Purple Penguins: Week 1

Well, the first week of camp is officially over! I had six 10-year-old girls (the Purple Penguins) and they were all super sweet. This week had its frustrations and stressful moments, of course — there’s always that one time when someone forgets something and we have to walk all the way back to the cabin, or you know, sometimes that happens like 5 times a day. But overall I feel like it went really well.

One of my girls, Ella, had a prosthetic leg, but she was such a trooper about climbing the steep hills and even did the Leap of Faith and the climbing wall. She has got to be the sweetest, gentlest girl I have ever met — most mornings she would share a Bible verse with me and say, “I just thought that might help you get through the day.” And she would randomly give me shoulder massages, and she always offered to pray before we ate, and all around she pretty much just stole my heart.

Sunday night, the very first night of camp, my group was playing Power as kind of a get-to-know-you game. Later on when we met for worship in the tent, Ella was reading her Bible and she piped up, “Hey Babe, you know how we were just playing Power? Well I just read a verse about power so I thought that was cool!” It was Colossians 1:11 — “May you be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, that you may have great endurance and patience.” As it turned out, that kind of became my theme verse for the week. I would silently chant to myself, “P-O-W-E-R, we got the power…endurance and patience…endurance and patience…”

There’s no greater feeling in the world than being a role model for these girls. It’s a huge responsibility, but so very rewarding. It’s so cool to see how they start copying you in everything — yeah, even hiccups. They all thought it was funny how I always hiccup randomly, so one day 3 of them mysteriously got the hiccups that were so obviously fake. It was such a small thing, but it reminded me how much they look up to me, and I pretty much got to define the word “cool” however I wanted to.

Playing paintball this week was super awesome — the third day none of my girls played so it was just me and Curly’s guys, which they thought was pretty cool. The guys on my team kept going, “Yeah, we got Babe!” and the opposing team made me their target. With everyone shooting at me, I got out in the first 5 seconds with a paintball welt on my butt (sitting down is mildly uncomfortable, in case you were wondering). Second game I was determined to lose the girl stigma, so I got a good angle on this one guy and totally lit him up. I felt bad because I hit him 3 times before he could yell that he was out, but after the game I cleaned him up while he was being all tough and trying to look like he was in pain, but also trying to look like he was acting tough. (If you’ve ever played a sport with preteen boys, you know what I’m talking about.) He was really impressed, and from them on Curly’s group always high-fived me as I walked by with random comments of “Babe is hardcore,” or “For a girl, you’re pretty tough.” My girls decided they wanted some of that attention as well, so the next day they faced their fears and decided to play. (Lesson learned: use crushes to your advantage to push activities.) That game I got a super awesome welt on my left leg that made me even cooler in their eyes. This time, all my girls ran over to help clean off the paint and blood, and I was the one trying to look like I was in pain, but also trying to look like I was acting tough. 🙂

Thursday night we did the Mr. and Ms. Deer Run pageant. My girls dressed me in this horrendous 80’s button-down, a purple feather boa, a silver cape, bright red lipstick and way too much blush. For my talent I decided to goofily sing opera, and I told my girls they all had to get up on stage with me and dance really dramatically. They balked at the idea, lest the cute guys in Curly’s group see them, so I was like, “For real? You’re gonna dress me up like this and make me look silly all by myself?” I made them get up there and do it, and it ended up being a lot of fun.

This morning before closing celebration we were all sharing what we’d learned throughout the week. Most of the girls were repeating stuff from Bible study, like, “You can’t hide from God” or “God gives you strength” but one girl shared, “I really liked pillow talk because I learned that it’s okay to be yourself because God made you that way and everybody’s different, so we shouldn’t worry about being different.” Another girl chimed in, “Like dancing at the pageant, I was really nervous at first but I had fun because I decided not to worry about it!” I think that was possibly the most rewarding moment of the week. If they can grasp at 10 years old what it’s taken me 19 years to figure out, it’ll save them a lot of confusion and heartache later on. I just pray that that truth will stay with them and continue to take root and grow.

Last night was the last night of camp, so after worship we had a bonfire and made smores. Caleb was playing his guitar, and my girls and I were part of the group that was sitting around listening. I had one girl snuggled in my lap watching the fire, with precious Ella behind me, her little hands gently rubbing my back, and I started tearing up as it hit me how many pieces of my heart I’m going to give away this summer. I can’t believe the first week is over so soon. God, keep these precious girls safe and close to Your heart. I love them so much.

Published in: on June 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. You need to write a book. About everything in your head. And publish it and have great stories and overflowing happiness spread everywhere, because you are a great blogger. Which means you will be a great author.

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