Camp Elk Run 2017

A Bible, a jackknife, and work gloves. These were on the list of required things for Vince to pack yesterday. 

We are short a farmer around here…Vince left this morning for a WEEK-LONG camp.  And it looks to be a bit of an unusual experience. 

More than 1000 boys and counselors are attending.  It is in the Black Hills, in an area owned by South Dakota Game Fish and Park.  Basically, it is in the middle of nowhere 30 miles northwest of Custer, South Dakota.  

Vince got on a bus at 10:00 this morning with 2 of his close friends.  

Vince, with his good friends from our church group for boys.

When they arrive, each group will receive 12 foot poles, a 30×40 piece of plastic (like what we farmers use to cover silage piles), plastic and twine.   They will use these things to build a tent. All meals are cooked themselves at their campsites (most years over a campfire but they may be bringing in grills due to the drought).  There is no electric access for the boys and all water is brought in.  

They will experience archery, marksmanship, geocaching, hiking Harney Peak, visiting Mount Rushmore and doing a service project.  A live praise and worship band will be a part of each of their evenings.   Not all boys attending are members of the Christian Reformed Church like we are, but the boys program in our church is called Cadets, and if you wanted to attend this Internationak Camporee, you had to do the necessary Cadet work to qualify. 

It seems to be that some of the objectives of camps like this is to break kids down physically and emotionally so that they will be raw spiritually and ready to hear God speak to them. I never thought I would say this, but Vince has been less of the easy-going, hard-working, fun-loving boy that he was.  The past year, he has been so much more emotional and influenced by his friends opinions on things like what is and isn’t cool.  It really breaks my heart, and is certainly a rough part of parenting for me.  I keep telling myself it will get better as he ages through this part of his childhood. 

Can you imagine how icky the laundry will be after a week?  Vince packed deodorant but your guess is as good as mine as to whether he will use it.   Part of me thinks a professional dental cleaning will be in order when he comes home. 

In any case, I am so thankful for all the volunteers to make this happen!  I pray that he is safe and doesn’t need his knife to fend off coyotes at night or whatever.  I hope his new work gloves come back worn after a tough service project.  But more than anything, I want him to read his Bible and feel that closeness to God.   That is what this Mom really wants!