The Brule

On Sunday morning, I blissfully asleep in my bed at camp.  Then, suddenly…

“GET OUT OF BED!  PACK FOR TWO DAYS ON THE RIVER AND ONE DAY AT THE CABIN.  YOU HAVE TEN MINUTES.”

The lights were on, my boss was out the door, and my roommate, Alex, and I were out of bed without hesitation.  Still half asleep, we blindly shoved clothes into our bags.  In no time, we were running from Thorwall to the parking lot and jumping into the fifteen passenger van.  Our fellow program staff members were just as bleary-eyed and sleepy.

Three and a half hours later, we arrived at our destination in northern Wisconsin.  After dumping all our bags at the campsite, we headed to the canoe rental place.

What were we doing in Wisconsin?  Answer: The Brule.

Basically, we were placed in canoes with our summer partners and, over the course of two days, paddled 45 miles.  We put in eight hours of endless winding turns the first day, followed by five and a half hours of crazy rapids the second.  Our bosses only gave us a bag of rice to eat, but we smuggled a handful of Clif Bars.

By the end of the trip, we had all fallen in at some point.  We were jostled against rocks and slammed into trees.  Kristine got pinned under a log that had fallen across the river and didn’t appear for a while.  She was really freaked out after that.  At one point, my partner (Eva) and my canoe was stuck between some rocks and, for five seconds, was convinced that the paracord rope attaching my paddle to the boat was wrapped around my ankle.  The current pushed me in front of the boat and I thought I was a goner.  But, thankfully, I was free.  After that, I was so shaken up I could barely stand to get the canoe out.  It took six of us to get it free.

The moment when we rounded the bend to see Lake Superior was a beautiful sight.  Suddenly, the 45 miles of wear and tear fell away and we paddled with renewed vigor.  We strode into the lake in the sunlight and, oh my goodness, it was beautiful.

To recover from our journey, we spent a day at our boss’s cabin.  It was a wonderful time of relaxation.  We played games, watched movies, went on pontoon rides, made a puzzle, and went in the sauna.

Now, the counselors are here and training is finally swinging into gear.  Our days are filled with getting to know people, planning, and making sure things are going as they should.  It’s strange being on the programming end of things, but so far, I’m loving it.

Here’s the Brule! Taken from: https://birkhola.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ee238-dsc_0016.jpg

Back to camp!

I like to stay on the move.  It’s just no fun staying in one place for too long.  After a couple of days of recovery from my Boston trip, I packed my bags once more and hit the road.  Destination: Camp Shamineau, one of my favorite places on the planet.  It’s my third year on staff and this year, I move from counselor to program staff.  My technical title is Day Camp Director.  After a few weeks of training, I will be spending the next couple months leading day camps around the state of Minnesota.  Every week I will be given a team of high school and collegiate staff and we will be sent to a church to run camp.  I’ll miss working directly with kids, and I’ll definitely miss being part of the goings on at main camp (games, friends, getting thrown in the lake, etc.)  But this a brand new experience, and I’m up for the challenge!

I arrived yesterday and, right away, we got to work inventing skits, learning the layout of storage spaces, driving camp vehicles, and getting everything prepared for this weekend’s retreat.  It’s Memorial Day Family Camp and we’re understaffed–only this year’s Program, the past year’s Interns, and a couple of volunteers are here.  Last night, we were working until one in the morning!  It’s exhausting, the camp life, but so incredibly worth it.  We get to hang out with kids and spread the love of Jesus Christ!  What better summer is there?

So, stay tuned for more camp adventures!  Posts may be infrequent at first, but since I’ll be in host families most of the summer, I should be able to write frequently.

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Lake Shamineau, taken last summer