last year as a kamper…

wow!!! i just spent two weeks in bayfield, colorado, having the time of my life. this was my last year as a kamper at k-colorado and it could not have been any better. i had by far the best cabin of guys i’ve ever had in my five years as a kamper there. the twelve of us (10 kampers, 2 counselors) hit it off pretty quickly. coming from all over the country, we bonded incredibly. throughout the term, we were able to open up the deepest parts of our hearts to one another. we shared everything from our stuff to our struggles. we became brothers. we became close… real… true… friends. we had each other’s back. we loved and deeply cared for each other. it was an amazing community. a great family. along the way, we had many great adventures. every kamper chooses three specialties that they get to do thoughout the term. i picked rock climbing, lake fun & sun, and institute. during the three days of climbing, we bouldered at turtle lake and top-roped at x-rock and in cascades which is one of the more beautiful places on this planet. the wheather was pretty horrible (or awesome depending how you look at it) at the lake. it was extremely windy, ghastly cold, and the waves became whitecaps. i did some jetskiing, mostly with my buddy caleb. it was a fun time. most of the time was spent sitting around on the dock or in a boat ride listening to explosions in the sky. it was pretty chill. it was also a great time to just slow down and experience God’s beauty around the lake. the last specialty i chose, institute, is very unique to k-colorado. it consists of teaching from andy braner or luke parrot about worldview, apoligetics, religions, origins, sex, dating, culture, media, humanitarian issues, global crisis’, community, discpleship, and many more things. the part that i did was mainly focused on discipleship as well as the global community and issues that it faces, and we actually went out into the local community and did some service work. we talked about what breaks your heart? the things that make you get up and move. the things that make you pound the the table in rage. the things that make you cry out. we talked about poverty, genocide, sex traffiking. we talked about what we can do about these things. actually, i, along with some guys from my cabin, are in the process of creating a company that can help out with some of this stuff. more on that later.the last day, we (about 60-80 of us) went to nearby durango and cleaned up some mountain biking trails. it was a really cool thing to be a part of. all of these kids taking a whole day to clean up a trail that they will probably never use when they could be doing some crazy activity instead. it was just really cool. about every other night, we had parties and they were off the hizzy!!! the first one was the 90’s party. we all dressed up in jorts and sweaters and flat-billed caps and lame mustaches. it was quite the spectacle. very funny. we went to a gameshow called double dare and got slimed. then we went and danced to every kind of music imaginable. it was so fun and crazy. the next party was the best. it was the goldrush party. every year at k-co, their is a western party. the name changes but the party is exactly the same. we all dress up in our best cowboy and hicktown garb and then we have a barn dance. we eat steak with our hands, learn about five or six dance steps and then head to the barn. every guy is strongly encouraged to dance with a different girl every dance. it is a great way to meet people and to get everyone involved and feeling special. once the song ends, the guy spins the girl, says thanks for the dance and then walks to the outskirts of the crowd and picks another girl who isn’t dancing. they then dance and talk and have a grande ol’ time. it’s a staple of k-co and for good reason. the third party was the masquerade. we made silly masks, watched a hard fought duel, and listened to phantom of the opera music. it was actually really fun despite the non-manly aura of the situation. the dance wasn’t just opera music. we had some good stuff playing. the last party was perhaps the most epic. it was the pirates vs. ninjas party. we played some huge warball games and raved the night away. it was fun and tiring. we also had a guys and girls night. the girls probably watched a movie and ate chocolate and cuddled up in blankets. we, the men of the camp, had commando night. each cabin paired with another cabin (8 with 1, 7 with 2, etc…) and then preceeded to embark on the biggest mission of our lives. we had to deliver our glowsticks to strategically placed commandos around the camp. we waded through chest deep freazing cold water, trekked through a freezing stream for hundreds of yards, and ran for our lives as paintballs went whizzing over our heads. once we completed our objective in record time, we learned that the counselors had betrayed us and were now hiding in the woods with our glowsticks. we had to find them and bring them back. it was one epic night of running, darkness, stealth, teamwork, encouragement, bravery, and mud. so good. we also had something called k-life which happened on the non party nights. we had worship music. by the way, i have never experienced a place that can even begin to compare to worshipping through song at k-co. there is nothing ornately special about it. it is just real. it’s usually just a guitar and maybe a lap drum. but the voices are amazing. not great, just special. anyways, their would be a speaker everytime. the most meaningful talk for me and my cabin was that of nate friend. he just opened up to us. earlier that day, he got slight pneumonia while saving a neighbor’s boat at the dock. so he said right up front that he wasn’t able to prepare as much as he’d have hoped for the talk but he was just gonna let God speak through him. boy did God speak that night! nate spoke about how his mother had struggled with depression and suicide for a very long time and through some very intimate stories nate just opened up. he let us see who he was and what was really going on in his life. i will never forget that night. that night, jack, one of my cabinmates, opened up with us about the sorrow and fear and pain in his own life and that’s what sparked our unity and brotherhood. from then on, everynight, we just opened ourselves up for each other to see. that is how life is supposed to be lived. every morning, we took some time and walked with God, literally. we just walked around and talked with Him in the midst of His beautiful creation. it was the greatest way to start off the day. we culminated the term with the annual ultimate frisbee tournament. my cabin’s first game was one for the ages. we came back from 4 – 0 to beat the oldest cabin 5 – 4 in overtime. it was great. sadly, we lost our next game. after the tournament ended, the parents came and we did the whole closing ceremonies thing. it was kind of weird knowing that it was my last time experiencing all of that as a kamper (because my school gets out so insanely late, i cannot be a kamper first term next year because i have to graduate). it would’ve been downright sad but i know my time with this camp is far from over. next year kanakuk colorado becomes camp kivu (kivu is a lake in rwanda and literally means big). it will basically be the same with some stuff added on. the reason it is changing is because andy, the director, has a more global and expansive vision for the camping experience than what is offered under the umbrella of kanakuk. he is looking into music camps and surfing camps in the u.s. as well as many international camps. there will be many facets to the new ministry and i am extremely excited for the change. next summer i hope to work at camp kivu doing whatever they need me to do. i cannot say enough about the community and family that is in this place. during the two week term, God united people from arizona to missouri to cairo, egypt into one big family of believers. it is how life is supposed to be lived.

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