Eagle Lake’s week long mobile summer camp returned to Elsberry last week for their third straight unprecedented year at the United Methodist Church.
One hundred and fifty kids were enrolled for the daily adventure of games, crafts, but most importantly, bible studies and spiritual stories that will last a lifetime.
Approximately 10 ladies from the UMC and Christian Church worked daily under the direction of Marleen Frein to feed the kids and counselors, which was no easy task to serve 170 people.
This year when the caravan of counselors and equipment rolled into town for their latest adventure there was a slight twist.
One of Elsberry’s own, Anne Heintzelman, was among the 20 counselors who would work the week-long camp of fun and excitement for Elsberry’s youth.
The counselors are responsible for leading the kids through rotations each day. The rotations consist of activities, such as, Spider Mountain, huge water slide, laser tag, crafts, games and bible study. Also included are two camper rallies that include music, skits, and gospel talks.
Beyond the camp day with the kids, the counselors have much more responsibly. Her and her fellow counselors begin each morning by being at the church at 7 a.m. for individual quiet times and to set up all the equipment needed for each day. At the end of each day, equipment had to be torn down and stored until the next day.
Mid-week the counselors gather for bible study and to analyze how the week is progressing.
When in the weekly locations anywhere from two to eight counselors stay with host families that provide lodging, dinner each night and an awesome hospitality experience for the young men and women.
Every Saturday is a travel day to the next town with a few hours to explore a city, chill in a coffee shop and load up on snacks at Walmart before being “adopted” by host families for the week.
Heintzelman learned of her new position in April, so in late May she traveled to Eagle Lake Camps home base in Colorado Springs, CO for 10 days of training.
On June 4 the first camp of a total of 10 began around Missouri. The first few days were spent practicing setting up and tearing down equipment.
In regards to her training experience Heintzelman said “We stayed in cabins and although it was cold it was so beautiful and peaceful up there with no cell service and the chance to start getting to know the 20 people we’d be traveling around with all summer.”
Elsberry camp is the last stop for this group of counselors as they will be heading back to Colorado for the last week. Some will be doing projects at Glen Eyrie, others are counselors at a day camp at Glen Eyrie and about five counselors have to head back early for college. Their final responsibility will be disorientation on Aug. 11-13 and then Heintzelman will fly back home.
What better way for the recent college graduate to spend the summer with this experience.
“It has been such a blessing to travel around meeting and impacting/being impacted by so many kids and families across the state,” said Heintzelman.
“Dedicating all of my time to working for the Lord has allowed me to grow so much in my relationship with God. I have also made amazing lifelong best friends with 20 other amazing women and men.”
Spending 10 weeks with the same people allowed them to see each other at their highest and lowest, but more importantly they were able to relate in experiences that are so unique to this job. She is not sure if she will return next year, but she knows for sure she wouldn’t give up the last 10 weeks for anything.