Thoughts on a Week at Camp Allen

Guest column by Rob Scholl

Dear Camper,

It’s been a little over a week since we last saw one another, and in case you’ve forgotten I was one of the adult volunteers with David Browder, Kari Browder, Bob Fisher, and Jennifer Underwood. I hope you have recovered from camp life–the scrapes and bruises from Jungle Safari, the horse fly bites from the pool, and haphazard sleeping. I hope you’ve also gotten to think about your Session Leader’s–Mr. Browder’s–teaching.

Teaching through B Movies

at Camp Allen

St. Thomas’ parishioners volunteer at Camp Allen

In case you’ve forgotten his theme was the Alien Invasion: The Kingdom of God Comes to Earth. Day 1 began with Godzilla (1956) who disrupted the world. Mr. Browder encouraged you to think of Christ like that–the great disruptor to the world’s way of thinking. In Day 2, you saw a clip from the Forbidden Planet (1956) in which the protagonist realized that the Monster of the Id was none other than his subconscious drive for power. Mr. Browder hoped that you would realize that the world and all of us in it are profoundly broken due to our sin nature. In Day 3, Mr. Browder described how the world resists this understanding of our broken condition by denying our sin nature; however just like the actors in The Blob (1958), the world’s attempts at denial are met by a face-to-face meeting with gooey reality.  By Day 4, I hope you realized that someone else is needed for the problems of this world. In The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), that someone else was the alien Klatuu in the form of Mr. Carpenter who came to save the planet.  For us, that someone else is Jesus Christ, who died for a traitor like Barrabas in the Gospel of Mark, but also died for you and me in our brokenness.  Finally, in Day 5 Mr. Browder showed you how some resist this gift of grace.  In It Came from Outer Space (1953) the lead actor offers grace and a means of escape to the aliens despite their mistreatment of his girlfriend, in contrast to the sheriff and his posse, who desire only payback.

The Counselors

But even if you didn’t get all of the Biblical stuff, here’s something I want to share about your counselors. I heard their stories, their backgrounds, and their desire to share what they had experienced over previous summers as campers at Camp Allen.  I overheard their words of encouragement to homesick campers, and witnessed their patience at repeated trips to the medicine cabinet as they removed splinters or applied ointment to bug bites.  They really thought about ways to make your experience special–in cabin decorations or funky group dances or holding your devotional time in some place special–like under the stars.  You may not know this but it wasn’t always easy for them.  However, throughout the entire week, they showered you with love and prayed for you regardless of circumstance, as demonstrated by that last night when your staff sang worship music to each cabin.

The Campers

Under the stars

Under the stars

And finally, I saw something in you. I watched a boy begin the week timidly, but end the week laughing with new friends and with an eagerness to try new things. I watched one cabin “adopt” Mr. Browder’s son, Hank–playing with him on the lily pad at the lake or at the swimming pool.  On the day of the Talent Show, one quiet girl belted out a heartfelt song from Adele, and two boys rapped a difficult number from Hamilton in front of the entire campsite. Now that takes guts!! Finally, I accompanied one very brave girl to College Station for a broken bone. I not only witnessed her determination to continue the week, but also the camaraderie of her cabin mates who rallied around her to carry her, serve her, and make sure that she had a great week.

Above all I hope this week reminded you of something I don’t think we hear often enough.  Yes, you and I are more broken than we imagine ourselves to be but we are also more profoundly loved than we can ever dare to dream by a God who sacrificed his Son on our behalf. I look forward to seeing all of you next summer.

Sincerely yours,

Rob Scholl
(Your Adult Resource Volunteer)