Bringing Me Back to Camp

Create in me a clean heart.

Create in me a clean heart oh God
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence oh Lord
Take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of my salvation
And renew a right spirit within me.

I sung my girls to sleep tonight, like I always do. Well, one of them. The 4-year-old is still awake as I type this, but I sang to her anyway. A little bit of peace at the end of a typically crazy day.

One night, as Division Director for the Explorers, laying down on the tarps after putting out the campfire, watching it smoke, staring up at the stars in the sky, totally speechless thinking about how small we are, how big God is, how amazing it is that we matter to Him. It had been an emotional year for a variety of reasons. Peace. God’s presence… peace.

Seek ye first.

One particular rainy evening campfire in the dining hall. I don’t actually remember anything else from that night, just singing that song, in that place, surrounded by a whole lot of girls and women of God.

As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longs after thee.

Breakfast in the dining hall. Sitting with other campers, singing. Sitting with my fellow CILTs, as a camper in leadership training. Sitting with the other counselors during staff training. With a cabin of girls of my own. With the senior staff. Every day, whatever the song, starting the day with a reminder of who God is, why we live, why we love, why we serve.

So light the fire in my heart again.

Singing to a group of junior high girls, up on the Meadows porch, with a dear friend and fellow counselor, “Koloa”, as they went to sleep one night. Then talking by candlelight outside, cementing friendships now far apart, but still dear to my heart. All followed by a hilarious mouse/half-awake counselor incident later that night… “Koloa, there’s a mouse in the cabin!” “Mmmm. Mmkay. Let’s pray about it. 'night.”

Oh, I was born one night, one morn when the whistle went toot toot!

My 4-year-old learned all three verses to the Nonsense Song last year - an impressive feat. Last week she asked me every night to swing “the swimming pool song” - which will always be “Swimming, Swimming, in ‘Kea’s’ Pool” to me. She LOVES the skunk song, of course. And I know it got banned, once upon a time, but I’m teaching them the Rooster Song anyway.

I grew up at camp, spending a week there every summer, until starting CILT the summer before 10th grade (two weeks! I get to go two weeks!). I was a counselor the next two years, then went off to college and worked summers. I came back several years after college graduation (couldn’t stay away!), then moved to Colorado.

It’s been 8 years, I think, since I last worked at camp. Seven since my last CILT graduation (tearing up while holding a candle with a whole line of amazing women, watching a whole host of amazing daughters of God walking past. Joy.). Half a continent away, two kids later, I am not sure a night goes by when singing to my girls doesn’t transport me back in time!

I haven’t been back since… except every single night, singing my girls to sleep.

-Krista "Ava" Frank

Ava eating an outdoor lunch her daughters, who are future Cherith campers

Ava eating an outdoor lunch her daughters, who are future Cherith campers