Corinne Plett reports on this year’s day camp
“This has been the most incredible week ever!” “Can I come back again next year?” With sweat pouring down his face during a bike ride: “That was SO much fun! Can we ride some more?” After an interactive Bible story time: “I think Jesus is telling us that no matter how bad things seem, he will always be with us.”
The second annual saint ben’s day camp just wrapped up, and it truly was a fantastic week! Fourteen kids descended each day on what has become known as “The Plett Ranch” (even though we do not have any horses, nor a single pet or animal of any kind!), and were met by our 4 kids. Some of the campers were from saint ben’s, others came as a result of a connection to our family, and five of the campers were African immigrants who came through the Transitional King’s School, their participation in the week made possible due to campership donations. Our dream has been to have a mix of ages of kids involved, and our campers were ages 8-15. It was incredibly rich for kids to have an experience of something community-based as opposed to peer based, something that felt like spending the week with a big family, something quite personal and reflective of what real communities are.
Our mornings were spent in skill development in the areas of biking and bouldering, where each camper was encouraged to challenge themselves and see what they could accomplish. Capture the Flag, group bike rides at Birds Hill Park, a drum circle (thanks to Kalyn Falk), free time where many kids chose to continue working on their biking skills, a massive water fight, the trampoline, and a water slide down the slope of our backyard filled our afternoons.
There was much laughter during our daily “Silly Stories with Cale” where ridiculous wigs, 70’s style dresses, and melodramatic scripts delivered the promised silliness. And all the campers wanted to be in these crazy skits, which kept me up late the night before writing in parts to accommodate them all! Oh, did we laugh!
Perhaps some of the greatest creativity of the day came out during the “Just Imagine …” time where as a group we brought the rich imaginations God has gifted us with together with stories from the Bible to see how God might want to meet us in those stories, what He might want to speak to us through them. What incredible insights the kids had into these stories as they imagined themselves in them, imagined a shining man rolling a huge stone away from a tomb, imagined the face of Jesus and the life-giving words of hope and healing he offered to a woman as the powerful scent of perfume filled the room, imagined the thoughts and feelings of the crowd that was fed from so very little, imagined what Jesus might be able to do and the good he might bring if we just offer him what we have – our hands, our mouths, our hearts.
Diversity of age and culture did not in any way hamper this collection of campers from becoming a group – their own unique community. They connected, laughed together, created together, cared for one another, helped each other, and shared from their hearts.
The African kids were such a delight! Their smiles, their beautiful hearts, their faith and joy, their deep gratitude for the experience of each part of the week, their sharing of their thoughts and what was on their hearts had a significant impact on all of us.
Enjoy this small collection of pictures (a fuller slideshow will be up on the website soon), and thanks to all who have offered so much encouragement and affirmation to our family. Thanks for praying for us and the campers, and thanks to those who gave of their resources to make it possible for the African kids to receive the gift of this week. Thanks to Francine Wiebe who drove 9 of the kids out and back each day, and spent the days graciously helping in any way needed. It has been an honor to share this experience with the saint ben’s community and with each of the kids that were part of the adventure.