him glory – in China, in Prescott, as a single woman, as a married lady, as a mom! After all, his story in us and through us never ends. Let us not keep from speaking of the things we have seen and heard. And even when they might not be able to return again to camp next year, His story will continue on. It is all a part of the One story. “See you again next year, I hope,” I say to her, life in me forming and life in her nearing the end. She smiles at me. And I smile in return. This is the right response. She knows. Stories have beginnings and ends but His story is eternal, everlasting, amen!