This camp is owned and run by Christians, and they have hosted RYC for over 30 years. Many of the campers that I met were second generation campers, and many of the teachers/counselors I met had attended RYC when they were growing up. After our experience, which was overall a good one, I think that my children will be annual camp goers now.
However, it was a learning experience for my children, and they all had some adjustments to make. First of all, it was the first time that they had been around so many young people in one setting. There were over 150 campers and around 100 teachers/counselors/camp workers. That's a lot of people! Especially when you are homeschooled. It took some of my children longer than others to make new friends, but by the end of the week everyone was happy, and they were sad to say good-by to their new friends.
Sam in his cowboy hat. His camp class had a "Cowboy" theme. All of their crafts were centered around the cowboy theme, and their "skit" for parent night was cowboy themed too.
Olivia was the only one of my children who stayed overnight in the bunkhouse at camp. Only children who have finished 7th grade and up are eligible for the bunkhouse. Julie thinks she may try the bunkhouse next year. This year, she stayed in the hotel room (20 minutes away from the campsite) with the rest of us. All of the other campers are considered Day Campers, which means they attend the camp for 8:00 AM-5:00PM
Those 9 hours of day camp were one of the adjustments for my children, especially for Clay and Sam. Sam is used to playing outside all day and coming in briefly for sitting in my lap and for naptime. He really just does what he wants all day. Clay too. Even during the school year, my children really have a great deal of freedom. They have chores and schoolwork to complete, but when their work is done, they are free to play. Sam grew tired of crafts; his favorite part of camp was playing outside! Sam did not even complete most of the crafts--he chose to "paint' his wooden birdhouse with a dry paintbrush (no paint!), and for other projects he simply didn't do. He wasn't disruptive or disrespectful, he either just sat and watched the other children or sat in my lap.
These are the bags the children decorated. They were used for storing and transporting home all of the crafts and papers they completed during the week.
Can you pick out Sam's? His is "natural"!
Each night after camp Lynn and I either took the kids out to eat somewhere or ate sandwiches in our hotel room. We ran on two of the nights at a local park, and spent the rest of our nights washing clothes and preparing our lessons (she and I were both assistant teachers) for camp.
Carson, John Parker, and Clay at Pizza Hut
Julie and Jared
Leah and Avery
We ate at Pizza Hut two different nights!
Sam in the sandbox
Sam coloring a page after our daily Bible lesson
The camp schedule went something like this:
After the overnight campers finished breakfast, they gathered to sing hymns. The day campers joined them by 8:00 AM. The singing was absolutely beautiful! The singing was followed by a morning devotional, prayer, camp announcements, silly songs, and various games and pranks. We quickly learned that this morning gathering time provided the camp leaders a chance to pick on various teachers.....Lynn and I laid low and hoped no one would notice us. It worked. We were never embarrassed!
Bible Class Time--the children broke into their various groups for their first Bible class time. Each of my children was in a different group. I assisted with the 3 and 4 year old class. The older classes had an additional Bible class time after lunch. Our class reviewed our daily lesson throughout the day.
Craft and Activity Time--the older students rotated through a variety of craft and other activities. Some of these were woodburning, trap shooting, archery, quilling, beading, and various wooden crafts (boxes, windchimes, bowls, etc.) The younger students (3 and 4 year olds and 5 and 6 year olds) stayed with their class all day. Their teachers conducted crafts and other activities in their classroom.
Snack Time, Free Time, Lunch, Rest (for the younger ones), Snack Time again.
Game Time--Each afternoon at 3:00 the various classes received their game assignment. The classes were divided into two teams, Red and Blue, and these teams competed all week. Each morning the scores between Red and Blue were announced. Our family was on the victorious Blue team.
On Thursday, the 7th graders and older went on a Field Trip to Crow's Neck. Mississippi.
On Friday, there were Red and Blue team competitions in the afternoon followed by Parent and Family Night. The campers welcomed many, many visitors who joined them for supper followed by the presentation of each class's skit. Jimmy and Kelly (Lynn's husband) arrived in the early afternoon. They enjoyed touring the campground and visiting with all of our children.
Leah and Avery performing their class skit
another favorite part of camp for Sam--snack time!
Kelly posing in front of Fort Gary Dickerson, named for the late Gary Dickerson, who was a member of our local church.
Julie with two new friends
Clay playing some sort of relay game
Clay and Olivia--showing her wood burning project
Carson and Clay waiting for the singing to begin
Olivia during her class skit---she threw the pie in this young man's face!
The week actually went by faster than I thought! The children and I were very, very tired, but it was a great week. I made some new friends too! The ladies that I taught with were all so sweet. One lady was an "email friend" that now I know in person. Fun!
We are looking forward to next year's camp.