Camp Barnabas Bound!

An Essay By Heather // 9/5/2007

SOME OVERALL STUFF ABOUT CAMP...
Everything about Camp Barnabas is unique. The founders, Paul and Cyndy Teas, wanted it to be a special place for kids who have been told their entire lives, "You can't do that." Picture a regular camp. What do you see? Kids swimming, shooting rifles, archery, roughing it for 24 hours, maybe climbing a ropes course. Now picture this...blind kids shooting a rifle, kids in wheelchairs climbing a rock wall, cancer survivors swimming and splashing. This is Camp Barnabas.

SOME OVERALL STUFF ABOUT CAMP... Everything about Camp Barnabas is unique. The founders, Paul and Cyndy Teas, wanted it to be a special place for kids who have been told their entire lives, "You can't do that." Picture a regular camp. What do you see? Kids swimming, shooting rifles, archery, roughing it for 24 hours, maybe climbing a ropes course. Now picture this...blind kids shooting a rifle, kids in wheelchairs climbing a rock wall, cancer survivors swimming and splashing. This is Camp Barnabas. I went last year as a volunteer CIA counselor. That was my position again this year. I went during adult wheelchair week, for people 16 and up. We had five campers, seven CIAs, and two staffers in my cabin. The cabin was (thankfully) one of the newer ones that come complete with AC and four shower/bathrooms. As a CIA, our job was to help our camper with whatever she needed (showering, eating, dressing, etc). My camper, Courtney, used a walker. She needed minimal help dressing, getting over gravel with her walker, stuff like that. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we were both quiet, but it was never an awkward quiet. In retrospect, I see that we bonded very well, but at camp I was afraid that we weren't bonding at all, until the last night. I was helping her shower. The showerhead was one of the kind that could come off the wall, which made it easy, but when your hands are slippery with shampoo, it doesn't always stay in your hand. The first night I'd dropped it and gotten myself soaking wet (which Courtney thought was hilarious). Well, the last night I figured out how to shut the showerhead off without shutting the water off. Courtney also thought this was hilarious because it had taken me the ENTIRE WEEK to figure it out!! She'd also brought a wheelchair in case she got tired, and decided to use it the last night.I teased her about deciding I hadn't worked enough during the week, so she was going to make me work the last night. We giggled about that the rest of the evening! Camp has some pretty awesome people in it. Paul and Cyndy Teas are great! Also, Cameron, a blind skateboarder who worked on staff, is pretty cool too! Lindsay, the outreach director, is fun to hang out with, and volunteer coordinator Laura is awesome! And if you ever go to Camp Barnabas, watch out for Tank.He's the Teas's Great Dane, and he's absolutely huge! THEME PARTIES... Every night they have a theme party at camp. This summer, they were an Indian party, a jungle party, a Dr. Seuss pool party, a mismatched game show, and "the big dance"...a dance of the decades! The Indian party was OK, we got to roast smores. The jungle party was great, seeing everyone's jungle outfits (one of my friends went as Tigger and Courtney was a safari leader). The pool party, all the CIAs in our cabin did crazy hairdos (five ponytails, three buns, two wadded ponytails on my part). The campers thought this funny but none of them wanted to look quite so silly! Courtney didn't want to swim so I helped with the other campers, swam a bit myself, hung out with our Barnstomers Kristin and Sojin (the Barnstormers cleaned bathrooms, waited on tables, etc), talked with some old friends, and made a few new ones of some staff members. The mismatched game night, we were camping (more on that later) so I don't know much about it. I do know that one of the staffers, Isaac, got a pie in his face! :) "The Big Dance" is the Camp Barnabas event of the week! My brother asked Courtney to dance with him, it was really sweet because she hadn't gotten asked by anyone else! I was going to ask his camper and my friend Josiah's camper to dance, but never really got far from Courtney. So she and I danced a lot! The Dance of the Decades includec costumes from all of the decades of the last century! I went as a hippie because I can. (A wild purple and black shirt, bell bottom jeans, moccasins borrowed from a fellow CIA MacKenna, and a leather headband borrowed from camper Amy).Courtney went as a girl from thr 50s, poodle skirt and all! She looked really cute! My cabin had lots of 80s fans in it! CAMPING... OK so on Thursday, we packed up sleeping bags, extra clothes, pillows, toothbrushes, and various miscallaneous stuff. Then we loaded up on the Jolly Wagon (a trailer pulled by a 1950 Ford tractor) and put-putted our way to the treehouse, where we were greeted by Booker, who was going to lead us in "camping". It was good until lunch. We made postcards, sat and talked, and roasted hotdogs for lunch (blegh). Umm...it was about 102 degrees in the afternoon, and we all laid around in the treehouse sweltering. I laid on the porch of the treehouse trying to sleep, no blanket or anything, because I hoped breeze would come up between the boards and cool me off. No such luck, and my shade kept moving every fifteen minutes, so I finall gave it up and talked to MacKenna and Heather, two other CIAs. (Yes, I wasn't the only Heather.). All the campers slept except Amy, who every five minutes would groan something like, "It's two hundred degrees out here." "I don't have much longer to live, guys." "Seriously, how can you survive in this heat?" (Needless to say, Amy did survive and by evening was her own chipper self again). By the time it cooled down enough to make us feel like moving, it was time for supper. Normally I like chili, Fritos, and cheese for supper, but not when I'm camping. After supper, we sat around, talked, sang, laughed, and had serious discussions (I discussed dating vs courtship with MacKenna, a staffer Caitlynn, Aimee the CIA, and Megan). Then we roasted smores, got ready for the night in the treehouse, sang some worship songs with Annie (who hiked up from camp just to do worship time with us), and got the campers into bed. Then the CIAs and one of our staffers, Caitlynn, promptly stayed up until midnight giggling, talking over the day, and teasing each other. I went to bed at midnight with a promise from MacKenna that she'd wake me up at one to see the meoter shower. The next morning she told me she tried, but I did was grunt and roll over. So much for that...and after breakfast Friday morning, we waited and waited and waited some more for the Jolly Wagon to show up. The trailer did, pulled by a truck, and we found out that the wonderful tractor had broken down. Oh well... We were supposed to go swimming for our first two activities, but since Courtney doesn't like swimming, she wanted to go to the Silver Lining (a air-conditioned building that has a TV, games, and beanbags). So she, our cabin mom Debbie, and I did that. It was good to be in AC again! ACTIVITIES... Were good. We got to do horses the first day, first activity. Other activities throughout the week included theater (dressing up, basically) cafe (smoothie time with Gilbert Keith, the "sooo-famous British chef")rock-wall and zipline (that was cool watching the girls do it!)arts & crafts (paper bag albums, maybe one day I'll tell how to do those) and a host of other fun stuff! I think my favorites and Courtney's (we had a lot in common about camp) were cafe and science. One, we got to do them in the mess hall so we were early for lunch. Two, cafe was great because we had a staffer who didn't hold back. Matt was funny as he pretended to be the "great British chef, even more famous than Rachel Ray...Gilbert Keith!" He convinced the girls that his Americanized twin brother was who they called Matt. Courtney figured it out within a couple of days and promptly told him so! :) Science was funny because it took a total of four staffers to figure out how to shoot flame out of a PVC pipe (they were using flour, but come to find out you were supposed to use coffee creamer). AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST... At Inspiration Point at Camp, there's a cross with all the names of the campers who've been to camp at least once and since died. It's a beautiful place, with the cross set at the edge of a cliff with the river and a pasture below it. During Cross Carry, they take the cross through camp and each cabin gets to pray over it. This is a wonderful, beautiful time of prayer, love, worship, and praise. Words can't describe it enough. Cross Carry is held on the last night of camp. AND SO YOU SAY! Also, the last night of camp has a fun time called "Say So" which people are given a microphone and allowed to say something they enjoyed about camp. This is a time of laughter and tears as well, from a camper who says she doesn't want to leave to a thanks to the Barnstormers for all the hard work they've done! BACK FOR ANOTHER YEAR... Despite my incredibly long essay, words can't accurately describe camp. Fun, sorrow, hard work, laughter, tears, joy, irritation, and everything else are swept into a mix at Camp. Above all, I feel God's hand over Camp Barnabas. Paul, Cyndy, and many others working at Camp will definitely hear a "well done, good and faithful servant".

copyright 2007 by Magical Ink (magical-ink.blogspot.com)

Comments

Wow!

That sounds like a really neat camp to help at...

Kyleigh | Thu, 09/13/2007

It is...I never thought I'd

It is...I never thought I'd be interested in working around disabled people. Before I went last year, I was extremely nervous around people with the slightest disability. Once you're there you kinda let go all foreboding and have a blast!
Check out the website at www.campbarnabas.org. Pictures are worth a thousand words.
Thea

Heather | Sun, 09/16/2007

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Camp is the greatest

Hey the Camp is Awesome..My church and I go like every year we been going to term 7 for the past 4 years or so but my youth pastor is taking us at term 4, but i really like your essay thing, and by the way my names heather too!

Anonymous | Wed, 01/30/2008

Sweet!

That's cool that you guys go to camp! I sent in my staff app this year for 2nd term, and I really hope I get to go!
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Whatever you are, be a good one-Abe Lincoln

Heather | Thu, 02/21/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

hey there

Me and my twis has been going to Camp Barnabas as campers for 7 years (Counting this year) this is my first year as a CIA so i am a little nervous but not much. Everything you said is so true! it's a wonderful place to be. Me and my sister can't wait to come back every year!

Anonymous | Sat, 05/03/2008

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