- Jarod Richmond
As I write this blog, it is 8:15 p.m. on the second night of Night Camp, and I am sitting in one of my favorite Adirondack chairs on the Lodge porch overlooking Lower Narrows Pond.
The campers are at FOB (Feet on Bunks for those of you who haven't been to camp in a while). I know what some of you are thinking, FOB at 8:00 pm.?! This is Night Camp, and therefore very little, if anything makes sense.
A rainstorm has just finished rolling through here, and it was nothing short of one of Norm’s famous campfire rainstorms; the wind picked up out of the North, and a couple of drops turned into a torrential downpour as kids went fleeing into the Lodge from a game of kickball.
These are all scenes that haven’t had a chance to really play out here at Mechuwana since the summer of 2019. Granted, we did have our Day Camp program in 2021, but we are right in the thick of the first week of overnight camp since before the pandemic. It has been right around 33 months since we last ran our overnight program, and with God’s sense of humor, it makes sense that we have 33 campers… That being said, things have picked up right where we left off. The kids have been awesome, the staff has been amazing and camp… well, it is still camp.
During this hiatus from overnight camping I have had this recurring thought, that Mechuwana is not just a place, but a people. The ways that the people who are part of this tradition have persevered through these last 33 months, The ways, through Norm’s leadership and countless hours from countless staff and volunteers, we have been able to continue to minister, it is nothing short of amazing.
But sometimes that place needs its people, and those people have returned to the cabins, the waterfront, those paths that we all have trod.
Like clockwork, that magical feeling was right here for us when we returned. Which leads me back to how when you combine this place and its people, does the real magic happen. That rainstorm I just mentioned, well, it has let up now, and one of the most vibrant rainbows I have ever seen here is filling the sky above the Lodge, reflecting off the lake, and I am reminded of two things: God’s Covenant with Noah at the end of the great rainstorm and the poem that hangs in the Commons titled “Clouds,” written by longtime camp counselor Pam Marschall. There is a certain hope that exists behind the storm clouds that we sometimes lose sight of, and a joyous sense of optimism that lives at the end of that rainbow. I sit here reminded of both and how lucky we are to have this place we call Mechuwana. And how thankful I am that we can continue our ministry.
The kids are starting to stir from their bunks from FOB now, and 2:00 a.m. and lights out seems forever away, but the loons are calling, there are games to be played, laughter to be had, and the continued magic of Mechuwana to experience. But for a moment, in the stillness of this Adirondack chair, on the Lodge porch, everything feels right with the world. If this is a sign of the summer to come, then it is going to be truly blessed. Now time to find some coffee…
- Jarod Richmond, Executive Committee Member/Night Camp Co-dean