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A Week’s Worth of Adventures

Since people are asking me what I am studying and how my time is going and what I am doing, I am going to pull back the curtains on my past week of activities. As no two weeks are the same here at camp, with a constantly fluctuating ratio of classroom time, working hours, study hall, and extra-curriculars, you should not assume that this is what a typical week looks like. It was a particularly lively week, and I believe you will enjoy tagging along. Here we go!

Saturday, 9/22 I was not scheduled to work at all. Whether that was intentional or not, I cannot tell. I sure wasn’t going to ask, nor was I going to argue. I needed some time to catch up on laundry and homework after a late night shift in the Lodge Cafe and a long week. I did get in some quality research and writing on my Dream Camp Paper, our big project for the year. In it, I get to sketch out what my ideal camp would look like realistically if I were given the opportunity to start a camp from the ground up. My camp will be a wilderness adventure program designed to work closely with Musana Camps in Uganda.

On Sunday I rode my bicycle to church along with Tyler, one of the single contract staff here. It was a beautiful, chilly morning to ride. I was happy for a pair of liner gloves on the way to church, and by the time church was over it was balmy enough that I sent my jacket home with the girls. I was happy to chat with Graig for a minute at church. He is a high school teacher, originally from California, with a love for the Lord and a contagious enthusiasm for His work. After brunch at the dining hall I went back to Tyler’s apartment where the guys congregate to watch football. As I had been relieved from camp clean-up duty, I was excited to watch the Eagles play. As it turned out, I couldn’t watch the game with our hookup while the Vikings were playing, but I could watch NFL Redzone. My compromise was to listen to good old Merrill Reese call the game on 94WIP while keeping an eye out for scoring plays on tv.

I slept in for a bit Monday morning before setting off for a solid 7 mile run ending up at the highest point in Wisconsin. At just over 1,900′, Timm’s Hill is just that, one more hill in a gently rolling countryside. The wooden observation tower must be climbed (or run, in my case) just to see over the trees and get the view.

After lunch I had my first shift as a Retreat Host. This was little more than a shadowing of Joanna, LTD graduate from last years class and hosting supervisor. We were preparing for and welcoming a school group from Illinois who would be at camp until Friday. After supper we pulled a shift in the Lodge Cafe until 9:00, primarily scooping ice cream for wide-eyed elementary students.

On Tuesday morning we LTD students had a Hosting/AV/Sound class to prepare us for setting up meeting rooms for guest groups whom we will be hosting throughout the fall and winter. After lunch I assisted with a Geocaching class. Basically I rode around on my bicycle and made sure no one was wandering off course or falling into the lake. I had another shift of hosting from 3:00 to 9:00 that evening, which primarily meant that I was available for the guests if they needed anything. I sat in the cafe area working on my paper with an eye on the cafe. Periodically I would jump in to help when Kai had questions or got backed up with customers. By 8:30 I was off roaming the trails with 4 campers playing Wolf Pack. All you need to know is that the game is basically Sardines. In the woods. After dark. And the alpha wolf runs as fast as he pleases to avoid detection by the rest. The game is a huge tradition here at camp and after just one game I had to wonder how I made it adulthood without Wold Pack.

We had training in the coffee shop Wednesday morning. It was my first introduction into the world of the barista. I thoroughly enjoyed it, had a blast pulling espresso shots, and look forward to working in the Coffee Shop if the opportunity arises. Geoff and I were pulled from the class early to help welcome two more groups of school students who arrived before lunch. After lunch I assisted with an Orienteering class taught by a volunteer from out of the area. I had much to learn from Jim, a retired public school teacher and principal. My day was not yet over, though, as I had a shift of Dishroom Supervisor lasting until 6:30, or whenever there are no more dishes to wash. As tired as I was by now, I had a lesson to prepare for the next day and I had a paper to work on. Coffee was drank. Sleep would wait for another time.

By Thursday morning, camp was a lively place with three different school groups broken down into smaller groups doing all kinds of Outdoor Ed from High Ropes to Adventure Races to Bog Walks. It was my turn to teach Orienteering to eighteen 7th graders. This time I was the teacher and Jim The Veteran was my assistant. I was sure to lean heavily on him throughout the class as I was being observed and graded. Yes, this was only the second class I was a part of, and, yes, this grade would affect my final grade at the end of the year. I had a lot of fun with it, the kids enjoyed it a lot, their teachers and parents really got into it, and I ended up getting a 96% on the class. But wait, there’s more: I also got to help set up three different campfires after dark after the rain blew over. After much huffing and puffing we got them all burning brightly. We thought we should run out to check up on the farthest fire one more time before heading back in. I told Geoff to make a right down a trail that seemed like it would head in the right direction. We were no more than started down the trail when the fourwheeler sank in muck up to the frame. Oh boy. What a mess. That night we thanked God for a winch with a loooonnnnggg rope, we got mud everywhere, and we bush-whacked through the woods until it seemed that we would never get back out on solid ground again. We did laugh and giggle when we saw footsteps going straight through that mess and we knew that this must be the “bog” that the alpha wolf spoke of earlier in the week. We could only imagine what it must have been like to slog through muck halfway to the knee in the pitch dark of a rainy night. Poor Clark. .

Friday morning I got to help out with an Adventure Race which consisted of canoeing, orienteering, air rifles and mountain biking. Once again I was riding my bike everywhere just to make sure everyone made it back for supper. It was a wonderful adventure for everyone involved, although this Wisconsin fall is starting to feel more like Pennsylvania in November. Camp clean-up came again after lunch to get ready for the next wave. By the end of this, my injured foot was hurting dreadfully. I dragged myself into the trip room for a Climbing Trip orientation. I plopped on the floor, pulled off my shoe and just sat there through the whole thing. Per my instructor, Norm’s, recommendation, I sat with ice on it during the hour that I had off for supper. Then it was off to the Accom Office for my first shift as Accommodations Supervisor. Thankfully, this shift mostly existed of learning my responsibilities and doing a few rounds of restocking supplies. By 9:00 I was dismissed to go sit in on the first session of Man Camp. This was super refreshing as Stephen Mansfield spoke about the importance of having a band of brothers around us. I had heard rumors about Man Camp but didn’t bother too much about it because I knew that I would be Accom Supervisor the same weekend and didn’t expect that I would be to participate at all.

I got up in time to get some laundry started Saturday morning before heading off to catch the second session in the Great Room. There was much to consider as Stephen talked about the power of a spirit that is set free to overflow with life. I had some time to reflect as I biked back to the apartment and put in another load of laundry. From there I went back up to camp where Norm was leading a workshop on disciplines from which a man might benefit. The morning was very energizing as I recognized God doing a work deep inside my heart somewhere. I am so glad that he does not reach a point where he stops developing me.

Norm, Director of Educational Ministries and LTD at Forest Springs

My Accom shift for the day started with cleaning the dining hall after lunch. and moved on to more discussion in the office with Megan, LTD graduate and now Accom Director. We did make a round on the golf cart to check the outhouses which were in use. Of course we had to stop by the trap shooting area just to make sure there wasn’t anything over there needing attention. While we were out there we just happened to see the .50 caliber rifle that was obliterating pumpkins. For $4, anyone who was not on schedule could sign up to shoot the behemoth. After a round of emptying dumpsters we got to sit down and gorge on pot roast, ribs and smoked turkey. The atmosphere in that dining hall packed with nearly 300 men was a thing of beauty. Gunpowder and meat is truly a worthy description for this weekend. For all the men out there who are looking for more of these in their live, I am told that Forest Springs will be expanding Man Camp to TWO weekends next year!!

It was really hard to drag myself out of bed this morning, but I managed eventually to make it to my shift where I checked in on the cafe area and did some tidying up there. Before long it was time to straighten up the dining hall for brunch. After brunch, it was down to the great room to remove a hundred extra chairs. Then it was time for me to facilitate camp clean up. This is something that LTD students take turns with throughout the fall and winter. I was responsible for splitting up 29 people into 5 teams, assigning their areas for cleaning and inspecting their work after it was completed. Thankfully I was offered a golf cart to scoot around in between cabins because I was in pain by the time we were finished anyway. But wait, there’s more: I still had to do a round of building closing which took me over an hour and got me back to the apartment in plenty of time to watch the Ravens beat the Steelers.

Now I have to go get rested up for a camp visitation trip which starts tomorrow and ends Tuesday with rock climbing.



Until the next time,

Keep it lively!


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