Monday, July 28, 2014

Overnight Camp

Eli just returned from sleep-away camp.

Let me say that again:

Eli just returned from being away from us for a week, living in a cabin with 10 other boys and 2 counselors, having the time of his life playing any sport or outdoor game known to man, staying up until 10PM each night, and grinning so hard and for so long that his face surely ached each night.

After two summers of participating in Winshape's day camp, we finally let Eli pack his overnight bag. (It helped that his best friend, Drew, would be attending for the first time as well.) For a full week before, Eli and I packed and repacked, checked and rechecked the list, and talked about all of the many things he would do. To say we were excited would be an understatement.

The first day of camp, we all drove Eli up to Berry College. The campus has a long entry into the campgrounds, and staff of the camp could be found all over, giving directions, holding signs, and causing much excitement in our car. Before driving up to the cabin area, we had to check him in at the main hall. There was a small camp store, and we bought Eli a team shirt (he already knew his team), and a scarf/bandana thing. Then we found Eli's cabin (he was only the third cabin-member to arrive) and unpacked his bag, making his bed and putting his clothes in the drawer assigned to him.
It was all getting very real, for both him and I.

I could tell Eli was pretty nervous; he was crazy wide-eyed and not really able to focus on anything I said. Instead, all senses were on high alert and he was taking in everything around him in the cabin. At some point he insisted on putting on his bandana thing and shirt, as if in an effort to immediately fit in.

Once we had him settled, I could tell he was not ready for us to go, so we opted to walk him over to where Drew's cabin was to see if he was there yet. Luckily he was, so Eli had a chance to relax and touch base with his friend.
By the time we got back to Eli's cabin, several boys were out front playing some type of ball-game, so Eli quickly jumped in.
The week was a tough one for me, but the camp posted pictures each night. Of course I stayed up until 11PM when they became available so that I could scan them for shots of my boy. Each one told a great story about the time he was having. (Not that I doubted it!)
When we picked him up at the end of the week, he had made many new friends and the counselors all seemed to know him by name. It was so cool to see a big group of boys that had bonded together over songs and Bible verses and camp fires....just being boys.

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