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As summer ends…

Posted by Christine Szekeres in Summer Camp on September 3, 2013

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It’s a bittersweet, but true fact: everything that has a beginning also has an ending. Thirteen odd weeks ago the 2013 leadership team arrived at camp. For the next three weeks, as more and more staff arrived and the first “day one, week one” drew steadily closer, I marveled at the beginning of yet another summer. Then, almost as soon as it started, it was drawing to a close. Staff heading out for school or work and camp getting turned over for the next season at SAMBICA.

Ten weeks of camp, a record-breaking 2,600 campers, and one of the best summers (weather-wise) in recent years made SAMBICA’s 94th summer a true blessing! It’s always bittersweet, coming into work on the Monday (or in the case of 2013, Tuesday) after camp has ended. It’s quiet. Partially because the full time team are rotating though some much-needed time off so there are fewer of us here but mostly it’s the laughter and the joy of the campers and the summer staff. It always makes me a little sad. Working at SAMBICA year-round is truly a blessing but camp is never better than when it’s filled with the laughter of campers and staff.

There were so many blessings this summer: staff baptisms, camper firsts, new friends, old friends, and the joy of sharing the love of Jesus Christ. As the sun streams through my window, I am reminded of God’s enduring love for us and of His blessings. I’m also reminded of all the amazing, God-inspired events, and particularly the story of Cole.

Cole & Hub Cap

Cole has been coming to SAMBICA for a few years now. He has a condition that prevents him from engaging in verbal conversation. Because of this, Cole can’t really participate in the activities that other campers enjoy. Due to his needs, we encourage Cole’s family to send him to camp early in the summer when we have extra staff and are able to place someone with him one-on-one. This summer Cole was paired with Hub Cap and it was a week of transformation for both camper and counselor. Cole doesn’t usually make eye contact or gestures to others or allow much physical contact. One day when the bus came to pick him up I watched as he got on the bus, took his seat, turned and made eye contact with Hub Cap. Cole placed his hand on the window for Hub Cap to “high five” and smiled wide when Hub Cap placed his hand on the window completing their high five. It was unprecedented.

HubCap-and-Cole

All week Cole was fascinated with campers going down the zip line and riding the flying squirrel. Cole tried three times to make it up the ladder to the zip line, each attempt taking him higher. Though he didn’t make it all the way up, it was a HUGE step forward for Cole. Hub Cap worked on his ability to communicate with Cole and on earning his trust. By the end of the week Cole was able to participate in the flying squirrel and had a giant smile splayed across his face the entire time!

There are many amazing stories from this summer. Stories of fears overcome, friends made, first time experiences, swim tests passed, wake boards ridden, songs sung, and lives touched by the love of Jesus. Do you have an amazing story of your campers experience at SAMBICA this summer? I would love to hear about it. Drop me a note at stories.

 
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