Pack your bags, it’s YoungLife Camp

“It’s going to be the best week of your life!” I was told numerous times before the day finally came for me to pack my bags and head to Crooked Creek Ranch- a YoungLife Camp in Fraser, Colorado this summer. The best week of my life though? I could hardly think of the best day of my life, let alone the best week, but I remained open-minded to the idea that this could quite possibly be the best week ever.

Saturday June 15 we headed off for Colorado. I said my goodbyes, gave a hug here and there, and loaded my belongings on the bottom of the huge, luxurious bus that met us in the mall parking lot. I couldn’t have been more excited about a bus ride in my life. After all, I was heading to a beautiful state I had never been to, I was going with my best friends, getting to leave home for an entire week.

Hours later, I began to see my destination in the distance. The gorgeous mountains and the sky touching trees, I had never seen anything like it before. Each bystander we passed waved with smiles ear-to-ear on their faces, marking a great start to my week long journey. Little did I know I hadn’t seen anything yet.

Once we finally reached camp, I too had a smile ear-to-ear. There were camp volunteers surrounding the area in bright blue shirts, banging on our buses as we slowly drove in. They were doing flips, jumping into the air, waving and cheering for our arrival. It was by far the best greeting I had ever been given.

The buses stopped and it was finally time to step foot onto Colorado. We grabbed our belongings, gathered up with our group, listened to a great welcoming speech followed by a hilarious activity that involved people trying to put on a frozen t-shirt, and headed to our cabins. We all ran in with excitement, throwing our things down and finding a bunk to sleep in.

As I would come to find out I was definitely not prepared for the next few days. There were secret activities planned each day and everything had a purpose and meaning.

The first night we dressed in our ‘clothes that can get dirty’ and headed out on an adventure. The key was to protect your YoungLife leader from the muddy area through any obstacle there was to conquer, such as people throwing buckets of freezing cold water. Once we started, I quickly learned that trying to do this in TOMS was not the best idea, so I kicked them off somewhere during the activity and did it in my socks.

The next few days included activities like a rodeo, ridge runners (go-cart type vehicles), a breath- taking horseback ride, zip-lining, an above ground ropes course, a hike, outdoor pool games, the claim jumper (the ultimate swing experience of my life), three fantastic family-type meals everyday and much, much more.

But these activities had me wondering, ‘what does all of this have to do with Jesus?’ Then I was finally told and realized what it all meant: each activity had Jesus tied into it. The ropes course, the claim jumper, the ridge runners, the zip-lining- you had to trust that He would get you through it and keep you from falling or crashing. As for the horseback ride, and the hike, we got to see how much bigger He is than everything we saw like the mountains and trees. It all sounded a little weird at first, but it all made sense in the end.

Aside from the adrenaline pumping games, rides, and activities, my favorite part of camp was quite simple, the talks. Each night we would go into a large auditorium-like area where I experienced the best talks I had ever heard. They were centered around life topics and Jesus, with some humorous stories interjected here and there. The chosen speakers’ words flowed into my heart like a river. I understood him, connected to the words he spoke, and took away from the talks something I had never taken away from anything before.

Our cabin talks were my absolute favorite parts of camp as well. Our cabin group would sit in a circle in our room, laughing, snacking and discussing our struggles in life. It was such a comfortable feeling. I felt like I could have talked to the amazing people I was surrounded with all night. We each comforted and loved one another in a way that I’m not sure words could ever explain.

When the dreaded last day came, I was heartbroken. I didn’t want to leave this safe haven of mine and head back to reality, but I realized I wasn’t heading home alone. I had a stronger connection with not only myself and my friends, but with Jesus.

If you get the chance to not only go to YoungLife club but to YoungLife camp, take it. I promise you won’t regret the experience. After all, can you think of the best week of your life?