Andy and I were the best kind of friends. We were both 11 years old, and we were great at being 11 years old. Among other junior high misadventures, we regularly camped out together in his backyard. It sounds like no big deal, right? It was a big deal. After setting up camp, we would snake an extension cord out from the house to our tent. We would then take an old, dusty television set and hook up his original Nintendo Entertainment System (yes, that relic that ran on punch cards or hamsters or whatever went on inside those gray cartridges). We did all of this before “glamping” was even a thing.
We rode bikes, played basketball and soccer, and basically enjoyed the great things about being 11. Admittedly my budding basketball skills couldn’t be called a “great thing,” but we had fun. One day, Andy and his family did something that changed my 11-year-old life. They invited me to Camp Brookwoods.
I was terrified of going to camp. My parents had been encouraging me to go since I was 8 years old and as each summer rolled around I clung to my mother and to my comfort zone at home just a little harder. Then Andy got involved, and it changed everything.
Could I handle camp if Andy was there? Could we get an extension cord long enough to make it from Andy’s back yard to Lake Winnipesauke? The answer was yes (about Andy – the extension cord was simply too short, however hard we pulled). I signed up for camp with him that year and since then I literally have not missed a summer at camp.
At camp I found real mentors who showed me how to shape my faith and personal values. I found the confidence to try new things. I learned the importance of changing your underwear… at least sometimes. It was the beginning of an ongoing formative experience that shaped who I have become as a man from that day forward.
I want to remind you that it is a special, life-changing thing when you choose to tell someone new about camp. I have said it before, and I still maintain that telling a friend about camp is as much a participation in our ministry as running a cabin is.
Please take a minute to think of who you could tell about Moose River Outpost. You may, in fact, change their life forever.