You find a good bundle of sticks, and take a break to look at a red newt one of your friends spotted under a rock. Then you head back through the woodsy trail to your campsite. Your counselor is hanging up the tarp you’ll sleep under tonight; the worship coordinator is building the fire; a CIT is telling riddles. Home in the Woods feels different from any other moment at camp. It feels like there is no schedule at all, no rush to be here or there. It’s the perfect time to tell your friends that story you’ve been meaning to spin, or go catch crawdads in the creek before dinner.
Time passes slowly, and eventually you make your silver turtle for dinner, all wrapped in foil and shaped like a flamingo or a chocolate kiss. Now it’s time to sit next to your friends around the fire and talk about who’s going to win the spirit paddle, and what your skit is going to be. Your counselor serves your food and it is AMAZING!
When the lightning bugs come out, it’s time for a wagon ride. All of your unit packs together on the wagon and sees all of Alta Mons, from the Roanoke River to the falls trail, and then stops to hear a story about a boy named Willie Jack. You shout and sing on the way back to your campsite; the moon is out now, and the stars are dazzling.
Home in the Woods night is one of the most special parts of a week at Camp Alta Mons. Part of what makes it special is the once-a-year dinner of silver turtles, the wagon ride, the tarps and the sounds of the night around you as you sleep. But what makes it the most special is the people you spend it with.
You met your unit on Sunday evening during check-in. Usually they are like strangers at first. Getting to know your new friends can make you nervous and can take a long time. But soon, by Wednesday night, when everyone crowds around the fire pointing at their meals, and your tarp-mates take off their smelly socks before bed, these strangers have become your family!
Nothing quite says “family” like building a rock bridge across the creek so that no one will get their sneakers wet. Nothing quite says “friendship” more than making a s’more with your friend’s stick they’re sharing with you. There’s nothing more special than a sleepover in the woods, surrounded by trees and the sound of the stream, giggling with your pals until midnight. Home in the Woods is the time to bond with your new camp family, and to be in communion with God’s creation. It’s a time to reflect on all of the things you may have thought were impossible, but through teamwork, companionship, and the strength God gave you, you were able to accomplish.
It’s the community that makes Home in the Woods night so special, which is why it’s possible to do it at home. While Home in the Woods at Alta Mons is beautiful and memorable, you can build the same memories in your living room or in your backyard, as long as you spend it with the people you call family!
This week for your Camp @ Home challenge, we challenge you to bond with your family and friends! One night this week, do Home in the Woods or Home in the Living Room or Home in the Yard! Spend some intentional time together with your family, away from electronics, and sleep somewhere different! You can even make silver turtles together for dinner! Share your night with us by sending us a picture or video of you and/or your family bonding! Share it with us by using #AltaMonsCampatHome and emailing it to email@example.com