Highlights from Term 7, 2010

This week was an incredible week at Camp Barnabas. I will admit, I went into the week expecting things to be pretty much the same as it has been the past three years. I was unexpectedly surprised at how different it was this week, and found myself in awe of how God knows exactly what we need when we need it.

Upon arrival, I found out that I was in Ronni's cabin again! Ronni has been my favorite camper the past two years, and I had honestly prayed to be a part of her cabin again this year. I was THRILLED to hear I was with her again, as well as Lilly, Maddie, and Sara! These girls have all touched my heart in different ways of the past couple years so I was excited about what God had for us this week!

I will be honest, we had a tough cabin. The girls in the cabin had Down's Syndrome and/or Autism. I expected the week to be full of challenges, but the challenges I faced were somewhat unexpected.

The past two years, Sara was pretty indifferent toward me. This year, she thought I was pretty cool. Well, sometimes I was cool, and sometimes I wasn't cool, but she was my major challenge for the week. In years past, I have simply helped with Ronni because Sara didn't respond to me. This year was different because Sara somewhat responded to me. It depended upon the situation at the time as to whether or not I really helped Sara, but I felt my role was to support her CIA and Cabin Staff as they took the brunt of the physical labor involved in taking care of Sara effectively. As the week progressed, I found my heart growing for Sara. Honestly, I never knew I could love a kid so much that proved to be so character- building. God taught me a great deal through this little 9 year old girl. Sara could be sweet too, which made the tough parts worth it. I loved her more than I thought possible, which was definitely a God thing.

As for Ronni, she was a jewel. Ronni has made great strides since camp last year. She walked to activities more than she has before, and sat and ate all her dinner without running out of the dining hall. I liked that because I could enjoy my meal. Sure, she would go up on stage and sing in the mic after each meal, but that was easy compared to the past two years. She also went straight into the shower without being forced, which was HUGE! She is growing up and it was GREAT to be able to see the growth she has made. She was also the highlight of my week as she would occasionally say "Shanna, come here!" which would make my little heart melt. One night we had a movie night, and she turned to me and licked my face which left me laughing so hard it hurt! (Don't asked me why she licked me, she just did!) The pool was also a hit, as she would sit me under the water and get me wet!!! The pool is my favorite thing to do with Ronni, as she likes the water! The other Ronni highlight was when we were in the cabin and she was doing my hair, and she lifted my bangs and saw my wrinkles. She then licked her fingers and attempted to rub the wrinkles off. I asked if she got it off, and she said "nope!" It was adorable!

Lilly was a jewel as well. The thing that touches me the most about Lilly is that she can pray! She prayed out at Cross Carry, which was GREAT! Lilly is an easy camper to have in a cabin as she does pretty much whatever needs to be done. It is precious. There were moments when Lilly would see someone upset and she would go over and hug them. Of course, if someone kissed her on the cheek she would say "No kissing!" It was so cute! I hope to be in Lilly's cabin again next year. She always makes me smile!

Maddie is a child with Autism and she was sweet to me this week. We had never really clicked before, but we seemed to this year. Her CIA got sick the first full day, so I was partnered up with her for a while. She grabbed my arm during that time and used several words that weren't appropriate at one point, but I was her safe person at that time. It was touching to me, even though Maddie was having a rough time. Once her CIA was better, she did better. I was glad Maddie was in my cabin again. I hope she is in it again next year.

We had four new campers, and they were all precious too. I didn't get to know some of them as much as I would have liked because I was helping so much with Ronni and Sara, but they all were sweet.

Gracie was small and cute and one-of-a-kind. She was an easy camper and my main interaction with her was in the cabin playing with a little ball during our down time. She reminded me of how simple life can be. She was really sweet.

Hannah was also a sweet girl who likes to hug people! I was also amazed how Hannah could be honoree too! She kept us all laughing and smiling. She was a keeper!

Jenny was sweet, but I never really connected with her. I tried a couple times, but she didn't seem to take to me, which was fine. Our inside joke was when I would say "High Five!" and she would say "No" and we would both grin. I never pushed her, as I knew there were others who could minister to her. I liked her though. She was really sweet.

Darci was new as well, and I really liked her. She was more active than some of our other campers, which kept us on our toes, but she was a very sweet girl. She found a caterpillar one day at it was sweet how she took care of it. Well, until she poured water on it and killed it. *grin* But it was still really sweet to watch. Darci and I didn't spend a lot of time together, but when we did I liked her a lot. On closing day, she wanted to take pictures on my camera so I followed her around the cabin a lot as she was taking pictures of everything. It was sweet.

The most touching moment for me was one night at Wrap-Up when we were singing a slow song in worship. Both Ronnie and Sara were fighting for my attention ("She is my Shannon" is what Ronni and Sara said more than once!) and I was sitting in between them to keep them from fighting and Lilly came up to sit by me too. I found myself singing to all three of them, and felt God's love in a fresh way in that moment. God is wanting our attention just as those girls were wanting mine. It was a moment I will never forget. The girls have no idea what that moment meant to me, but God does, and that's what counts!

While I'm still processing a lot that God taught me, I am going to go ahead and post some quotes heard in our cabin this week. I may write more in days to come, I may not. I am headed back out to Camp tomorrow to serve for Term 8. Honestly, I am a little nervous about this Term because I won't know any of the campers this week. But, I know that everyone in my cabin will be there because God put them there.

"I think I just died"--Carson after spending a day with Sara.

"I'm pretty sure Sara is proposing and she said no". Rachael referring to Sara and another camper.

"Will you help me?"

"No HItting!"

"Sara, please place the toilet paper in the toilet." Carson

Rachael: Lilly, you need to shower tonight because Sara pooped in the bathtub.
Lilly: Can I see?

"Now I see why you pray for this cabin every year." Carson after seeing Ronni being funny and happy at the movie party.

"Silence is golden."

Tomorrow I head to Camp for Term 8, which is Blind and Deaf Week.

Something tells me that this week is going to be a lot different! *grin*

Good! *grin*