Yes we will.


So, one of the Recreation campers this week was new to the group.  Tod is 23, and he wowed us all with is flag collection & knowledge.  He had over 150 with him at camp… some full sized, some miniatures.  He could name the flag and the time period.  (For example the Imperial Japanese flag & the current one.)  He sorted the flags by continent.  He named some countries that I didn’t know existed.  He also had a thing for cool military hats, and a bunch of those as well… from French to Russian to Australian.

Tod also has an incredibly creative imagination.  He told many stories and wrote songs and stories in his pile of composition books.  He told us bout elves that lived in the woods, that shot lasers to make you grow tall, vampire princesses, mermaids that had nests under our cabins, purple giraffes that laid eggs, werepigs, four-headed frogs, poisonous porcupines… and so many other fantastic creatures.

Tod shared readings of song lyrics & the story of Esther all hand written by him in his books.  He also drew us many pictures.  One of our counselors Laurel took home a pile (he seemed to take a liking to her & handed her a lot of them), and I have some photos of others, but I did bring one home that he handed to me.  Tod told me it was a song.  I’d like to share it with you:

Living Waters You Will Remember My Name  by Tod Elbridge Johnson  It was at Living Waters The wind blows, the flags fly, And the Campers Come!  But you should not doubt me, You will remember my name.  Oh Living Waters you will remember Living Waters one thing remains.  Living Waters warm and tender You will remember my name.  Your heart, Your heart had ventured with Jesus.  Nothing but ashes from the campfire remain.  Oh Living Waters you will remember Living Waters one thing remains.  Living Waters so warm and tender You will remember my name.  Yeah you will remember my name.

You Will Remember My Name (Tod Elbridge Johnson)

Here it is typed out if you had trouble reading it:

Living Waters You Will Remember My Name

by Tod Elbridge Johnson

It was at Living Waters
The wind blows, the flags fly,
And the campers come!

But you should not doubt me,
You will remember my name.

Oh Living Waters you will remember
Living Waters one thing remains.

Living Waters warm and tender
You will remember my name.

Your heart,
Your heart had ventured with Jesus.

Nothing but ashes from the campfire remain.

Oh Living Waters you will remember
Living Waters one thing remains.

Living Waters so warm and tender
You will remember my name.

Yeah you will remember my name.

Yes, Tod, we will remember.

I might try to set this, or some of the lines to music.  I hope Tod likes the result!

My Week at Camp


Archery Camp 1997

This was a few years ago at camp, and years before the wife & I realized that we kinda liked each other. Ha ha.

So, if you’ve known me for a while, you know camp Living Waters is a big part of my life, and has been for a long long time.  It was near & dear for my family and many friends growing up, it’s where I met the girl that eventually became my wife.  It’s where I have made friendships that defy logic and are somewhat closer to a family than being mere friends.  It’s actually close to the feeling you have being in a band… it’s a sense of belonging, not quite a gang mentality, but there is a strong bond that goes beyond mere friendship that’s hard to explain.

Hogan 4

This is where I stayed for the week.

I have been lucky enough to not only be a camper, but a counselor for many many camp functions, eventually inheriting the director title for Jr./Sr. High Camp that we had this past week.  Luckily for me, all of our counselors have their duties and functions where they take charge, and I think we pulled it off.  I don’t think we’ve had many direct discussions on who needs to do what… it amazingly all just falls into place and we understand what needs done and who’s best suited to do it.  We dive in & do it as a team.

Church camp may scare some people.  Those that know me from outside of camp may be surprised or questioning of my affiliation with such a thing.  I try to take all the things that I have been taught, and lead life by example.  I’m generally not preachy about religious subjects (or at least I try not to be), but I will delve into the subject if someone asks me about it.  I have a respect for all religious beliefs or non-belief, and ask that in a conversation I am shown that same respect.  (I have some good friends that should also be able to tell you that it’s pretty hard to offend me on such subjects.)

Pavillion

This is where we hung out for most of the week.

I feel like I have been called to work with the camp that has given so much to me, to provide campers with their own version of the experiences I had over the years that have helped make me into the person that I am today.  I hope to be a good example to the kids on how go out into the world and be good examples to others themselves.  You don’t have to run around spitting scriptures, knock on people’s doors, or force others to believe what you believe or feel what you feel.  You do need to treat people with respect and kindness.  We discussed being a good seed this week, and how we’re planted in the world to serve others around us.  Serving can be as simple as listening to a friend’s troubles, cutting grass or washing a car, or just telling someone that they are important to you.  We don’t often pause for the simple small things, yet they can have such an impact.  Sometimes I had to be goofy with the kids to get the gears turning, but turn they did.  Once we were able to get into discussions & past answers that were perhaps subconsciously what they thought I wanted to hear… I got some fantastic examples and ideas on how you can do small things to help those around you.

Some of the activities at camp besides bible study in the AM were Archery, a night game pattered after an one one called Get Smart & a flashlight tag game that has morphed into one we call Star Wars, a terrarium craft, a creek walk, a trip to Shawnee, team-building games, orienteering, making mountain pies, lots of singing, vespers every night headed up by Laurel, science time making bandanas with Kirby & Kaylyn, and a campfire where we talked about everything from what we’re thankful for to what our hardships are… and how we can help each other through them.

Archery!

Archery!

I feel like Archery is such an incredible activity for teens… it seems like something that is hard to do, but if you listen to the instruction given by Kirby & Adam, you are consistently hitting the target within a day or 2, and you can become a great shot by the end of the week (when we start putting things like playing cards & water balloons on the targets for fun).  It’s an incredible self-esteem builder, and teaches great discipline and focus.  It’s easy to understand that you must do things correctly or someone can get hurt.  The kids encourage each other and commend each other without any prompting from us old people.  It builds a positive environment easily & organically.  It’s amazing to see them light up when they hit a bullseye, hit a playing card, or pop a water balloon.

We of course sometimes had problems with losing attention quickly… and I blame social media.  We’re luckily able to reel them back in.  I think it helps that most of our staff are smart-asses.  I try to show & tell the kids that you don’t have to conduct yourself differently at camp than you do at home, or vice versa.  Also, I find it fascinating how many of the younger kids constantly asked me if they could go to the bathroom.  It must be from school.  I feel that they’re all old enough to conduct themselves responsibly & can take care of such things without disruption to whatever’s going on.

Some of my personal highlights for the week were when one kid had told us how he had never experienced any kind of group or camp setting before & couldn’t believe how all the other kids had been so accepting of him.  In fact, I didn’t hear a negative word from any of the kids to another.  They would instantly take to the kids that seemed to be outsiders and make sure to include them in the group.  It was an awesome thing to see.  It’s also great to see the kids that have grown up together in various camps form friendships that will last a life time.

Living Waters 2012 - Jr./Sr. High Camp & Recreation Camp

We Are One Big Happy Family – Living Waters 2012 – Jr./Sr. High Camp & Recreation Camp

Camp Flags

Camp Flags

The big highlight was our interaction with the other camp there this week… Recreation Camp is for special needs adults to come enjoy a camp setting.  We did several activities with them besides our 3 meals & singing in the dining hall each day.  We had science time where they learned about chemicals that make up ink and the separation, and we made easy tie-dye-like bandanas with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol.  Our campers mixed with & assisted the rec camp, and it was fantastically fun.  We also mixed again with our trip to Shawnee, singing on the bus and swimming and relaxing together as one big group.  Campers from both camps expressed the need to do it more often.  It was enough to move me to tears to see how the kids accepted the rec camp group who were so different, and made their day by just spending time with them, sharing a laugh, a splash, bouncing a beach ball, and lots of good-natured teasing.  Then there was our campfire sing-along, our seeing one of their campers’ collection of over 150 flags I’ll have to talk about him in another post), and them visiting us on the archery range one day.  It’s a feeling of great joy to see all of our campers make such connections.  My wife & mom are directors at Rec camp, and I feel like that helps us bring the camps closer together.

That feeling is why I was moved to make this a while back…

Check out my photos and my wife’s photos on Facebook if you’re interested.  If you’re a camper or counselor & want to share your photos too, please paste the link in the comments below!

Lack of posts, & the dumbest product ever.


LIVE MUSIC! SAT. JUNE 23 THE FALLOUT SHELTER.NET ROCK- ERNIE AND THE BERTS & FRIENDS

The sign outside of Sheffield Lanes/The Fallout Shelter in Aliquippa, PA this weekend.

I’ve noticeably slowed down with blogging.  Perhaps I was blogging too much before.  Real life has been happening lately.  The band played twice this weekend, my real job has been taxing, etc. Perhaps I’ll find inspiration more often in the days to come. 

Like this…

Groupon has successfully  shown me what I believe to be the absolute dumbest product ever:

Car Lashes ...Wait, car-freaking-lashes?

Car Lashes …Wait, car-freaking-lashes?

I could rant about it, but do I really need to?  There would a a Herbie/Love Bug joke, pointing out that putting them on a BMW decreases the value/classiness of the car, maybe a joke about truck nuts & just maybe a reference to the movie Cars even though I’ve never seen it.  Maybe even a joke about the dude I saw on My Strange Addiction who makes love to his car for the crowd who likes it blue.  Maybe even an Optimus Prime humping your car joke.  I have finally found something more annoying than flags on cars & more decorative than the mysterious stickermobile.  If you’re going to glue stupid stuff to your car, go all the way.

If there are any people out there with money to waste on stupid things, I’m taking donations so I can buy a Flycaster.

“Pre-W(aL)D” World (and Lunar) Domination


This is a re-post from my old MySpace blog.  I used to have a ton of this W(aL)D crap.  Apparently a few of you find it as amusing as I do.  There are some that have been lost to the ages, but there are some good ones left here…

So, I remembered that my e-mails to & from world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com used to actually be about World (and Lunar) Domination.  Sadly, a lot of the original stuff is lost due to a PittsburghBeat.com crash.  Maybe Rippa can get me a backup from somewhere if one still exists, and I can sort through all the shit to find the meat of the posts.

There’s some more too, for sure…

And, the food posts always seem to be interesting to some:

Record reviews: