Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Don't Think Teaching Kids About The Love Of God Should Feel So Much Like Hell

This is Day Camp week at church. Day Camp is an age-old tradition at our church. Everyone participates in Day Camp--we have 150 volunteers and over 300 kids. There is singing, crafts, a bible lesson, snacks, everyone gets a t-shirt and a topical take-home thing each day.....and of course the overriding theme of the love of Jesus. Each year a significant portion of the kids give their hearts to Jesus and it is truly what makes Day Camp so special.

I hate Day Camp. Don't get me wrong--I think it is wonderful that one of the biggest outreaches of our church is Day Camp. There are kids who hear about Jesus for the first time at Day Camp. Our new pastoral candidate, who will be preaching on July 22nd, first gave his heart to Jesus at Day Camp about 35 years ago. It is an extremely well-run program and the volunteers put their hearts and souls into it each year. And I hate it. It is practically blasphemous to say that, but I do.

First of all, Day Camp is hot. Remember how I bitched and moaned about the weather in my last post? Well, it's here. It's over 90 today. I literally have sweat dripping down the front of my shirt as I write this. Our church is a 50 year old building with no air conditioning. And we have 450 people running around when it's 90 degrees.

Next, Day Camp sucks the life out of you. This year I am Snack Lady. In past years I volunteered with actual kids and for me that is always a mistake. Kids make me crazy. I'm not a "kid" person. Of course I love my kids and I love my friends' kids and kids do cute things and all that. But I need some distance. I could never ever ever ever be a full time preschool or elementary school teacher. I would be fired for all of the yelling. By me. So this year I am coordinating all of the snacks for the kids. It is a job which suits me just fine and I'm actually enjoying myself--I am around the kids and can see my own kids throughout the morning, but I'm not directly involved with the kids. But I am exhausted. I'm too tired to make dinner or clean anything. The laundry is piling up, my bathrooms are becoming bio-hazards, my family is hungry...did I mention that it hit 90 today? And I have no air conditioning? And somehow I have to get this together because I'm hosting our bookgroup on Friday. And I'm not finished with the book....

Day Camp sucks the life out of the kids. Yesterday my kids were basket cases when we got home. Eric is too young for afternoon electives, so we're camped out at Cori's house each day for two hours because it's too far for me to drive back and forth that much. By the time we went back to pick Ryan up from his electives, he was in tears. Apparently Basketball did not go as he expected and he cried for an hour and a half. And because I was giving Ryan so much attention, Eric decided to join in. At one point they had some hullabaloo over who gets to open the door first and that just ramped them up more. I had two kids crying hysterically all afternoon. And then they watched tv.

I have to wear the same shirt every day. At Day Camp, everyone is color coded by tshirt. It's a great idea and for the most part, really works. All of the volunteers have the same color shirt, and we have to wear them every day. Did I mention it's in the 90's today?

The parents. Every parent must relay their child's particular issue to the appropriate adult volunteer. I'm being hypocritical here, because I did the same thing this morning in talking to the basketball helpers to make sure Ryan has a better day. As Snack Lady, I am privy to each and every food allergy we have congregated in our establishment. Don't freak out--I'm NOT making light of true food allergies. But seriously, if your child is so deathly allergic to nuts (we are a nut free building), wheat, eggs, dairy, red dye #2, corn, chocolate (I've heard it all....), then your child should bring his own snack. Because if I were to buy the nut free, wheat free, egg free, dairy free food to make all of you happy, I would be serving your children rocks. One child today was allowed to have the licorice rope, but only from the licorice container, not one that had come into contact with the pretzels. PREZTELS! WHO IS ALLERGIC TO PRETZELS?!.

Eric. Eric is done with Day Camp. We still have three more days to go, but since he could barely handle his two-day-a-week preschool, a week long Day Camp is not sitting well with him. Am I going to turn him off to the love of Jesus forever because at the age of 4 I forced him to attend Day Camp against his will and scarred him for life?

Again, don't get me wrong. Day Camp has many many absolutely wonderful qualities that should never change. But next year I would like to see it held in October. When we are out of town.

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