The lodge was crowded and I could barely hear Kenzie, a camper sitting across from me, talking about her double jointed-ness as the rest of the table listened in both awe and disgust. Camper Maddie, sitting to Kenzie’s right, reached her thumb out nice and proud, presenting how one of her bones stuck out in a weird fashion. The table was in an uproar as hands clasped mouths and “EW!” “OH GROSS!” went flying out of her cabin mate’s mouths. I sat and allowed myself to watch as the girls continued interacting with one another giggling like crazy as they inspected their own thumbs, their counselor Kaari laughing loudly at the end of the table shaking her head, and my ears happily enjoying the sound of clinking silverware and staff member Forrest serenading us in the princess version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to earn some Lucky Charms.

After 17 days of staff training, camp has finally arrived and I am overcome with anticipation and joy for the days and weeks to follow. Sky Ranch has found its property full of brothers and sisters in Christ of all ages with anxious hearts ready to witness what the staff has been preparing and to learn and grow in faith alongside one another as we illuminate our summer theme “Come As You Are”.

Today’s theme, created, became obvious as I sat listening to the Seekers cabin talking about the “weird” gifts that they possess as they, perhaps, unintentionally, invited their peers to witness their genuine self. I sometimes find myself overthinking this day’s theme, trying to explain to my counselors how to facilitate meaningful discussions that reach deeper levels of thought in regards to being created in the image of God.  While those conversations are incredible and life-giving, I also believe there is something to be said for the small conversations that take place at the breakfast table, or walking from low ropes to the cabin to grab a jacket. Being vulnerable and authentic starts with acknowledging the little aspects of self that seem so insignificant; it is truly those specific things that give us our individualism, something created and molded by God.

It just figures, here I am trying to teach campers things and yet they have once again taught me so much in such a short amount of time about living into our authentic selves. I am looking forward to being enlightened in the weeks to come and growing in faith alongside these incredible people. Sending grace and peace down the mountain on this beautiful Monday from Sky Ranch!

Hailey Johnson
Onsite Coordinator