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Camp Lessons for Quarantine

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Camp Lessons for Quarantine

by Ellen Goodling, Deer Run Staff

Honestly, I am getting tired of reading about, “these unprecedented times,” mostly because the phrase is accurate. Our world has been turned upside-down as we globally take on the practice of dying to ourselves in order to save the lives of others. It is scary, it is difficult, and we don’t know when it will end. 

However, I have been reminiscing about the pre-corona days at camp to get me through. In fact, during quarantine, I have come to the conclusion that Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost people are more prepared for these unprecedented times than most, and here are just a few reasons why: 

We Can Do Hard Things

Wapitis having fun! Ellen second from right.

I tend to sum up my first summer at camp with the phrase: “It was the hardest summer of my life…and it was awesome.” We do difficult things at camp, like hiking, putting up the H-pier, and going on 12 day fishing trips in the middle of nowhere Canada—and most of time we do them in the rain after four hours of sleep. But, every time we are faced with a challenge, we have previous camp stories of perseverance and hilarity to get us through. Like camp, quarantine is hard, but remember that you have likely seen darker (and rainier) times than these, and you have previous stories of God’s faithfulness to give you hope! I know that He will see us through to the other side. Even though it is hard, it will be redeemed. 

We Value Stillness

Because camp is exhausting, we learn to make room for rest. In between banquets and Krazy Karnivals, we go the mountains, we schedule quiet times, we take rest hour (BEST hour!) seriously, and we walk silently together to Sunday chapel. Camp is chaos, but it is also a precious place to be still and hear God speak in a “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12 NIV). So, though this quarantine may feel like a little too much stillness, remember now, how you learned to value it, and open your heart to accept it again.

We Have FUN!

Remember all those rainy days? I bet you do very fondly! That’s because at camp we know how to make the best out of any situation. We sing, we smile, we laugh at the absurdity of our endeavors, we lean on each other, and we choose joy always. Time at camp is precious to us, and we never let it go to waste. Quarantine can be precious too. Remember how you used to smile through the rain, lean on the love of those around you, and sing your favorite camp song to get you through! 

At camp, we can do the hard things, find the still moments, and have some fun because we rely on God fully to make it through each day. We can do the same in these “unprecedented times.” So, remember the summer and let the lessons you learned get you through to the next one! 

Pictured far right, Ellen Goodling is a Theatre Education Major at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. She arrived at Camp Deer Run as a brand-new staff member last summer (2019), where she worked as a Wapiti counselor and taught waterskiing, yoga, and, of course, Random Explosions. She has been counting down the days to summer 2020 ever since! You can get in touch via email egoodling@windstream.net

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