As soon as we pull up in our van and luggage truck, the forest begins to echo with "Summit Ridge is here!" And "Nathan is here!"
Isn't it nice to have a place where everybody knows your name?
Camp is beautiful. While Las Vegas is sitting pretty in 106 degree weather, getting out of the truck in Prescott, in the shade of the trees, feels a beautiful 82 degrees.
Immediately, the students are captured by the magic of the rustic beauty that is Prescott Pines Camp. The energy is already high and exciting as the summer staff greet us at the office before we sign in for camp.
After checking in and moving in to our cabins for the next week, I am whisked away to the first leader meeting while the students are left to explore the camp and meet new students from other churches from all over the Western United States.
It's so encouraging coming year after year and seeing the same faces year after year, all with new stories and experiences, each looking older than the year before.
I guess that's what youth ministry does to you.
After the leader meeting, I headed towards the dining hall, hoping that a few of our students would be there, waiting for dinner, but, behold, I see the entire group together, playing ninja in line for dinner with new friends.
Of course they're on time. It's a standard we live by!
Dinner is phenomenal, barbecue chicken with baked beans, corn in the cob, all the stuff you could want for a first meal at camp.
Dinner ends, and the Ridge Uth heads own to the MAC which is the camp's gymnasium with two basketball courts and ping pong tables, balls hidden away in closets for the using. The MAC is a massive structure, an ancient Aframe building rising like an arrowhead out of the trees.
One very fun and sad game of basketball later, the staff and rest of the campers enter the MAC where we would start our first night game: flags and cheers.
The game is simple: meet the rest of the campers on your team, design a flag, and make up a team cheer to show your ferocity and team spirit to the other teams.
Oh and you only have 40 minutes to do both.
Of course Summit Ridge dominated. We took second place in both our flag and our cheer.
Ryan Senters led an incredible chapel alongside the band, Army of Light.
If you're not sweating at the end of worship, then you're probably not in the same building as we are.
After chapel, we met in the oldest building on camp, the prayer chapel.
The prayer chapel is a rustic beauty of a building sitting high on a hill with a beautiful view of the stars that inspires deep thought purely by its atmosphere.
While the other youth groups are pranking each other and prancing around the forest in the wee hours of the morning, Ridge Uth is in bed early, physically and mentally preparing themselves for the team challenges in the morning.
I am always blown away by the passion for excellence our kids display. They are ruthlessly competitive and unceasingly loving. I am always blown away.
So here I sit, drinking freshly French-pressed coffee and listening to All Sons & Daughters' Give Me Jesus in the light of the rising sun among the trees and beauty of God's creation. Praise the one who
brings all things together for His glory!
I am already floored by the hearts of the students this week.
Continue praying for the students this week as well as God speaks through Ryan and works in the hearts of the leaders and students alike.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, all creatures here below
Praise Him above, he heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Nate T B