My heart was racing. I knew it was my year; I had done everything right. I fought for a couple green eights, carried the flag a couple inches; and helped get the watermelon out of the pool. I hugged all the little campers and gave piggy back rides. I braided some rope necklaces while singing Kumbaya. I shined in the JC skit, clapped my hands vigorously at Campfire and promptly mellowed out before chapel. I wore Birkenstocks, missed a shower or two, and shared my deepest thoughts after each excerpt of Chicken Soup for the Soul at Devotions. And unlike everyone else, I went to bed in time. I was a shoe in, come on.
Gary said it was a unique year; one camper had risen to the top; there would be no outstanding boy and outstanding girl camper; there was one star performer. Crap.
Gary continued, "it was someone who was humble."
"Someone who quietly leads"
I can be quiet.
"Always eager to share his warm smile."
His. Triple crap.
This year's Outstanding Camper Award goes to the unassuming guy who everyone loves. Chris.
I visualized myself taking center stage, accepting that coveted King James version of the Bible, hugging Gary, and absorbing the slow to fast claps echoing through the dining hall. I did everything right, how did I not win?
At this time of year, Calvary Camp, and the ten summers I spent there are always on my mind. And over the past couple years, I've tried to bring a little bit of Calvary to Chicagoland and share it with my family. Camp LaGrange was back in session with a record number of campers last week.
With the spike in attendance, I offered an increased number of electives. And hired a couple more counselors.
The four-day session was filled with yachting, Lake Michigan dipping, biking, and hiking; playground, pool, bubble blowing, and photography electives; camp fire songs, Chapel melodies, epic meals, canteen and of course devotions.
Nanny thought she was going to win after her bold triathlon performance on Saturday: 4 miles hiking, 14 miles biking, 1 mile swimming, and a trip down the twisty slide at the pool.
Erin thought her brave seamanship was award winning.
Opa thought his photography was his golden ticket.
Mary thought the prize was hers just because she was the cutest one at camp.
Cousin Meghan couldn't win, because she had won before.
And there was Aunt Dee. Unassuming Aunt Dee.
It was her attitude, perseverance, and genuine, modest leadership.
It was how she listened and made others feel like their stories were so interesting.
It was the fact that when her bum was sore, she kept on peddling.
In her presence, you might have overheard her saying something like,
"There's nothing like a cold beer."
"I just love when Mary laughs."
"These ribs are SOOOO good."
"I'll send you Grandma's recipe."
"This is Awesome."
The 2014 Outstanding Camper award goes to Aunt Dee.
Clap ... Clap ... Clap ... Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap!
Mary, just seven more years until you experience your first sunset over Lake Erie.