Monday, November 22, 2010

More Mr. Percy

Mr. Percy lives near some of my PID kids, so I get to see him occasionally.  If you missed the introduction and story of how we met, you can click the links below to previous blogs (and more suits :-) 
Mr. Percy is waiting on a kidney transplant.  He's not outside as much as he used to be, but he said that he is dressed in his suits in the house.  He gave my friend and I his number and said that if we call he will come out for a picture - he loves to be able to share his suits with someone who is excited to see them.  (What I really want to see is his closet!!  250+ suits and accessories is a lot to keep organized!)
Halloween suit.  To see the others go to The Suit with the Feathers! and Braids, Beads, and Pimp Suits.  (Be sure to come back here...I haven't updated my blog in a while so the following posts are new news too! :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rake 'n Rock 2010

Every fall Beechpoint hosts a camp service project day where families, youth groups, our Leaders in Training teens (LITs), and alumni staff come to help with the huge task of raking leaves on campus.  When I was young enough to think that leaves were romantic we had 2 small trees in our yard - just enough to scrape together a pile.  On the other hand, Beechpoint will shed enough leaves in the fall to mulch an entire farm!
Two of my PID kids were old enough to come to Rake 'n Rock this year.  Jabari is 14 and HILARIOUS.  You all would like him, I promise.  It's impossible not to.  He has a great sense of humor, gets along well with people, and is very creative and inventive.  He's raking leaves with Sam.
Kenya is 13.  She has this great laugh she does whenever she's surprised by something that makes you want to laugh too.  She's very smart and pushes her own self to do well in school.  She also has the best cursive handwriting of any 13 year old I know!  She's raking leaves with her new friend Bethany.
Just in case you didn't believe me that it's a lot of leaves.  And this picture only shows a little tiny part of what needed to be raked.  This year we had about 90 volunteers to help with the work.  Camp provides lunch and outdoor activities in the afternoon as a thanks for everyone's service.
My friend Hilda brought 9 campers from Chicago out for the day to help rake!  These are her beautiful daughters, Annalise and Anaya.
New friends: Karleigh and Mya
Playing in the leaves!

I love visitors!

My friend, Miss Shari, came all the way from Idaho to visit me!!  We had an excellent weekend together just talking about all the things we never get to talk about since we now live so far away.  I love that my Shari got to see where I live and my Michigan church and Camp Beechpoint.  I love that she took the time to come here to visit.  I've been shopping for her baby ever since I moved here ... I love that we got to go shopping for Keyauna together!  She is a stylist, so she was also able to buy hair here for resale ... so I'm tryna get her to make coming to see me a bi-annual business trip!
Shari and I at church on Sunday.
"Look, I really am at Megan's house!"
We went to visit another friend from Idaho's mother and sister.
Miss Shari bought 10 pairs of shoes while she was here!  And she got all these shoes for under $100!  Now, I'm steady tryna get more people to come out here to visit me.  So for all you shoe lovers, here's the ticket!  We spent 2 days all up and through the hood shoppin for shoes and such ... and if you come to visit me then I will take you Chicago shopping too!

All my visitors sign the guest book... I've had more than 60 visitors since I moved into this apartment last October!!  I will save a special spot in the guest book just for YOU! ;-)

New After School Clubs!

Each week I get to meet with 6 kids individually to do Partners In Discipleship (PID), camp's year-round follow-up program.  We pray together, go over the Bible lesson they've completed, and spend time talking about their day.  Each PIDer gets to have some 1:1 time with an adult.  While they are waiting for their turn they work on homework and play games together.

My favorite thing about PID is that I see kids getting excited to learn more about the Bible and learning how to study the Word for themselves!
Top: Adam, Leiny, Zoie, Isabella, Alec, and Raquel
Bottom: Idalys, Natalia, Enyaeva, Rosie, and Gabriel

There are now 4 PID clubs going.  This is the newest.  Praise God for their parents' willingness to allow the kids to attend club and coming to pick them up late.
I get to lead this club with 2 of my favorite people: Mr. Angel and Ms. Maxine.  With the 3 of us it is never a dull moment!  Can you tell we are looking down at a little kid taking our picture?  :-)  I am now spending 2 of my afternoons in PID clubs, 2 afternoons meeting with individual kids, and in January I will begin a Good News Bible club in a Chicago Public School with Ms. Maxine.

Sneak Trip to Boise

One of my very best friends, Beth, flew me to Idaho for a visit in September.  After my whirlwind-record -breaking visit at Christmas (breakfast at 6am? sure!  come over at 11pm? of course!) Beth told me that if she was sending the ticket then I was staying at her house so she could actually see me!  It was a wonderfully relaxing trip and I loved spending time with her sons.  It's sad to me that I don't live next door and get to keep the boys!  We had a great week together!  Moral of the story :: You too can sneak me to your house and I will stay put to visit you! :-)
Brycen (almost 5), Megan, Beth, Jace (almost 3)
I also got to meet the Blakesters while I was home, my friend Dawn's baby boy.
Brycen and Jace have like a dozen stuffed puppies.  We piled all of them together to take these pics.  There's nothing more endearing than a well-loved, scruffy stuffed animal!
My princess Keyauna (3 yrs) came to the house to visit me while I was in Boise.  I am her barrette supplier from Chicago and I brought a suitcase full of balls and barrettes.  She was TOO EXCITED to see all her new accessories, lol.
My sister, Sarah, drove up to Boise to see me for the afternoon. :-)
I snuck out to see Jonas and Merari.  (Notice I have pictures of all my friend's kids but not necessarily my friends, lol.  It's just that I like kids so much!  And most grown ups don't want to be in pictures unless they know about it ahead of time, myself included.)
I saw my friend Britany for a quick minute also.  If you're reading this post that means you've been reading my blog for a good long minute since I am updating all at once... but Britany writes the BEST BLOG EVER:
We went shopping for the boys' Halloween costumes while I was in town.  Look at baby Blake's face! :-) There were a lot of distractions with the leaves and pumpkins, so looking at the camera was a real act of will for him!

For the Strong of Heart!

You know how they say that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree?  For me and my mom that's true in a lot of ways:

* because of my mom I am very organized.  I could easily put my hands on my high school transcripts or my "lost wallet file" or that letter you sent me when I was 16 (I also got a little bit of the sentimental pack rat gene :-).  As a shout out to my mom's impressive pantry, both of my vegetable jars are facing label-side forward.
* because of my mom I love big open windows with cheery sunshine bathing the room in happiness.
* because of my mom I love, love, love pictures!
* because of my mom I believe in clean and uncluttered spaces.  Like inside my oven.  And I don't have a junk drawer because those items have a designated location. 

But when it comes to athletics I am more like a watermelon ... apparently I never made it into the tree in order to fall close by in the first place!  I don't like to sweat, I am scared of the ball, I'd rather be competitive by thinking than by moving around, and let's face it:  I am more than just a bit lazy.

My mom, Alice Schenk, is an IRON WOMAN!  She has now completed 3 Ironman triathlons!  This involves swimming 2.4 miles (often with ocean waves), biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles ... ALL IN A ROW!  My mom's record time for this event is 13 hours 34 minutes and 19 seconds!  Some days I have a hard time just staying awake for 13.5 hours.  Can you imagine swimming, biking, and running for that long!?!
One of mom's friends, Cindy Singleton, took these professional pictures.

When I was a kid my mom was the Awana game director.  She did this event for the "strong of heart and stout of stomach".  After recruiting 6 volunteers she opened a can of dog food and spread it onto crackers ... whoever ate their cracker first was the winner.  My dad walked by during the explanation and popped one into his mouth on this way through.  You've never seen kids nibble so carefully around the edge.  How could they have known that my mom had steamed the label off corned beef hash and replaced it with a dog food label?!!! lol
Well, the Ironman is an event especially designed for the stout of heart.  In the back of the picture is the 2500+  athletes preparing to enter the swim.  They just jump in there all at once.  Mom says its a lot of jostling and the lead athletes who are competing for the win just swim right over the top of you!  You might also notice that the crowd watching is dressed like it's winter.  So, as you can see ... the Ironman is definitely for the strong of heart and stout of spirit!!
Mom's other latest adventure was climbing Mt. Borah to a height of 12,662 feet!!  Imagine going up 12,662 stairs!  I'm not real impressed with the 3 flights to get into my apartment!  But I think you'll agree with me from this picture ... the number of steps wasn't really the main concern on this climb!
This part of Mt. Borah is called "Chicken Out Ridge".  I have to grab ahold of something solid just to LOOK at the picture! 
Mom at the top of Idaho!  Only those who are strong of heart would attempt such a frightful adventure!  Good job Mom!

Grand Opening of the Lakeview Lodge!!

After 8 years of prayer, giving, and labor ... the LAKEVIEW LODGE is complete!  This summer we officially opened for use and had a celebration on Oct 2.  With capacity to serve 300, this building is a much needed space to serve campers and retreat groups.  The building also offers additional meeting spaces, storage space, and programming areas.  We are exciting to be expanding ministry opportunities through the use of this building!
View from the lake.  The lodge has a wrap-around porch including 2 covered porch areas for rainy days.
Bob VanDyke (right) is our Director of Site Development.  He sold his contractors business to become a missionary with Camp Beechpoint and has now been on staff for 12 years.  "Uncle Bob" drew up the plans for the building and provided oversight for the teams of volunteer workers.  Bob Bakker (left) is one of the many volunteers - he has come to camp a couple days a week to serve ... for the past 7 years!  Since we have a Bob the Builder on staff I always call him Bob the Baker, but somehow it hasn't caught on yet, lol.
The building was built with the help of 900+ volunteers, many of whom dedicated years of service to this project.  Many volunteered professional skills such as plumbing, electric, carpentry, roofing, and contractor skills.  There is an estimated 1.5 million dollars in estimated savings because of those who gave their time and talent to this project!
The Lodge will allow us to host multiple and larger retreat groups, which is one of the ways we fund camper scholarships.  We also gain more flexibility in our winter programming with the added indoor space.
The view of the dining room.  It has already been utilized for meals, banquets, weddings, retreats, seminars, trainings, and (of course) the grand opening celebration program.
The commercial kitchen on move-in day.  Our old kitchen was the size of the kitchen in my parent's home.  Great for a family, but super tricky for 3 meals a day for 200 people!
The dish room might not typically be a highlight.  But for anyone who's done dishes at Camp Beechpoint this room is a mecca of air conditioning, solid flooring, bright lighting, and space!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

One Giant Wrestling Match

The summer is the best time for blogging because of the limitless photos and stories.  It's also the most challenging time to blog because of the nonstop schedule.  I am consoling myself with the promise that I will share many summer camp pictures in the fall.  Here are a few quick shots from the past couple of weeks - in no particular order or relevance. :-)
This summer Phillip Turner has been working as a cabin leader at camp.  He's my best friend's brother and from my hometown in Rupert, Idaho.  He's doing a great job engaging his campers and making an impact in their lives.  Every week we have theme chapel.  Cabins win points for the most creative theme.  One week Phillip's cabin only had 3 boys in it.  So he had them be the 3 Blind Mice.  The kids were really hamming it up, wish you were there. :-)
I love, love, love that camp is multicultural!  It's such a healthy experience for our campers.  Here is Jenessa, Christina, and Love.
The 2 boys in the front are friends from my church in Kalamazoo, Preston and Jordan.  With this job I inherited a lot of relationships and community connections and I love the many places I have friends.  I also love all the older kids that I know at camp from previous summers.
Boys Swim Time = Giant Wrestling Match, LOL
Diamond, me, and Tamia.  Haircut Wednesday is always a good time for pictures. :-)  We have one more week of summer camp, can you believe it?!  Pray for our summer staff to finish strong and for great spiritual impact in our last set of campers.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mustache Tuesday

Every week we have mustache Tuesday where one cabin wins for the most creative mustaches. Phillip Turner creating a mustache for Julian.
Me with Diamond.
A mustache made out of AirHeads.
Each camper gets their picture taken for the end of the week thank you letters.  Last week I didn't get the pictures taken before mustache Tuesday.  We print the letters in black and white so you can't tell that this mustache is purple marker.  So Cameron's sponsor is going to wonder why this 8 year old boy has a grown man's mustache. :-)

Here are a couple of quotes from this week's thank you letters:
"My cabin is called Fiery Furnace and my cabin leaders are Philip, Zack, and Dan.  These guys are the nicest guys I ever met in my life." - Mark, age 13

"I had a wonderful time doing everything.  And finally I have something to say, drum roll please ... Ba bababa ba ba ba boom, I GOT SAVED!" - Kiyah, age 10
"Zip line was FF: fast and fun.  And the petting farm was fluffy.  And cookout was yummy." - Emilio, age 10