Life is filled with hellos and good-byes. Click here for a story about our first “hello” with Springhill Camps.
But for now, it’s good-bye. I thought today would be the day I went to my 25th and last closing day rally. As it turns out, Melissa isn’t quite packed and ready to move to GR until Saturday. Beyond last week when I missed the closing rally while picking up my niece, I can’t really put a distinct time and space to: “This is my last closing day rally at SH.”
I’m positive our kids will ship their kids off to camp when the time comes. They’ll have the time of their lives. They’ll sleep in tee pees or cabooses, or an actual cargo plane. They’ll tie-dye and blob. They’ll fall in love with their counselors and maybe a spouse. The gap will be a 7-year waiting period, at the least. Tony and Jen still stand in the Springhill Day Camp arena; nevertheless today ends a Wilke era with SH Michigan Overnight Camps.
Why camp? Why Springhill Camps? There are hundreds of answers. A break from the everyday world. A chance to be in God’s great creation. A decentralized teaching method that instills God in all things. A staff trained to love on kids, get their hands dirty and by the end of the summer have acquired Jesus feet.
Because God is not a grandfather, and we couldn’t just splice our kids into the Tree of Life, we partnered with Springhill because their values were based on truth. Just because we believed, did not mean our children would. There’s nothing spiritual about pulling into the Springhill property. Going to camp doesn’t make anyone you a believer, just as going to church does not make one a Christian.
We did everything in our power to create an atmosphere where truth prevailed. A generation that doesn’t have a plum line of truth will inevitably be swayed by every wind of doctrine. We wanted our kids to know the truth, for indeed it will and did set them free.
And so today we are leaving Springhill, not literally, but physically.
It’s hard to put into words, what SH has meant to our family. I get tears in my eyes just writing about it now. There is nothing magical about the Springhill property yet something comes over each one of us when we drive into, or let our minds wander up there.
It’s a Jesus thing.
I think it is where each one of our kids came to a closer relationship with the God of the universe and His son. It is where he put his stamp of approval on each of their young hearts, minds and personalities.
It’s a God thing.
I pray whenever SH pops into their minds they will automatically know there is a God who loves and cares for them and bought them with a great price. I pray it won’t be all about winning a spirit stick, but having the Holy Spirit fall upon their lives and a future generation of springhill campers.
It’s a Spirit thing.
I wrote the above prayer in a scrapbook created years and years ago, before there was an Indiana camp on the 39th parallel, and daycamps all over the Midwest, but it's reiterated here:
Looking back I don't believe we sent our kids and eventually grandkids to camp to get a 'springhill' experience. We sent them in hopes they would meet up with the God of the Universe, fall in love with his beloved son Jesus Christ, and encounter life to the full by being filled with the Holy Spirit.