Faith. Family. Community. Tradition.

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

Warning: this post is completely different than what I usually write. It’s not a craft of DIY project. There aren’t any tips or tutorials. It’s just me talking about my week, about a tradition that’s been going on in my family for a long, long time now and has been a big part of my world. This is real life!

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that last week was a little out of the ordinary for us. While Donnie stayed at our house so he could go to work and make some progress on our master bathroom, the Cs and I traveled to the town where I grew up and stayed with my parents so that Connor could go to their day camp for the first time. That may seem like a normal summer thing to do, and it was, but what made the week so extra special was that this was the 25th year they had run the camp. The first year, 25 years ago, I had just finished kindergarten and was one of the youngest campers there.

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

Their camp uses sports and competition to teach campers about Jesus, that He is not confined to the four walls of a church, but is with us in the midst of daily life. It is loosely based off the model of Summer’s Best Two Weeks, an overnight camp where my parents worked right after college. (And that I attended all my life!) There are two teams– the Romans (in red), and the Galatians (in blue)– and they compete against each other during the week in competitions like hockey, soccer, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee. Each camper also works toward goals in various activities (tennis, archery, canoeing, track events, etc.) that earn points for their team.

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

My Little Goalie <3

While Con was playing up a storm, Caleb and I got to hang out one-on-one for a lot of the week! He was just slightly obsessed with Grandma’s water/sand table… (What is it with little boys and messes?!)

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

And every day we would walk down to the little store in town to grab slushies. One of the things I miss most about living in a small town is the ability to walk everywhere (and know everyone that you pass on the way there)!

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

My favorite day of camp by far is the last day. The regular schedule is thrown out the window, and the campers compete in meets to earn even more points for their teams. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather for the swim meet, where Con came in third in the floatie race. He was so proud of his ribbon! 😀

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

Caleb was exhausted from his busy week by this point. As soon as we sat down in a shady spot to watch the kids swim, he was out!

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

He did wake up long enough to snap a picture with his Aunt B, though…

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

Next it was on to the wrestling meet. The campers always go all out for this one! They paint their faces, they spray their hair various colors, and almost no one has a voice at the end from cheering so hard!

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

My crazy little baby had to get in on the action too…

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

At the end of the week, the entire community is invited to a big block party, held right in the middle of town. Everyone pitches in and brings food, there are hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs cooking on the grills, and the line for food is long, but no one minds because you’re getting to hang out with friends and family while you wait.

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

Dinner is followed by an awards ceremony where the kids are recognized for their accomplishments. The campers are always anxious for the end of the night where they find out which team has racked up the most points for the week and earns bragging rights for the year! (Con was so thrilled that his Galatians won!)

Usually once the winning team is announced, that’s it– everyone makes their way home. This year, though, camp ended with a pretty fun twist. You see, a little over a year ago, my parents hired a guy named Jon to come work with their youth ministry. It didn’t take long for he and my sister Brittany, who also works for my parents, to become interested in each other and start dating. {Can you guess where this is going?} At the end of the block party/awards ceremony, my dad announced that there was one more award to be given out, and turned it over to Jon, who, in front of all of the day camp kids, high school-aged counselors, and all of their parents and friends, delivered the most beautiful proposal you’ve ever seen.

Day Camp | Just a Girl and Her Blog

Of course she said “yes!” I could not be more thrilled for them! {And I guess you’ll probably be seeing some wedding projects on the blog over the next several months! 😉 }

What a week! If it seemed like I was slacking on social media, comments, emails, etc. last week, it’s because I was. I was totally trying to soak in every moment, and I loved getting to see Connor experience something that was such a big part of my life for so long. I loved watching younger kids and older counselors get to experience the love of Christ in a new and very real way. I loved being back “home” and enjoying small town life again. I loved watching my sister be oblivious all week as the rest of us knew she would soon be getting engaged!

I think that every once in a while it is SO good to get a break from the normal routine. I know it really helped me to weigh my priorities and get back to what’s really important. I absolutely love what I do with blogging, but it’s not everything. Last week was a really great reminder of that. My kids, husband, the rest of my family, friends, and most of all Jesus, need to come first, no matter what. Because, to quote The Hokey Pokey, “That’s what it’s all about!” 😉

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24 Comments

  1. Katie @ Little House of Four says:

    Oh, my goodness….Congratulations to your sister! What a sweet proposal! Looks like your boys (and you) had a great week! I completely agree that family needs to come first. Blogging can quickly take over and it’s nice to slow down and remember what’s truly important! Great post!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, friend! It was such a fun day! They’re shooting for a November wedding, so plans are underway! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  2. You are so right Abby … we all need a break from our crazy day-to-day lives, to stop, take a few deep breaths, refocus and regenerate. As a child my mom would always take me to a Bible summer camp at a christian college a couple of hours from our home. Sadly, the college closed several years ago, but we’ve always found a way to pass on the tradition to our children through other Christian camps. Now that our kids are getting older, they are loving being able to serve at camps and bless other children. It’s awesome that your boys are able to enjoy something you were so fond of as a child. What a blessing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I so agree! I went to the day camp and then an overnight camp my whole childhood and later became a counselor at both, and I just think that Christian camping is such an effective outlet for ministry! I’m not even an “outdoor girl,” but I loved every minute of it because it was such a neat way to be able to connect with kids and share Jesus with them! How fun that your kiddos are now being able to give back and help younger kids! Hope you’re having a wonderful week, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  3. jaci (go romans!) says:

    HOW EXCITING!!!!! And I love how you got to see your little man follow in your blue footsteps! Obviously we don’t have a SB2W day camp anywhere in NY, but hopefully someday he can go overnight to Lake Gloria just like we did!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw yay! How fun would it be if our boys ended up at camp together? I can’t believe we’re even talking about this… weren’t we just campers?! How did we get so old? 😉 So great to hear from you, friend! Hope you all are doing well!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Karen @ a house full of sunshine says:

    I love this post, Abby! I’ve been doing some priority-weighing of late myself, and have come to the same conclusion – nothing is worth putting ahead of God! I’ve gotta be careful not to let blogging become an idol. He’s number one, and that really is what it’s all about! Loved reading about your childhood camp memories – so precious!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You said it, friend! It is so easy to get wrapped up in what needs to be done next for the blog and put God on the back burner. It’s definitely something I’ve been convicted about. Hope you are doing well! I am still keeping sweet little Allegra in my prayers and think of you guys often! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  5. As July hits, I love everything about this post!!!! Time can fly before we know it and this post just made me smile so much! Loved seeing these sweet pics of your boys and what an awesome ending to a perfect week! 🙂

  6. Lisa Williams says:

    New follower here! Great post! Congratulations to your sister! My little brother just got engaged 2 weeks ago!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So nice to “meet” you, Lisa! Thanks so much for popping over to my blog! And congrats to your brother, too! Wedding bells all around! 😀

      ~Abby =)

  7. Looks like such a fun week!! And how exciting about your sister! Yay have fun helping with wedding plans- so much fun!

  8. Kim {Pinspired Home} says:

    Sounds like a wonderful week! Thanks for the reminder that there are much more important things in life than blogging. Sometimes my actions – and time management – don’t reflect that! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Girl, I totally hear you! I am totally guilty of that! I hope you all are doing well! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  9. So sweet! I watched the short video Donnie put up on his Instagram. Love and light to both of them as they prepare for their wedding 🙂 🙂

  10. Oh my gosh, what a fun week! Such fun memories for you all, and of course it’s so great to spend good, quality time with family and friends. I love getting to go back home sometimes (rarely, since it’s so far) and just remember growing up there. I bet your boys loved every minute (even the naps, it seems)! Congrats to your sis – such a cute proposal idea! Very exciting, and I’m sure she’ll be wanting lots of help from you putting everything together. What fun!!! Hugs, friend!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It is hard to be far from home! We lived in Arizona for a while after we got married, and I missed everyone so much! We’re only about an hour and a half from my parents now, so it’s a much more manageable distance!
      I’m looking forward to helping with the wedding planning for sure. They’re shooting for November, so it will be a quick one! Have a great week, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  11. What a fantastic week!!! I’m so happy to hear that you took time to soak up all of the most important things life has to offer…faith, family, friendships and love. Congratulations to your sister! How exciting!!! If you need any wedding planning help…just give me a shout! I love weddings!!! 😉

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aww thanks, friend! I can’t wait to hang out next weekend!! Talk to you soon!!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Sarah @ Life On Virginia Street says:

    What an amazing concept for a summer camp! And such a cool proposal for your sister. I’m sure you all couldn’t be happier! 🙂

  13. Love this Abby! Thank you for sharing and giving us a glimpse of your obviously amazing week!! My hubby does recreation ministry! I am going to share this camp with him! Congrats to your sister 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh awesome! I think that recreation ministry is such a great way to get kids (and adults) involved and be able to share Christ with them! Sometimes it’s outside the four walls of a church that people really “get it!” I know it’s not always the easiest job in the world, though, so bless your husband (and you)! 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Carrie @ Kenarry: Ideas for the Home says:

    Now I want to go to camp! It sounds like you had an absolutely amazing week — and what a way to cap it off! This post is a great reminder to put first things first and soak in what’s most important. Blogging can take a backseat.

  15. Kendra @ www.joyinourhome.com says:

    Looks like such a fun week of memories, Abby! And that proposal!! 🙂 So fun!! I totally agree, sometime you gotta take time away and just make memories… I was unplugged for 4 days about a couple weeks ago as we went to our church camp. I so needed it and it was so rewarding!! 🙂 Have a great rest of the week!

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