We took 35 kids and counselors to Hidden Falls Ranch on Monday for a three day camp filled with all kinds of fun. We hiked, climbed, zip-lined, rappelled, rode horses, played in mud, told scary stories, swam, played games, roasted S’mores, ate great food, learned about how much we’re loved by Jesus and even slept a little bit. Check out the pictures that follow – they’ll tell a better story about the week than my words.
Above is Martavean. He’s a funny kid who hates heights. So he definitely wasn’t climbing any walls. He finally got onto a horse on our last day as long as one of the HFR staff got on with him. He stayed up there for all of 30 seconds. But at least he tried!
The big hike is always my favorite part. For a bunch of the kids, it isn’t because “it’s too hot” and we have to climb a lot. And there are cacti everywhere. I always tell them they’re building character. They don’t believe me. These kids rarely get to venture out of their neighborhood, let alone out of the city and into nature. So it’s so fun to get them out of their element. One boy asked me if there were any bears or monkeys out in the canyon. I told him no, but to watch out for mountain lions. I’m mean that way…
We muddied up a portion of the horse arena and the kids got disgustingly muddy. Everyone fully committed to the nastiness and had a great time. It took about an hour and a half to get them all hosed off and showered up and half-way clean. It was quite an effort, but totally worth it.
We had a time of singing, prayer and Bible study at night. We even roasted S’mores, which were a huge hit.
I’m so thankful for all my help corralling all the kids. Pictured above, second from the left is Krisitin Tuttle. She served this summer as the local missions intern at Hillside Church under Brady Clark, my good friend and Mission 2540 board member. He made helping me out all summer one of her duties as intern, and she was awesome. She took care of all the girls at camp along with Quinn, one of my high school girls I’ve known forever. Next to Kristin is Ben, Quinn’s brother who helped with the boys. He and Ty, another of our High School kids, went on numerous camps and activities with me with they were younger. After dealing with all those crazy boys, they apologized for how bad they and their buddies acted for me years ago. I was really proud of the responsibility they showed during the week. Next to Ben is Logan, a good friend of Kristin who I hope is thankful she dragged him along! Michael Grady helped with the boys as well. He was awesome and is going to be involved with Mission 2540 in bigger ways this fall. They boys all loved him, except for when he made them clean the bathroom for punishment. As usual, Suzanne Schroder was able to spend time with us there as well. She spent most of Monday with us and came back on Wednesday to take a bunch of pictures and help get us home. She’s the best!
Really, I’m just so thankful for Hidden Falls Ranch, their staff, and everyone who gave so that we could all get away and provide these kids with an amazing camp experience they’ll be talking about the rest of the year. It’s a great escape for them to get away, just be kids, and discover God’s love. It’s always and exhausting week, but one of my favorite parts of the year.