The other day, one of my friends on Facebook posted some old pictures from 1997 and 1998 at Camp Kadesh. Those were some great times. It got me thinking about how I ended up signing up to be an LIT (leader in training). I am not exactly sure how it happened. I do remember when the camp director would come to our church and give a presentation on the previous summer and let our church know what was new at camp for this year. I think that's where the LIT seed was planted. Some friends and I decided to sign up. The year we signed up as LITs there were SO many people who wanted to be LITs that we only were given a week, and I think usually LITs were given two weeks at camp.
I am not sure I knew exactly what I was getting myself into by being an LIT, but I was up for it, as long as my good friends Karen and Arleen were there with me. I learned quickly that it wasn't going to be a cushy week of hanging out at camp. It was going to be work, and lots of it. LITs were responsible for washing dishes, cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors (just to name a few responsibilities).
When I was an LIT, Kadesh did not have flush toilets in their outhouses yet. So we had to clean the old gross smelly outhouse toilet holes. I remember the guy who taught me how to clean them; he dumped a couple of different chemicals down the toilet and told me, "If it doesn't make green smoke, it's not cleaning properly." I am pretty sure that wasn't true, and probably am now a couple of steps closer to having lung cancer because of him. :P
Even though it was hard grunt work, when I look back on my time spent there, I have nothing but great memories. I remember singing in the dish pit as we washed dishes. I remember having devotional times together. I remember sub runs to PA in the Eddy van (one time we had at least 15 people in that van, and there were NO seats other than the driver and passenger seats). Thank the Lord we made it to and from our destination safely.
I recall being kind of sad on Friday afternoon after a week at camp that it was time to go home (after a weekend spent at Arleen's aunt and uncle's cabin across the lake). Then something awesome happened. Daryl Houser called us (Karen, Arleen and I) into his office and said he needed a junior counselor for the next week and would any of us be interested. Arleen said she would be, and then he said Karen and I could stay another week if we wanted and be LITs again. We were super pumped!!
If I am not mistaken, I think Karen and I went back to Kadesh the next summer and worked as LITs again. Even though we should have progressed to the junior counselor level by then. We were both happy to go back and volunteer. Though by then we felt a little old. I believe the summer after that I went back and volunteered as a cook for a week. That was also a really fun time. Then in the summer of 2001 I felt lead back to Kadesh as a senior counselor. More good times :)
Kadesh holds a very special place in my heart. I was really excited to take Jason there and finally show him the place that I have so many fond memories of. I have always found that Kadesh is a place where it is almost impossible NOT to feel close to God. Maybe it's because when you are on staff you have staff meetings every day, where you pray, and you have chapel every day where you can hear God's word. I don't know if I have ever felt as close to God as I did when I worked at camp. If I ever have kids, you better believe they will be going to camp there once they are old enough!!