We’d been talking about it for weeks. When Anne first suggested it at dinner back in June, every hand shot up: Yes! We want to go to camp! We filled out health forms. We pored over the packing list (yet still forgot a couple things). And then, last week, the day finally arrived. The minivan was fully loaded with duffel bags and campers. We took off!

But first, we had to stop for lunch. For weeks, S had had a powerful pregnancy-craving for Chic-Fil-A. So that’s where we stopped. Gosh those fries are good.

At the green and spacious Procter Center,  we unloaded the van to a chorus of children pleading for the pool. This was a theme of the trip. Mary Ellen was the bravest and jumped off the diving board many times. Though it was his first time at the pool, Toddler J splashed with delight in the kiddie pool for hours. Kids of all ages enjoyed the shallow kiddie pool because it was so warm in the sun.

Our guests strongly approved of the Procter kitchen’s lasagna and meatloaf, and we all appreciated the cherry tomatoes and salad greens from the on-site farm.

Because of her pregnancy, S didn’t get to join in the rougher games and activities. She spent a lot of time in the Arts & Crafts cottage, tie-dying T-shirts and painting, making art for her daughter and baby-to-be. Then we got bit by the friendship bracelet bug! Many a tangle of strings could be seen hanging off our water bottles, and half the heads at our table were down, focused on our knot-work after dinner was done.

We loved all the sing-song times at camp, and have brought a few camp songs home with us. The big finale of Family Camp was the BLOB. A terrifying, exhilarating experience wherein a camper seated at the end of the blob is launched (by the force of a counselor leaping onto the blob’s other end) into the air, flies for a moment, then lands in the lake. Not everyone was brave (or foolish?) enough to try it. But we got to see Kid A somersault in the air, and our co-founder Mary Ellen go flying.

Family Camp was a great opportunity for the volunteers, staff, and guests of Lydia’s House to bond as a “fmaily group”. We ate, sang, and played together. Though we do these things at home in Cincinnati, it is special to be together in a beautiful place where we are reminded so often of God’s love and presence.

All the guests of Lydia’s House who have gone to camp in their life remember it happily, even if everything else in their lives at the time was rough. So we are glad to continue in the tradition of this safe, fun escape. We especially thank Procter Center and the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer for their scholarship support. ***