Monday, June 23, 2014

Rustic Youth Camp

Rustic Youth Camp (RYC)
I tell people that RYC is like Vacation Bible School on steroids!  The days are full--beginning at 8:00 AM and ending somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00 PM.  Here is an overview of each camp day.
  • General Assembly--where all campers (150 of them, ages 3-18) and counselors and staff (about 70-80 adults) gather in the multi-purpose building (un-air conditioned--hence the name Rustic Youth Camp, well, actually that is just one of the many reasons that the camp is rustic) to sing hymns, a patriotic song or two, listen to short Bible talk, hear pertinent camp announcements, and sing silly songs and play silly (and sometimes messy) games.
  • Bible Classes--the campers are grouped by age and grade.  I taught the 3rd grade class.  Originally I signed up to teach the 3rd/4th grade class, but since the group was so big, the 3rd and 4th grades were separated.  I had Leah placed in my class even though she is a finishing 4th grader--she wanted me to teach her.  Leanna's son and Lynn's daughter were also in my class.  We had 13 students and 3 teachers.  We were responsible for our class from after assembly until pick-up time in the late afternoon.  The Bible classes always have a theme for the week, and each class studies the same theme and lessons, but of course the younger classes make the appropriate adaptations.  This year's theme was The Cross.  
  • Crafts--Younger campers do crafts in their classroom, and older campers rotate through various craft stations on the campground.  Our class also had a secular theme, Rainbows, and so a lot of our crafts centered around that theme.
  • Food--Two snacks and lunch are served each day in the air conditioned dining hall. 
  • Playground Time--RYC has two playgrounds for the campers to enjoy.
  • Sports--Each afternoon at 3:00, the classes participate in their assigned sport for the day.  The campers are divided in to two teams, Red and Blue (before we arrive), and score is kept all week.  Our class played ring toss, water ballon target throwing, volleyball, and kickball.  Other sports for older campers include softball, disc golf, ultimate frisbee, archery, trap shooting, plus others I am sure that I am forgetting.  Also, there are ping pong, archery, disc golf and trap shooting tournaments going on all week as well.  And, on Friday afternoon, all of the classes participate in a kind of Field Day.  The classes rotate through a variety of events, and the scores for red and blue teams are added to the week's scores.  Events include tug-of-war, hula hoop relays, sack races, and many others.
  • Raft Building Competition--This was a new event for this year.  In the past, the 7th-12th graders go on a field trip on Thursdays.  This year, instead, the three classes (7-8th, 9th, and 10-12th) were each assigned the following project:  build a raft, that will float with at least one person on board, using only materials found around the campground.  No supplies could be purchased.  Thursday at 5:00, the three teams with their rafts put them in the lake and raced a short distance to the boathouse.  I think much fun was had by all the builders, and the crowd really got into it!
  • Bunkhouse--I don't know much about what happens after 5:00, because Lynn and I take our younger children to Mrs. Beulah's house for the night.  Campers must be 13 years old to stay in the bunkhouse.  This year Julie, Clay, and Lynn's oldest two boys stayed in the bunkhouses.  I know that they are served supper and breakfast,  have free time, and have at least one Bible study each night plus an early morning singing session (while waiting for the day campers to arrive.)
  • Friday Night Program--all parents, grandparents, friends, and other family members of campers are invited to the Friday Night Program.  The campers and guests enjoy a BBQ and hotdog dinner followed by the skits and awards.  Each class prepares a short skit or song to present Friday night.  The camp directors award various awards and recognition including a service award, camp favorites, and individual sports awards.  
RYC is run by individual Christians, men and women who donate their time, money, and lots of hard work to create a week of memorable fellowship and fun for young people.  The camp has been in existence for over 30 years, and it has grown to be extremely popular in our area.  Registration used to be by mail, but this year the camp instituted online registration.  Once the registration link went live, first camp (the one we attended) was full and registration was closed in twenty seconds!  Second camp took a little bit longer…..45 minutes!  

Here are some photo highlights of our wonderful week.  Keep in mind that I was Leah's teacher, and that is why I have more pictures of her than of my other children.

 3rd grade class

 Avery and Leah doing a sharpie tie dye project.

 The whole class, hard at work.

 Sam, enjoying his lunch.

 Waiting in the lunch line

 Clay with two friends

 Leah and Avery on the playground

 Leah, painting a rainbow vase

 Practicing the song for Friday night

Sam on the playground

 Leah and Avery in matching outfits and hairstyles

Me and Mrs. Vicki--Camp Leader Extraordinaire
and organizer and announcer of all things FUN!

 Avery, Leah, and Jared at Mrs. Beulah's house

 Our gracious host, Mrs. Beulah
My children enjoy staying each night with Mrs. Beulah as much as they like camp!  She has a huge pool with a diving board and slide.  Lynn and I let the pool be there bath, every night except for two while we were there!

 Morning Announcements

Morning Bible Lesson

Julie, playing a sport (not sure which one)

 Me, Julie, Lynn, and Stacee,
just hanging out on the playground.

Seeing old friends--Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Dottie

 Our class leading a silly song in one morning's assembly.

 Clay's class's raft
They finished in 2nd place.

 Our class having fun with water balloons one afternoon.

 Sam and Julie

Julie's Class's Raft
They won!

 My class with our three teachers, Mrs. Beverly, Mrs. Sharon, and Mrs. Roan.

During a Bible lesson

 The cute, cute backdrop that Sam's teachers made for their skit.

 Sam's class, ready to take a bow.

 Leah's class, singing their song.

 "I Can Sing a Rainbow"

 Cute skit shirt
The back says, "Do you love RYC?"

 A scene from Clay's skit

 A scene from Julie's skit

 Julie's class

 My car…..all packed up and ready to head home.

One last family picture before we left.
We are SO HOT AND SWEATY in this picture!
We are missing Jimmy (who had to work) and Olivia (who served as a junior counselor at another camp this week).

 The raft race

 The winners, approaching the finish line

 My class, again.
That trailer in the background was our classroom.  We were really fortunate to be able to use that trailer….it was air-conditioned.  Most of the classes for 1st grade and up, and all of the crafts, are held outdoors under pavilions or on the porches of log cabins.

 Clay and Parker

 Clay, doing a relay on Friday afternoon.

 Leah in the sack race

 Taking a rest during sports

 Asa, Sam, and Samuel, waiting their turns for a relay.

 I'm helping out my team in the hula hoop relay.

One last picture of the tired, hot, dirty, sweaty Mamas.

RYC is an exhausting week, but it is full of fun, fellowship, friendship, and memory-making.  Both the campers and the adults build lasting friendships, and we all grow in our Bible knowledge and our service to our Lord.  I always learn so much from the ladies that I teach with, and I am eager to put into practice those new ideas. 

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