My Week At Camp

I spent last week at Merriwood Christian Camp serving as camp pastor for a group of 70 rising 7th-9th graders. I've been sending students to Camp Merriwood for over ten years and I've the privilege to serve has camp pastor for the last six. The "tough" thing about this gig is having to give 9 sermons in 4 1/2 days. Some years I've been able to recycle (with a few tweaks) some of my youth sermons from our youth worship services throughout the year. But this time I went in fresh with 9 brand new messages / worship experiences. The easy part of the week is the down time I get just to hang out with the students, take part in their activities, and build relationships. The other bonus for me is that although I'm still "working", it also serves as a bit of a sabbatical as I'm pretty much away from all things "real world". I had my cell phone but I left the laptop at home and only checked my voice mails once a day. It was a terrific "cleansing" time for me. I got to rest, chill out, and catch up on some reading I had been putting off.

I had a few personal milestones while at camp. MCC has an official NRA sanctioned rifle range that you can shoot qualifying targets on. The first level is Pro Marksman which is 10 targets of 20+ points. I achieved that 2 years ago. The next level is Marksman which is 10 targets of 25+ points. Last week I finished off my last 4 targets so now I'm officially a NRA certified Marksman. Whooo Hoooo!

MCC also is home to one of the top high rope courses in the state. It had been a few years since I last completed the course and with the memories of my failed cliff jump still fresh in my head I knew I had to face this giant again. This time around I found the actual rope part no problem as I flew though it at a record pace. But then I got to the swing at the end. To me this is the scariest part. I think it's that feeling of letting go and just free falling/swinging for what feels like eternity that makes it so scary. It could also be that I'm a control freak and that is the only part of the whole course I have no control over. Whatever it is, I did jump / swing (and scream like a 8 year old girl).

MCC host a week long carpetball and ping-pong tournament during each week of camp. I always enter and always get beat. This year I missed the carpetball sign-ups but did make it into the ping-pong tourney. In the first round I was pitted against one of MCC's college staff and fought back hard for a come from behind victory. After that it was like the spirit of Forrest Gump took over and I was unbeatable. I was hitting shots that would have made Hao Wang (the current #1 ping-pong player in the world) proud. With the crowd behind me I stormed though the rest of the competition (yes, I do realize they were only 11, 12, & 13 year olds) to take home the 2008 Middle School week ping-pong championship!

Overall is was one of the best if not the best week I have ever spent at Merriwood. The students were great, the college staff was the best I have ever worked with, and the worship team of Wes, Chris, Tina, and Andrew were by far the best MCC has had in all the years I've been associated with them.

If you live near NC and want your kids / students to experience the BEST camp around then you must give Camp Merriwood a try next year.


Ashley Craven said…
Mike---You should have started with "Some pigs have got to die!!!" :-) Miss you!! Hope you can make the wedding!

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