We Are Camp Nine “Made New”

This may be the first time I have actually written about every session. I usually have great intentions to do so but get home and back in the real world and out of sight out of mind. Sad but true. The last session was about being made new through what Jesus did on the cross. All of our sins are forgiven: past, present, and future. Things in the universe break down naturally over time. Just look around, except at me. God doesn’t want to improve who we are but implement a permanent new through Jesus. So because of Jesus you stay new no matter what you do.

This all lead up to what I call the “altar call”. Except at camp, people don’t come down to the front but just stand if they have decided they want to follow Jesus. After that the camp breaks into their small groups and the small group leaders talk to the kids and pray with them that they believe in Jesus and accept him into their heart. This is such a much better way than when I was a kid. Every week the church I went to had an altar call. The congregation would sing Just As I Am which the pastor would say things like “If Jesus is calling you to come down front and you don’t come and you die this week you will go to HELL.” Do you know how scary that was for a kid. I wasn’t sure if Jesus was calling me or not. (I was around the age of 10). What if he was and I didn’t go down and I died? Would I burn in Hell forever? It was scary to get out of your seat and walk down to the front but I finally did it but I have no recollection of my age or the date or even the time of the year. I do remember going to a small room and a lady praying with me. I think somewhere around 30 kids from our church stood up. Earlier in the day 14 of our kids were baptized in the ocean. They were kids who had already accepted Jesus and now were publicly identifying with him. In a couple of weeks we are having a baptism service at church and the kids that were baptized will tell their story and then the church will show the video of their baptism. Baptism services are the best.


This was the first year I had a Fitbit tracker at camp. I set a record for total steps for the week. I was 10 weeks post surgery and for the first time in two years had two feet that weren’t on fire! I could have done without knowing how little sleep I got. I am an 8-9 hour a day person so an average of 5 did not cut it. Although I did nap and sleep on the bus, most of them did not register as sleep because my heart rate was not low enough to be considering sleeping. My heart rate is around 42-44 when I sleep. The sign of a finely tuned athlete! Hahahaha. This totally explains why it took me three days to recover! I was talking about some of the nurse stuff that happened at camp. I was busier than I realized but I enjoy every moment. I must give a huge shout out to my roommate Lynn who is so helpful. Especially when a kid would wake me up out of a nap and I wasn’t fully awake. She would make suggestions. She was talking about not coming next year because all of her kids are grown but I being selfish said who am I going to room with and who is going to keep me on track. She did get to observe me in full on nurse mode. When the girl was dehydrated and started puking and was not responding to my satisfaction, my spidey senses went in full gear and I started bossing people around to get done what I needed to get done! That usually means I am panicking but not showing it! The kids asked me why I didn’t just start an IV and run fluids in. Well folks, that would be practicing medicine without a licence. The state board of nursing puts a paper out every 3 months and it always lists what nurses get in trouble for. One time a nurse started and IV on another nurse and gave her a bag of fluids. I can’t remember if she was hung over or pregnant but the nurse that did that got her license on probation. So there will be no IV starts at Big Stuf camp!


Mole Moral~ It is only 362 more days until Oak Bridge leaves for Big Stuf! I will be honored to go as the nurse again next year! It’s the best busiest, exhausting week of the year! I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is nothing more awesome than watching kids understand there is a God who loves them!



We Are Camp Nine “Brave”

This was the last morning session and it was a good thing. Getting up at seven in the morning was killing this evening shift girl. Especially being up until midnight or a little later.

The foundation of every virtue is courage which is seriously missing in our culture. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what is right, or the little guy, or anything out of the norm. How much easier is it to get with the flow and follow the leader than stand out. I guess this goes right along with being real. Often the right thing and the hard thing are the exact same thing. And if we are real honest, the easy thing is so much easier but often leads to not so great results.

Stuart said the way to obtain courage is to love someone deeply and to know you are loved deeply (by God). So the most powerful version of you, is you fully convinced of God’s love. That feeling loved by God has been huge for me! I have taken more risks and had more courage ever since I first experienced it seven years ago. So I am loved and I am braved sometimes. He finished by listing three incredible gifts.

1. We have existence.

2. We have opportunity

3. We are loved.


Mole moral~ I really have no idea about the three gifts so next year I better take better notes. Until then, may more courage and love surround us all.


We Are Camp Nine “Real”

Stuart started out session five with this statement “Social media, where fools go to feel important.” I found that so interesting and he wasn’t really ripping on social media necessarily. However, how many people define their self-worth by how many likes or comments they get? Although I may not define my self-worth, I am always interested in how many people see my stuff. This blog is a perfect example. It will tell me how many views I have had. Sometimes I remind myself that even if only one person looked at it, it might be just the person that needed to read my crazy stuff that day! The biggest issue with social media is that it allows you to filter your image by showing the best and hiding the rest. Everyone has that one person that they know that spends all of their time doing just that. They project the perfect image and yet most people can see right through it. I will be first to admit that when I am having chaos in my life (and I have had a lot recently) I become quiet. I don’t feel social media is the place to air all of that but I also have no problem putting up the silly side of myself. And as for pictures of me, I have no clue how to Photoshop or edit so what you see is the real (scary) deal!

It is almost impossible to be real if you are living with secrets. Everyone needs to have one person they can tell everything and anything to. I am fortunate to have a person like that in my life. It is also impossible to be real if you feel like you need to be fake to be loved. Say what? If you can’t be who you are but who others think you are supposed to be then it’s difficult to love yourself. It’s also real difficult to like yourself when you don’t think God loves you.

That statement really hit home and caused a flashback to my very first camp, eight camps ago. I never really thought a camp would be better than my first one, but this one blew it out of the water. Anyway, seven years ago for the first time ever I felt that God loved me. It’s hard to explain and most people think I’m crazy but up until that point, I knew in my head people loved me but I couldn’t feel it. Oh it is almost heaven like to be able to feel it. So when Stuart said that I got the goose bumps!

Then he went back to the secrets and he stated people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. Confessing your sin (secrets) might cost something but concealing it might cost everything. He also reminded us failure is an event, not a character trait!

Mole moral~This session validated me and the fact that I really try to be real all the time. Sometimes my lack of filter can get me in trouble but I’m pretty much my real self all of the time. Watch out world!


We Are Camp Nine “For”

Now that the distractions of surgery and the ER have passed and I am back home, I plan to finish up the sessions over the next few days. Session four was Wednesday morning and Stuart Hall was back. He and Jared Herd are tied for my all time favorite speakers. Jared has had a child or two now so I am not sure camp will see him again. However Stuart is older and his kids are almost grown.

Are you known for what you are against or what you are for? Most people are known for what they are against, drinking, drugs, abortion, democrats (just kidding) but not what they are for. Jesus was known for his love and that he came to teach love. This was new to the people of this time because of the religious craziness that was going on back then. They had over 600 crazy laws they attempted to follow to make them worthy in God’s eyes.  Jesus came and said love one another as I have loved you. He did not say your ability to change people’s behavior will prove to the world that you are my disciples or that your ability to follow a ton of rules will prove to the world that you are mine. He said your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. Then he started talking about circumcision in a room full of teenagers. That was quite comical but his point was that Jesus made circumcision irrelevant because it was just another one of many rules that was now obsolete. Just like sacrificing a perfect animal for forgiveness of sin. The religious fruitcakes of the time asked what the most important commandment was and the answer was simple, love the lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.

He concluded with love is the most powerful force in the universe and the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You have to be FOR someone to convince someone. (My notes are lacking here because I cannot remember what the point of that was.) So who will you be FOR? What will you be FOR? Will you be known for what you are against or what you are FOR?


Mole moral~I want to be known FOR helping others, being kind and showing love


We Are Camp Nine ER visit

It’s been a few years since I’ve taken a kid to the ER at camp so I was due. The worst part about it is my dang anxiety about driving someone else’s car and not having a clue where I’m going. Now last summers cake hunting helped the anxiety a lot and I now have a phone that yells at me where to turn. However Herc was kind enough to drop us off and come back later and get us.

This ER was crazy, they had you sign in by computer and then wait to be called. The kid I was with was really dehydrated. When they brought her to my room she was barely answering questions. I was trying to get her to drink but after about six ounces she almost threw up so I knew it was IV fluid time. After they called us to triage they took her to a room and got an iv in and within a 1/2 a bag she was much more perky and after 2 full bags she was ready to remove her IV and be discharged. Her nurse was really good and I liked her even though I got the lecture that the leaders should be making the kids drink. Apparently every other patient was dehydration and heat exhaustion. Her room leader felt bad and I said you cannot pour water down the kids throats. If the kids are big enough to spend a week away from home they should be big enough to stay hydrated. We got back around 2 in the morning. I missed the late night music session but I already have the camp music on my phone so it was ok.


Mole moral~It’s good to check out other ER’s to see how they do things. However, there is no place like Mercy.


We Are Camp Nine Big Stuf Interns

IMG_8816This is my very favorite kid and Big Stuf intern. His name is Dan. I met him four years ago on the way to camp. We were on the same bus and it was during the get to know your bus neighbor game. I am not going to lie, I hate that game. It’s where you move seat to seat and talk to every person. It is so hard for me and we actually skipped it this year. However, if we wouldn’t have done that, I would have never met Dan. One of the questions we were to talk about was what is your favorite restaurant. I had written down Steak N Shake (I’m real exciting) and Dan had written Subway. He saw that and high-fived me and said we skinny people can eat fast food. I was like time out, I’m not really skinny and I told him how I had lost forty pounds and how I run like a crazy person. Anyway by the time I switched seats, there was something about him and instantly became my favorite kid besides my girls. After we returned I checked in on him and prayed for him. (Ok stalked him for those who know me well. Haha) I would find out later that Dan had run into Tom (pastor) at chick-fil-A who told him he should do the Oak Bridge internship and he agreed. This past fall/winter when Dan told me he had applied for the Big Stuf internship I was so excited. The opportunity to spend the entire summer at camp leading kids would be so incredible and a life changer. When I found out he was chosen I was thrilled for him. The interns have to pay to do this so most of them fund raise. They do stay in a hotel and are fed for free. However, Dan told me it was camp food all summer so that ended the camp nurse dream. This was the best camp ever. I really never imagined any could out do my first year but this one far surpassed it and I have much more to write about. However I was at the hospital until 2 with a kid who was dehydrated so I must nap for a while. I am so thrilled that Dan was here the entire summer and I am confident it was a life changer for him!


Mole moral~Often the things we dread the most, turn out to be life blessings. Without the get to know your bus buddies game I would have never met Dan! He truly is my favorite kid!


We Are Camp Nine Surgery on the Boardwalk

After dinner I was walking along and came across a group of people surrounding a girl on a bench who was hysterically crying. I took one look at her foot and saw this sticking out of the bottom of it close to her toes. It was about the size of the top stick in the picture.







Someone told me it couldn’t be pulled out because there was a barb or something preventing it. It was pretty far under the skin so I had to go into burn unit nurse mode (maybe that’s why I dreamed about the burn unit last night) and take a pair of tweezers and pick the skin apart to reveal the stick. I had gotten about halfway through this endeavor when it was clear we needed a scalpel or a needle or a razor blade. So up comes the official Big Stuf camp nurse with a gadget called splinter out.








It actually reminded me of the really old blood sugar lancet’s from my really early nursing days. So I stabilized the stick while she finished opening it up so we could pull the stick out. The girl did really well. Her group had a wash cloth so the camp nurse washed it and dried it and put a temporary band-aid on. I told her to take a shower and then come to my room and I would fix her up. Apparently the kids with her convinced her that peroxide on it would feel like acid and it would hurt forever. I told her the peroxide wouldn’t hurt but her foot would probably really bother her to put weight on it. So while she is freaking out about the peroxide I sneak and pour it on and it was over and done with before she even knew it. Then a little Neosporin a 2×2 and some gauze wrap and she was good as new. Someone asked why I didn’t use alcohol. I said now that would have burned like battery acid and she would have come out of her skin. Then they asked if I could look at another kids toe. He was so worked up trying to find injured girls sister he jammed and stubbed his toe and peeled the skin off. He already had cleaned and put Neosporin on in, so I did a burn unit toe wrap! It’s been 15 years since I have done any sort of debridement or burn wrapping but it came right back like it was just yesterday!

Mole moral~Once a burn nurse, always a burn nurse!