They arrested him. For not cleaning his room, Doc Holiday, Yosemite Sam and Johnny Ringo arrested him. Five minutes earlier, I was sitting at our Prescott Pines Camp promotional booth outside Desert Springs Community Church when a blond young woman with a cell phone poised to her ear was casually walking back and forth chatting with someone about houses in Connecticut. Her ring seemed to sparkle with each syllabic emphasis in the winter Arizona sun. She sat down next to me, crossed her legs, and smiled. “So moving to Connecticut?” I offered conversation.
It didn’t take much. From where she went to high school to how she met her husband, to the adoption of her two children and why the family is moving to east coast, this woman had me at “hello.” As we talked about the complexities of parenting two children from two different cultures (her girl, from Korea, and her boy, from Russia), she shared how her son was just so obstinate the day before. At this point she turned to our summer staff that were dressed up as their camp characters –cowboy hats, boots, and all - and pronounced, “You know what you should do? Go arrest him. Yeah, go arrest him. He’s in the third grade class. Just walk right in there and arrest him for not cleaning his room.” And it was decided.
The whole gang headed up to the Sunday school classroom, led by the junior high pastor, and the young eight year old outlaw was promptly arrested. Somewhat confused and a little shy, he obediently went with the deputy. In the hall, he met his laughing mother. After he was led back into the room, the staff presented camp and all its adventures to the wide-eyed group of children. One minute you are happily coloring pictures of Jesus and the next minute the Wild West has invaded your serene elementary territory. We all need a little invasion (and perhaps a little arrest in our busy lives). It gets you to color outside of those lines. Such exuberance is welcomed at camp. And those pictures of Jesus, transform and come to life at camp even in the streets of the Old West, making memories that reach back in time and into eternity.