A Buffalo Summer, by Meredith Shuppy

The summer of 2012 here at St. Roch Community Church brought with it one of its most beloved features: Summer Camp. In my mind, now having coordinated my first one, Summer Camp takes on the figure and character of a large, but gentle, buffalo: it’s massive; it’s intimidating; but despite its heft and beast-ness, there is a mutually enjoyed friendship that leaves all parties feeling well-exercised.

We rang in this great, long-awaited event with a total of 48 campers on our roster, seven interns, and many volunteers ready to lend their aid. Our schedule consisted of reading & math classes, lunch, and recreation. At the start of each day we all gathered together to sing songs, chant some chants, and, yes, learn scripture. The kids also got to do super cool and super interesting crafts like paper mache masks and rain-makers. Each Friday the entire camp went on field trips to places such as Audubon Zoo, the roller skating rink and even on a swamp tour where we witnessed a 10-foot alligator jumping out of the water to snatch some bait.

Another aspect of Summer Camp that embodies St. Roch’s vision and mission is the hiring of interns. Rina Carter, one of our indigenous leaders, said that being a leader at camp meant that, “…campers are able to look up to me as a role model to see how I put my faith in Christ.” The internship provided her with “a chance to build relationships with children you never thought you would.” Rina, our “Food Guru”, kept the entire camp of roughly 65 people fed every day by setting the kids up with their delivered meals and preparing the rest of the camp staff and volunteers delicious lunches. “Patience is key,” she said, regarding one of the most important lessons she learned this summer. Amen, Rina.

Summer Camp couldn’t happen without committed interns or excited campers. It couldn’t run as smoothly without caring volunteers and those willing to donate snacks and finances. It takes everyone to make this buffalo roam. And roam she did, for six wonderful weeks. As we look back, there are fond memories and we can rejoice in seeds of Christ being planted and His love shared. Looking forward, we anticipate with great joy new memories, new campers, the harvesting of a fresh crop of community leaders, and the rich soil, prepared lovingly in advance by His skilled hand to receive His love and truth. We look to embrace our wild, roaming friend next year and do it all again.

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