Imagine it’s a hot and humid Sunday evening in July. You have just survived the long check-in process, made your wood cookie name tag (more on that next week!), played SO MANY name games with the kids in your unit, and finally your counselors say it’s time to head towards dinner. You walk towards the hogans and find that someone has driven the tractor with the wagon full of your luggage to the bottom of a hill. The hill looks enormous as you glance up at it. As you pick up your luggage and start carrying it up the Unit 8 hill, you realize this could be a bigger endeavor than you originally planned for. How will you make it to the top carrying ALL of the things you brought—your suitcase with wheels, your pillow, your sleeping bag, AND that extra bag with the 5 towels and 1 gallon of sunscreen that mom insisted you bring. Just as you are huffing and puffing and your energy is running out, your camp counselor shows up and shares the load with you. They offer to carry that suitcase straight to your bunk!
Once you make it to the top, your counselor mentions that the group needs your help carrying the cookout supplies to the large picnic table that’s under the shelter between the two hogans. What? Go back down the hill? We just got here! You follow along and end up helping another camper carry the world’s heaviest water cooler up to the top of the hill. Then a loud car horn blares down by the wooden table and the porta potties. What does that mean? Dinner’s here? And we have to go get it? Up and down the hill yet another time, this time carrying the salad and garlic bread that’s part of dinner. Gosh, eating sounds so good right now!
As you sit down to dinner, your counselors explain that you’ll be eating family style all week. If you need something, please ask someone in the group to help you out by passing the item your way. “And please share the bug juice! We want to make sure there’s enough to go around.”
By the time you’re in line to make your Sunday night pie iron, you know you’re going to have a great week. Even though the kids in your unit are still strangers to you at this point (they say there’s this thing called “low ropes” in the morning) you have a good feeling about the group. There are a couple kids you’ve already started warming up to and your counselors seem great. Maybe these people will be real friends. Real friends who can know that you really hate green beans and that your dad died last year. The week seems to have unlimited potential and as you walk back to the hogans and look up at the stars, you know that God’s here too. Sharing this week with you and this group of strangers.
At Camp Alta Mons sharing is more than just letting your brother choose the next TV show or taking turns doing dishes. It means putting the group first. It means waiting for someone to pass you the mashed potatoes and making sure there’s enough bug juice to go around. It means hiking at the pace of the slowest person in your group and responding to the question “How are you today?” with an honest answer. The more we share with each other, the more we grow as a group and create community. In community, we learn to open ourselves to the people around us and to share our experiences, thoughts, and questions as we grow together and become connected in Christ. We tackle the hard questions and the difficult topics. We see new perspectives and we become more aware of ourselves. We share our lives with each other.
This week, we challenge you to share a family style meal. It can be whatever meal you want and you can eat it wherever you want—the in the backyard, at the dining room table, in the living room, whatever works best for you. Have someone set the table (reference the place setting chart below), ask someone to say grace, and enjoy your time together. Take a picture and email it to email@example.com to officially enter this week’s challenge. We also encourage you to share about your Camp @ Home experience on social media by using the hashtag #AltaMonsCampatHome on Facebook and Instagram. We hope that this week your family unit will share some things—conversations, meals, thoughts, and feelings. And that it will help you grow in your relationship with each other and Christ.