Planning a family vacation that will appeal to three boys, not to mention my husband and me, is not for the faint-of-heart. We didn't want to blow every penny of the boys' college funds; we didn't want to spend two weeks crammed in a van together touring presidential birthplaces; and I'd never get the four men in my life to spend a week antiquing through the Midwest with me.
What we needed was a relatively cheap, action-packed vacation that would be fun for the kids, low-key for me and my husband, and maybe even help us grow closer together. Our solution was a long weekend at a family camp being held at a Christian camp nearby. Different? Yep. Meaningful? Well, see for yourself.
Thursday, 9:30 P.M.
We arrived at Castaway Club--a national Young Life property located in northern Minnesota--a few hours ago. For the next three days, this place will be converted from its normal teen outreach milieu to a place where families can spend time together, away from the rush and pressures of home. I'm glad to be here, though if I were to be totally honest, after the stress of getting us all packed and on the road, I'd be more excited if this were Mom camp, not family camp.
Later Thursday night
We've just returned from our first "club" of family camp. "Club" is the camp version of a worship service and it isn't quite what I expected, but that proved to be a good thing. Aside from the fact that this place doesn't have a church in the architectural sense, neither does it have a church in the format sense. No choir, no songbooks, no pulpit, no bulletins to doodle on, no pew pencils to doodle with. Instead, we sit on the floor in a modern and well-equipped auditorium. There are several hundred of us between the ages of one month and many decades. The songs call for everything from sha-boo-bop-ba-do-ing to tickling our kids to doing the twist. Truth be told, I've never done the twist in church before. Families are twisting, shaking, laughing, tumbling into piles--and it all seems quite spiritual to me. One song calls for jungle noises, which the children, and dads, heartily provide. The man next to me sounds surprisingly like a chimpanzee.1