THIS IS NOT THE ANNOUNCEMENT...however it IS about the most magical place on earth...and no, it's not Disney.
I hate hate hate that I can’t share my news yet, but in the meantime, I DO want to share with you about a family camp I went to this summer. I know, family camp sounds super weird and maybe even a bit corny but normal and cool is soooo 1990. In short, it was the Best. Trip. Ever. (And as you can tell from the pic above, there are theme nights. Obviously Caitlin did not want in on the family camo theme.)
Sometimes when people have an extraordinary experience and are asked about it, they say things like, “ It’s so hard to put into words” or “I can’t even begin to describe it!” This is not my problem when it comes to talking about Pine Cove family camp. My problem is that I want every word I use to describe this camp to carry the magnitude of joy I felt while I was there. My problem is I want bigger/better/more words than I have in my vocabulary to tell you about this magical place. My problem is I want to somehow transfer my experience into your body so you can understand it. Because some things just have to be experienced in order to be understood. This place, ya’ll. I can’t quit this place. We drank the Kool-Aid, bought the shirts, and cranked it like a chainsaw. We are ALL IN. Instead of going into the minutiae of why I love this camp so much, I’m going to narrow it down to 3 things:
1. The Counselors -Calling these young men and women the cream of the crop would still be a gross understatement. They’re basically unicorns in human skins. I have never met young adults more concerned with the needs of others. Look, I know some of you may be thinking, “That’s their job. They’re getting paid to care for your every need.” Clearly you’ve never been a camp counselor. The monetary gain is SLIIIIMMMM. They’re basically paid in high fives and side hugs. Seriously. And what young 20-somethings choose to spend their summers serving and loving on families? This is not normal, but after meeting some of these men and women, I realized-- they really aren’t normal. They are high energy, Jesus-loving, hard working, Kingdom-minded, helping-handed, chant-loving, feet of Jesus, disciple-makers. And smiling is their favorite. For real. These young men and women make this place what it is. I’m not sure if they’re drinking Jesus or Red Bulls all day but my goodness do they have a lot of energy. And funny enough, little kids have high energy too so it’s a perfect match. They are there showing kids how much fun it is to love God and live out their faith… and they’re cool (Because lesbihonest, some people don’t even make it look like fun to follow Jesus. And no, they weren’t decked out in Jesus Freak shirts and bracelets. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)
2. Reprieve from Mom and Dad duties -It’s like a bunch of parents got together and came up with a list of the most stressful things about vacationing with kids and figured out a way to alleviate them. I wish we had started going to Pine Cove about 5-7 years ago when it was a GRIND to go on vacation with the kids. (Plug to moms of toddlers: SIGN UP FOR THIS CAMP! You need a break more than anyone! Pinky promise you’ll love it.) For example, meal times. With small kids, meal times are an opportunity to play “How many times can I make Mom/Dad get up before their food is cold?” Kids aren’t taught this game; it’s somehow burned into their brain upon arrival into the world. With that being said, every meal you have at Pine Cove will not involve this game. You will not lift one single finger during meals except to feed yourself. A counselor is assigned to your table, which means he/she will fill your drinks, he/she will butter their rolls, he/she will CUT UP YOUR KIDS’ FOOD. You read that right and I am not even kidding about it. The counselor will get up and get your kids whatever they think they need. This service allows your family to enjoy a meal without anyone leaving the table. It’s magical, like the land of Narnia. (Moms of babies, I wouldn’t tell you this if I hadn’t witnessed it with my eyeballs. Are you ready? A counselor will HOLD YOUR BABY WHILE YOU EAT! I’m telling ya’ll, it’s like a land where unicorns roam. Are you clicking the links now to sign up?) For those of you that have children who require more attention and care due to special needs, YOU NEED THIS CAMP. Your precious child will not only still get to participate as his/her abilities allow, he/she will have their own counselor for the week. It brings tears to my eyes even now when I think about watching these college kids love on these extraordinary children. They are so patient and gentle with these kids. It was almost like they considered it an honor to take care of these children. I know it blessed me and I was just a bystander.
3. Family -There are thousands of camps for kids. There are also hundreds of conferences/retreats for married people (Thousands? Hundreds? I don’t know, but there are a lot.) But rarely do you find a camp that is for families. They understand the value of a strong family unit. Whether you’re married, divorced, widowed, or single, they want to serve your family. They have designed this camp to set parents up to bond with their kids. All those good intentions we have as parents to spend quality time with our kids, they are making a reality. They provide materials and a specific time to have devotionals as a family. They provide opportunities for your family to go do things together i.e. zip lining, tubing, water skiing, etc. They give you a night to spend with your teenagers to speak God’s truth into their lives; telling them who they are in Christ and offering a chance to ask/give forgiveness over the broken parts of your relationship. This place wants to make it easy for parents to win with their kids. It offers a safe place to connect and grow as a family and give memories to last a lifetime.
I know this post may seem long-winded but I promise I’m only scratching the surface of this enchanted place. I’m sure some of you are now thinking, “This all sounds too good to be true but just in case a land of unicorns DOES exist…how much does it cost?” I’m not gonna lie to you, unicorns and rainbows come at a cost. But if your family can afford to save up for a trip to see a giant mouse and stand in line for 1 million hours, you can swing this camp. And once you get there, you don’t pay for anything. Cabins, 17 meals, entertainment, unicorns, stronger families, and memories are ALL included in the cost. Think of it as an investment in your family. Trust me, it’s just that good. You can also do a payment plan if that works better for your family. We made Pine Cove our only trip for the summer and it was worth every penny. Our kids are still talking about it. And if Texas is too far of a hike for your people, they’re opening a new camp location in South Carolina next summer! Please consider this camp for your family, it will be money well spent!!
Here's the linky-loo so you can check it out for yourself!