At Family Camp, I wake each morning to sound of the bell ringing. Some people wake up early and go walking or running or just go to the Lodge for a cup of coffee, but I always wait until I hear the bell. The clang, clang, clang is my favorite wake-up call of all time.
After I hear the bell, I usually lie in bed for a while and listen to the birds sing. There are so many birds at camp. It is wonderful to listen to them. Then, up and dressed and off to breakfast in the Lodge. The meals are served family style to the whole group. Delicious! After breakfast, we go to Morning Prayer. There, we hear about the theme for the day and begin our day with song and prayer. After Prayer, we break up into age groups. For the younger campers, this part of the day is similar to Vacation Bible School. Adults gather in a group for activities and discussion. Morning groups end at lunchtime, when we all meet again in the Lodge.
After lunch is free time. There are so many things that campers can do during free time – as families or as individuals. There is a swimming pool and a craft lodge. There is a beautiful hiking trail. There is usually an organized activity offered: volleyball, soccer, ultimate. A nap is always a possibility. Or, there is a little camp store where people can hang out, have a drink or some ice cream, and enjoy the afternoon.
Free time lasts all the way until dinner. A long, slow afternoon in which to enjoy each other’s company. Dinner together is accompanied by relaxed conversation. This is a chance to talk about how the day went, to learn about what other ages did in morning groups and what other families did at free time. Meals are filled with the sound of laughter and comraderie.
After dinner we celebrate Mass. These are the most wonderful celebrations of Mass I have ever experienced. Joy and love pour out of the community. Each person participates at his or her own ability and all gifts are celebrated. Many people try ministries for the first time. This is a safe place where any mistakes are overlooked as readers and singers and liturgical dancers are enfolded in the love of everyone gathered.
Mass is followed by Family Sharing. Families use differing methods for sharing. For our family, it has always followed a basic formula. Each person is offered the opportunity to share on three questions. What was your high point today? What was your low point today? What was your closest moment to God today? Over the years, we have had evenings where Family Sharing was fun, profound, silly, annoying, desperate, amazing, or a combination of all of these. As a family, we have laughed and cried, listened and loved as we shared the moments of each others’ lives.
Little ones are off to bed after Family Sharing, while teens go to Teen Option and adults attend Adult Option or return to the store for snacks, beverages, conversation and lots of laughter. Around midnight, the day ends with adults returning to their cabins for a good night’s sleep.
Days at camp are full and fun. The community is loving and accepting. From sunup to sundown, God is with us.