Woodmont Students

Pictures, articles, updates, and announcements from the Woodmont YG

Camp Barnabas: Day 6

Today is the last full day at Camp Barnabas, and there are so many mixed emotions seeping through the missionaries and campers here. We are all beyond exhausted – both physically and emotionally – and are definitely missing the people and amenities of home. At the same time, though, we are dreading the moment when we have to say goodbye to our campers and the missionaries we’ve befriended during this incredible experience.

Last night was the best party of the week – an “Out of this World” themed dance party! Picture your high school prom, but in a small gym packed with 300 people and no AC – and twice as much fun! Our campers went NUTS, dancing their hearts out and having the time of their lives! For an hour and a half we all danced and sweated together, and the air was thick with energy and indescribable joy.

Lots of female campers this week have been abuzz with crushes on different missionaries and barnstormers, and they had the opportunity at the party to ask their crushes to dance, all of whom happily obliged! (Among those being crushed on was Nathan Nance, and for anyone who has seen Nathan dance, you know he was the life of the party and made one female camper very happy!) There was also a special “VIP Lounge” constructed of high walls of foam blocks in the corner of the gym, and two camp staffers were placed outside as “bouncers”; they each held clipboards in their hands which contained sheets of paper with all of the campers’ names on them, and only the campers “on the list” were allowed inside and could bring one guest with them. All of this to say, they created an experience that made it possible for these campers with special needs to live a night out just like anyone else in the real world, which is something they would never get to do outside of camp. It was one of the most special nights of my life, and I know the rest of our group would echo me in that.

On a much sadder note, Audrey Barnett’s camper, Cassie, is having an extremely difficult day today. Cassie’s fiancé Isaac is another one of the campers here this week, and our group is obsessed with the two of them as a couple! We’ve all gotten to hang out with them and get to know them this week, and they are two of the most precious people on the planet. Isaac and Cassie are both pretty high functioning, but Isaac has had serious health problems most of his life. His testimony would blow you all away: when he was 11 he came dangerously close to dying of heart failure; he lost his sister in a horrible car accident one month before coming to camp this week; and his brother is months away from dying of liver cancer. Isaac has every reason to be a cynical, depressed person, but he is dynamic, positive, and pours his love out with abandon to everyone he meets.

This morning, Isaac had a heart episode while he was canoeing. His heart began to fail, and an ambulance full of medical professionals was called in to resuscitate him. When they couldn’t initially stabilize him, an Air Evac helicopter came to Life Flight him to the nearest hospital. Thankfully, the med team was finally able to stabilize him so that they felt safe sending him to the hospital in the ambulance, and that is where he will be for the rest of camp. Needless to say, Cassie has been a wreck all day. Audrey has held her and cried with her for hours today, and was the only one who could finally get her to sleep during F.O.B. this afternoon. Our hearts are all so heavy for Cassie and Isaac, and so full of love watching Audrey care for her in such a tender way today. We’re asking for prayers for Isaac and Cassie when you think about it this week.

One last happy story before a few people from our group share. Here at Camp Barnabas, there are what feels like a million different songs and chants that camp returners know and first-timers learn over the course of the week, and they are performed constantly throughout the day. One of these songs is used to jokingly pressure different people to stand up during meals and sing a song in front of everyone. The song is sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and everyone joins in together and sings it until the targeted person finally stands up to sing. Here’s how it would go if it was being sung to me:

Sing a song Ginger Connor, sing a song
Sing a song Ginger Connor, sing a song
We won’t hush up ‘til you stand up
Sing a song Ginger Connor, sing a song

Typically this song is sung to camp staffers or missionaries who stand up and sing just a short clip of a silly song that everyone sings along to (“Ice Ice Baby” and Taylor Swift songs are popular choices), but today during lunch this lighthearted tradition became something so much more special. One of the campers with autism was called on to stand up and sing, and she went to the front, took the microphone, and sang “Reflection” from the movie Mulan. She sang every word with everything inside of her, and it brought tears to my eyes (for the millionth time this week). It was so beautiful watching her pour her heart into this song that she clearly loves so much, and was just another example of the magic that happens at Camp Barnabas.

Olivia Cowan wanted to share about her week today:

So, to sum up the week… I was the only female barnstormer in our group. As a barnstormer, we serve at meals, do the dishes, and clean the bathrooms. This week has been such a blessing to me. I was able to meet a lot of campers and get to know one camper really well this week, and she has been amazing.

Brad Fisher also shared his thoughts about Camp Barnabas:

What an amazing week! Our kids have had an opportunity to experience true servanthood. The students serving as missionaries are committed to their special needs camper for 22 hours of each day. The missionaries’ experiences have been unique due to the uniqueness of their camper, their own demeanor, and the amount of God’s grace that allows them to subject their own wants and desires to those of their campers. Submitting to another is easier for some than others! J

The students serving as barnstormers are working very hard as well, doing “menial” tasks for 8+ hours per day. Without the barnstormers, the camp simply could not operate.

Our students are working alongside other students from churches in Colorado, Texas and elsewhere. That has also been a good experience. In talking with some of the ministers who have been bringing groups to Camp Barnabas for years, they think it is the mission opportunity that provides their kids the greatest growth opportunity.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and encouragement. Last update tomorrow!

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One thought on “Camp Barnabas: Day 6

  1. couldn’t be prouder of our woodmontyg. servants to the core. safe travels back home

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