People sometimes ask why our family goes to Camp Arcadia nearly every summer. For me, time at camp chips away at the tough layer of cynicism and gloom that accumulates from my work as a court reporter in the busy courts in downtown St. Louis. I always come away from camp with a better, brighter outlook.
The first year we attended camp was 2002. Our children were 10 and 7. We didn’t know quite what to expect but had been promised by our friends that we would love it. The very first inkling that I had that this might just be a fun week was after the first meal on Saturday night when Chip was going through his what-to-expect-at-Camp-Arcadia speech, particularly the “towel exchange” bit. Humor and witty banter? This was not what I expected at a “church camp”! I liked it.
As the days went by, my husband and I observed our children immersing themselves in the spirit of the place. The strangers that we shared that first meal with were now becoming a community with us. Starting the day with the Dean’s program in the assembly by the lake was just what the doctor ordered for our souls. Gathering in the dining room for meals brought us all together. And those meals! Who knew that “camp food” could be so delicious?!
Camp Arcadia is a blessed place. Through the years we have reconnected with dear friends and made new friends. More importantly, we have reconnected to God unencumbered by duty and distractions in a setting that takes your breath away. We have come to treasure the many traditions of camp. I wonder: Will I ever overcome the instinct to smell for popcorn and head for the teepee after watching a beautiful sunset on Lake Michigan?
In this world of technological distractions, we have all found such joy in getting back to basics: love, faith, family, friends, rest, and fun. Our children, now 19 and 16, have been forever changed by their teen week and family week experiences, and every year the choice is made by all four of us to return to Camp Arcadia. Correction…this year only three of us attended family week as campers. Our son chose to work on staff all summer, and I can confidently say he had the best summer of his life.