Friday, July 27, 2007

Campus by the Sea: Catalina Island

Everyone has their favorite camp...that place you went with your youth group to get away from reality for awhile...or at least, everyone should. For me it was Campus by the Sea. Located in a secluded cove on Catalina Island, CBS is a place to experience God's rest, a place to fellowship, a place to worship, a place for memories made. A place for tubing and swimming and campfiring and eating too much and sleeping too little. A place for listening to your friend play Two Sets of Jones's on his guitar and throwing giant sperm-shaped seaweed into your friends' kayak. A place for racing away from the same friends as they try to tip you without the lifegaurds noticing. A place, in a word, for peace.

A place that I was introduced to in the summer of 1995. And reintroduced to in the summer of 1996. And 1997. And 1998. And 1999. A place that I inwardly begged to return to for so many summers after I was too old to be in a high school youth group. A place that I had long ago resolved to mere memories.

(If you're having trouble finding me...I'm the one in the middle. The only one who, apparently, still thought it was cool to have bangs. Though, I should point out that at this time I was still very subconscious about having a forehead that rivaled small countries in land mass.)

A place that asked my husband to speak at high school camp this year. A place that is allowing him to bring his wife and twelve-month old son. Now, those of you who know how much I love this camp might suspect that I married Troy four years ago with the sole intention of one day figuring a way to get back there. You would be (mostly) wrong. Now, I will say that with marrying a pastor came the added bonus of having an "in" with the youth pastor. And, now that I am teaching part-time and have summers off, I fully intended to plead the case of why I would be the perfect girls counselor at camp this year. Imagine my elated surprise when my amazing spouse came home and told me he'd been asked to speak. Now I get to go and I don't even have to be a counselor. I just get to share a cabin with my two favorite boys. I've never shared a cabin with a boy at camp before...let alone two. Normally, at CBS, coed cabin sharing is strictly forbidden. In fact, if a girl is even found walking on the boy side of camp, well, I just...I...I don't really know what would happen, honestly, but I never did it out of fear of being thrown into the Pacific or deported back to the mainland or something far worse, like being forced to clean the kitchen after every...single...meal.

So, after eight years and an avalanche of personal and spiritual growth, I am returning to the beloved camp of my youth. And I get to take this guy...

(It really is sad how the good Lord bestowed all the physical attributes upon me and left him to get by looking like that.)

Because the camp ended up needing another counselor. And being that Troy is the speaker, he somehow pulled some strings and Jon now gets to go back to camp for free. Now, if there were only some way I could get my parents there...stuffed in luggage anyone? And for the record, Jon actually looks more like this...

(Though, he doesn't always come complete with infant Garrett)

And so, though I know it will not be more than a sliver of a nostalgic experience, for few of my friends from eight years ago will be there, I am getting very excited. Because my Two Sets of Jones's friend is leading worship. Because my brother is leading students. Because my husband, who's a firsttimer, is leading large group. Because my son, though he won't remember, will get to experience it. Because I will experience it all over again and from a different perspective.
But, to my friends who will not be there, who eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve years later are separated by miles and life experience, I will miss kayaking with you...though I will kayak. I will miss worshipping with you...though I will worship. I will miss eating pizza in Avalon with you and eating hamburgers with you back at camp. I will miss worming down into my sleeping bag as Wayne wanders around shouting, "Goodnight. Goodnight." Because you won't be there and Wayne retired from doing camps. But for the people I will be there with...I am glad.

Jon and me, circa:1998 (Um, no, we weren't dating. Because gross. We were attemting to take a Christmas card picture.)
One year, at camp, I bought a post card with a picture of the shoreline and the dock. Under the picture was written, "Come away with me to a quiet place and get some rest. Mark 6:31" Though I doubt, with a one-year old, that much resting will actually occur, I am waiting in eager anticipation. Waiting for the Lord to meet me there, in that quiet place, on that peaceful beach, to teach He has done so many times before. For He talks to me always, but, it seems, that with the world removed, I can hear just a little bit better.


  1. Campus by the Sea hold fond fond memories for me as well. David and I had a big fight and sat at the end of the dock to have "The Talk." The, "Are-We-Riding-This-Relationship-Out-or-Are-We-Just-Goofing-Around-Here?" Talk.

    He was also baptised in the water there by a dear friend of ours who later performed part of our wedding ceremony.

  2. I am glad to know that all the money paid for camps was truly well spent. I am happy for you and your brother that you get to go back together and experience it from a whole different perspective. Somehow I know that the teenage brother and sister will make an appearance.

  3. oh so jealous...thanks for taking me down memory lane. how about swimming on the bunk beds or singing grease songs..oh i love that place...let me know how it was..