The God of Angel Armies is Always By My Side

I know Who goes before me

I know Who stands behind

The God of angel armies

Is always by my side

The One who reigns forever

He is a Friend of mine

The God of angel armies Is always by my side

While I was catching up in the tuck shop tonight after getting back from two days away, I was listening to the beginning of Underground.  I listened to the kids BELTING this song out.  They weren’t just singing.  They were shouting.  Proclaiming.  They were owning that truth.  It’s really neat to hear the Worship Leaders drop out and just let the kids sing.  Their voices together are very powerful, giving Praise to The God of Angel Armies….
That same God of Angel Armies that they sang about in Underground tonight was out in full force today, protecting your kids and our staff (many of whom are likely also your kids) from some absolutely insane weather.  My day started out in Welland this morning.  It was hot, sticky, and windy.  We’d heard rumours of some good thunderstorm action that could show up throughout our drive today… there was even mention of squall lines, and the weather geek in me got quite excited.
Before I unfold today for you, I have to tell you some great news.  Earlier, I posted that Camp was looking for a new pickup truck.  Well, we have been hooked up.  Thanks to Rudy Wiebe Motors in Wainfleet, we now have a lovely gently used Chevy Silverado, and the Camp Truck is now black.  Check out some pics of Frank, our director, ironing out details with Rudy, and then of Nancy and Frank accepting the keys from Rudy, ready to drive it up here.  We’re very pleased with it!

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We headed for Barrie to stock up the tuck shop…. and it probably still won’t be enough candy :p

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…. and after leaving to do so, the sky started to get dark, and eerie looking.
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It was a very stark contrast to yesterday’s wandering around Niagara Falls, which looked like this (and it was 37 degrees…).
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Mom (Nancy) and I drove through some pretty intense rain and wind, all the while I was snapping pictures.  We were hoping everyone at Camp was inside, dry, and safe, because as I’m sure many of you saw, there were severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and warnings all over the Southern and Eastern part of the Province.  It was an active day.
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When we got back to Camp around dinner time, we found that thanks to smart phones, our staff was aware of the tornado warning situation, and to keep everyone as safe as possible, we discovered that a good portion of the afternoon was spent in the basement, enjoying an impromptu talent show, thrown together and hosted by our awesome lifeguards.  Of course, once the threat had passed and there was no more thunder and lightning, the kids were allowed to head back to the beach.  The evening finished off here nice and sunny.  Nothing came of the warnings here, though we know that it did elsewhere, and so we are very thankful tonight for the God of Angel Armies who was watching over our facilities and most importantly, our kids and staff.  As I’ve seen pictures rolling in over Facebook from all over today of damage left by these storms, I’m reminded that stuff is replaceable, people are not… but I’m also very thankful that we had zero damage.
Even though I was in the car, bracing against driving rain and raging winds, pictures were still taken!  Thanks to Shelly who happily handed over her memory card when I walked back into the building.
Talent Show
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Between acts, MCs Conor and Dave had people doing all kinds of things!  Here, it appears that the male counsellors are doing pushups.IMG_5662

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This may have been the “how to climb the rock wall” demonstration that I heard about at dinner.

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The infamous cup song….
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Again, thanks to Aunt Shelly for the pictures!  Here is the short but sweet free swim time the kids were able to have once the weather cleared up a bit.  Some of them are of her son’s cabin, but those pictures turned out awesome, so please enjoy!
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Tetherball — The official sport of Camp Kahquah
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Mr. Legge and Randy observe from a distance

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Dinner tonight was “Banquet Night” so check out some of the pics Shelly got of everyone all snazzied up.

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Ringing the Dinner Bell

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And, don’t think I’ve forgotten… I know I promised that I’d show the hilarious pictures from Medieval Times night on Tuesday, and I remembered!  From my Grandmother’s house yesterday in Welland, I sure did try, but apparently they’ve decided they no longer need to be connected to the Internet, and so I couldn’t post last night.Check out the pictures from Tuesday’s Campfire!  This is a rare treat, as I don’t usually make it to Campfire.  I find that that’s actually the best time to write the blog, because no one else is using the internet…. that, or 12:30 am…. which it is quickly approaching here.Somewhere, not being used, someone (and I’m legitimately not sure who) found a set of Gallows…. why do we have gallows you ask?  I really have no idea.  But they were used with pleasure at the Campfire.  Here, we find Joe, one of our trusted maintenance guys, chilling.
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Here are Uncle Waffles and Aunt Karley doing the “Smartest Man Alive” skit.  I’m not sure how he does it, but every time Waffles left, he was able to guess which person was chosen in the line.

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The Time Warp Dance

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The crowd yelling “PUNISHMENT!! PUNISHMENT!!!” in true Medieval fashion, when some of the male counsellors cheated at their game.

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The outcome of the game resulted in a dance-off between Noah and Luke.

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Noah was declared the winner.

And I’m not sure what made the decision to therefore put Josiah in the gallows, but his brother Jacob looks pretty content standing beside his baby brother, in the gallows, with tomatoes and tomato juice on his face.  Josiah’s a great sport, and hey, I’ve heard some of the stuff that goes on at Campfire.  I’d take tomatoes in the face over many, many other things 🙂

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And finally, to wrap up this, the last blog of Blaze, these pictures were also from Tuesday.

Also in Medieval fashion, our counsellors and LITs were gathered together on the Dusty Knoll, and they had to fight each other to remove each others’ socks.  I believe they named it Sock Wars…. Thanks to Sherri for these pictures, and I’m glad I wasn’t out there.  I would not have wanted to have gotten roped into that one!  For good reason, we let the guys and girls go separately on this one, and didn’t involve the kids.

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The Quietest Lunch EVER…. well, almost…

Today’s lunch theme was silent movies, as today’s theme overall was the 1920s, in keeping with the time traveling.  When the lunch theme is silent lunch, one becomes keenly aware how loud our support staff is.  The kids came in silently, dressed all in black and white.  They sat down quietly.  They ate quietly.  Not until dessert did they start with the singing and talking.

Here are some pictures of them coming into the lodge in their black and white.

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This was a very quiet lunch prayer…

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Some more costumes…

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Today was Emily’s birthday!  A cake was left for her when she was dropped off (and it was delicious!!), and look at how happy she looks with her balloons!  We sang to her, for sure!  In good Kahquah fashion.

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At archery this afternoon, my best opportunities at pictures were in front of the kids, which meant that the kids couldn’t have arrows in their bows…. can you imagine explaining THAT to the nurse!?  I did get some action shots standing safely behind the line of kids with their bows though.

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At low ropes, this activity was called “The Walk of Life.”  When they got to the end, it was like being at the end of life, and they weren’t allowed to speak anymore.  They could still help their friends out, but they had to do it without speaking.  The teamwork was quite something to watch.

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At wall climbing, I watched two girls climbing the wall.  Amber got almost to the top and exclaimed that she couldn’t do it.  Everyone at the bottom exclaimed “yes you can!  You can do it!  You’re almost there!”  The encouragement was lovely to watch.

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Here are our Junior Lifeguards and the team teaching them!

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It was another completely disgustingly scorching day today.  Once again, I won’t complain too much because I know that many of you experienced worse heat today than we did here.  However, we adapted well and made sure we stayed hydrated.

I found the secret to coolness while working in the tuck shop.  I stood in the doorway at the bottom of the stairs going down to underground, and with the door on the other side of underground open, there was this absolutely fantastic and glorious cross-breeze blowing through, so I stood there and basked for a moment…. until Pastor Jeff came and interrupted it :p

I mentioned that I was in the tuck shop today…. boy was I ever.  We ordered tank tops for the staff, and they couldn’t have come on a better day, with this being the hottest day so far.  I had to put my foot down and tell the staff to wait as they crowded the door, but they were VERY popular once I let them come down to buy them, and I suspect that tomorrow will be Tank Top Thursday.

Check out our directors for the week, Natalie and Jordanne, with Executive Director Uncle Frank, and Chris, who’s here for the summer with his wife Sherri and kids Madelyne and Isaac, learning the job and prepared to take over for Graeme and Liz at the beginning of August.  They’re rocking the tank tops!  Apparently the gun show is an appropriate pose when wearing Kahquah tanks.

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Oh, and a quick update!  Ahmic Adventure was taken some pizza by our very own Cait tonight!  I’m sure they appreciated it as they made camp tonight, because that must have been quite the day in this heat!

How He Loves Us

It was a scorcher out there today, folks.  I think this is the warmest it’s been yet.  I will not complain, because I know that the majority of you are in Southern Ontario and you must be just baking, but it is definitely warm.  I went in the lake this afternoon, and was disappointed to find that the refreshing water is about 5 feet under the surface.  My feet had a good refreshing swim.  I will say though, you know it’s warm when you’re not even just not disappointed when you run out of hot water in the shower… you’re actually OK with it.  That happened to me today.  Don’t worry though, we are keeping your kids well hydrated, and we’re aware that we may need to alter some activities if it gets too hot.

Moving on.

I want my focus, and the first thing I really talk about today, to be Underground.  I made it to both sessions today, and I have to say that the combination of Linda and Jeff teaching in mornings and evenings is always so stellar.  Your kids are getting some solid Biblical truths this week, folks.  Solid.

Linda started this morning talking about sacrifice and atonement.  Now I know, those are really big words for young kids, but she made it pretty easy to understand.  She talked a lot about blood.  She talked about what you do when you’ve done something wrong, and then, because this week we’re the Kahquah Time Travellers, she went through some history of sacrifice in the early early church.  Many of you will know this, but in the Old Testament, people had to sacrifice animals in very specific ways in order to take care of their sins and the wrong things they had done.

Linda is a very visual teacher.  She has lots of props and volunteers.  It’s great.  This first picture shows her volunteer priest sacrificing her volunteer lamb (I’m not sure who played the part of the lamb, but she’s quite the little actress).  Linda described how the Priest would have to gather up all of the blood because the blood is the life of the animal.

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Next, she explained (and showed a model that she built of it…) the Temple, its purpose, and how the Priest was the only one able to go in most parts.

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She got into talking about Passover, and how God told Moses that He was going to take the first-born son from every family.  Linda asked Uncle Matt, Aunt Erin, and a few camper volunteers to come up and be a family.  She asked Matt, “if this were your family, would you protect them?”  Of course Matt said yes.  Then she asked, “if I were to tell you that your first born son was going to die, what would you do?”  Matt said, I imagine knowing exactly where Linda was going “I would see if there was something I could do to take his place.”  Well, luckily for the Isrealites stuck in Egypt, God had provided a way, and so those families did what Moses told them.  They sacrificed a lamb like they were told, and wiped the blood on their doors so that their firstborn sons would live.

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Unfortunately, this is about the part where my batteries died…. but Linda proceeded with her history lesson right up to the lesson of Jesus Christ, who was the ultimate sacrifice for OUR sins, all throughout time, through His death on the cross.  He could only be that sacrifice by being perfect, and it’s because of that sacrifice that our sins are covered and forgiven when we believe in Him, and  we can now have a real relationship with Him.  She had kids write a sin or issue that they felt was separating them from God and lay it at the Cross set up in Underground.  They had plastic laid down all around it, and they covered the papers laid by the kids in red paint, symbolizing the blood of Jesus.

Pretty powerful stuff.

Tonight, Jeff talked about family, and having worth and value.  He has his two daughters at Camp with him, and he talked about how he’d want to protect, love, and value them.  He talked about how we each have worth and value that was enough to make Him willing to go to the Cross and endure a painful death for EACH one of us.  For each kid in that room.  So that we can be in relationship with Him.  If Jeff’s loves for his kids is that strong, he urged the kids to imagine what God’s love for them was like.  God would protect them, take care of them, and love them, make sure they had what they needed.

Jeff talked about how because God loves us so powerfully, and because if we believe in God and Jesus, we serve a King that loves us deeply and powerfully…. and this means that we are to love others because God loved us.  That means loving those who are hard to love and loving our enemies.  Jeff was also pretty clear that we can’t do this on our own strength, we need God’s strength to help us do this, and that a pretty big part of this is that when someone does something wrong, we need to forgive and reconcile with them in love.

We then had a communion service where kids were invited to come participate, while Liz and Sathiya played “How He Loves Us” in the background.

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This was a long explanation, but all of this is to say that the message of the love of Jesus Christ, and how deeply valued in His eyes each one of your kids is, was preached boldly and powerfully today.

Throughout the rest of the day, the Medieval Times theme prevailed.  I did make it to Campfire tonight, and the pictures are great… but I’ll save them for Thursday when I have nothing, because I have TONS tonight.

Here, we see Chris and his son Isaac as a knight and a beautiful princess… well, half of a princess’s face, anyway.  Isaac wasn’t too sure about the whole head in the cutout deal.

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There was some pontoon fishing…. (I was on the beach, so this is like 26x zoom… I have no idea who’s on the boat…)

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In the Canoe Major, canoers learned to tip their canoes safely, and what to do once they were tipped.

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The Paddle Boarders got out for a spin on the nice, calm, very warm lake.  I assure you that although the e-boat is not in these pictures, the kids were being closely watched and guarded by our waterfront staff.

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TK and Simon were focusing on still life and up close shots in the photography major.  Here, though, they’ve captured a rare blogger…..

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Crafts reminded me very much of when I used to do crafts as a camper.  Gimp bracelets and friendship bracelets made with embroidery floss tend to sort of cross generations.  It was fun to watch Aunt Shelley with these kids.

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Aunt Natalie dressed up in Medieval Princess costume (or 80s Bridesmaid costume, I’m not quite sure).

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Beechwood asked for a love song from one boys’ cabin, and before too long every single boys’ cabin got roped in through a series of “Help em out ___________, help em out!” songs.  It was pretty funny.

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Evidently I shouldn’t just leave my camera on the desk in the office while I’m in Tuck anymore…. Hi Aunt Liz!!

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At Water Sports, we saw some skiing and kneeboarding.

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The following shot was taken AFTER rescuing the sunglasses we found floating in the lake…

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At Junior Lifeguarding, Lifeguard Dave teaches some pretty important skills.

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Even from the ski boat, I could hear the kids yelling things like “I’m a lifeguard, I’m here to help you!” and “Can you move?  Can you talk to me?  Are you hurt?”  as they swam to rescue their “victims” while Dave watched closely from the dock

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Kayakers ventured out into the lake.

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At the beach, kids were making sand castles.

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It was at the beach where I learned the proper way to eat a grasshopper from Jacob.  Obviously, he’s been hanging out with Jared in Wilderness.

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I also learned that not just parents read this blog, kids do too!  The young lady in the pink on the left saw me come onto the beach with my camera and exclaimed “you write the blog!  Take my picture and put it in!!”

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And as one last update, if you have kids on the Ahmic Adventure trip, I heard from Cait that when she drove up the lake to deliver stuff to them, they were all safely arrived and were setting up camp at their first destination.  It was a hard paddle, but she said they did well.

Well, I think that’s all for tonight, folks!  It’s waaaay past curfew here at Kahquah, so I’ll need to hit publish and get some sleep!

The Kahquah Cavemen and Cavewomen

KATA — Kahquah Aeronautics and Time Traveling Association.  That is this week’s theme.  Led fearlessly by first time program directors Aunt Natalie and Aunt Jordanne, and pastors Uncle Jeff and Aunt Linda, we’ll be traveling to all sorts of time periods throughout the week.  I believe that tomorrow (or today, for most of you reading this, since I’m posting it at midnight…) is Medieval Times themed.  Trust me when I tell you I saw some fabulous props coming out for tomorrow, and I’ll be happy to snap some great pictures…. but I may have to save them for Thursday night, when I’ll be away at a surprise party for a relative of mine down in Niagara.  Otherwise, I’ll have nothing to blog about on Thursday, and that wouldn’t do!  You’ll have to live with the suspense, I suppose 🙂

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Today we had a Dinosaur and Caveman themed Lunch.  Boy, oh boy did your kids ever look filthy and prehistoric.  Aunt Natalie even had a legit dog bone in her hair today.  She gave it to me, and I will give it to my pooch at some point.  Apparently it stinks and she doesn’t want it now that it’s not useful to her anymore.  Check out the costumes from today’s theme!

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I’m a Little Teacup with Aunt Brooklyn and Uncle Noah

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Cousin Ben taking Birchmere Woods ’round the tables

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Retreat Woods… Up… Lodge… I’m not sure.  Retreat Boys grunting a love song

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Uncle Luke grunting “It’s Too Late To Apologize” as an apology song to Aunt Erin….  I’m not sure what he did to need to apologize, but it was very clever!  Uncle Matt’s right behind Aunt Erin, my camera angle’s just bad.

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Aunt Erin singing a song

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I wasn’t able to get to Underground today, but I could hear the worship two floors up, and it sounds like it’s great!  I’ll get down in the next day or so.  When you can hear it through the entire building, I dare say it’s quite good.

This afternoon, Aunt Liz and Uncle Frank had a bonding moment over Diet Cokes.

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Beach Time!  Everybody loves to just play in the water.  Aunt Liz even joined in today!

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Uncle Daniel in the Snark — when he was done taking it for a spin, I believe he got to take some kids out for a ride as well.  How exciting!!

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Tubing, from the beach.  I hope to get into the boat this week so that I can get views of the kids’ faces while they jubilantly slide across the water.  I plan to get into the boat for water sports as well.

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Kayaking!  There’s nothing quite like watching a bunch of new kayakers try to set out in their kayaks.  It’s always so tough at first, but once they’ve got it, they just speed along quite happily.

If it looks like the young lad in the picture below is kayaking in the wrong direction, you’re not seeing things.  You see, a gust of wind approached and took him by surprise.  It also took his hat by surprise, and yanked it off of his head, sending it backwards and into the drink.  Naturally, he felt compelled to turn and rescue it before returning to his friends.

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Above, you can see Uncle Jacob keeping a careful eye on the kayakers from the e-boat, making sure to keep them clear of the ski boat.  We can thank our lifeguards for daily keeping our kids safe in, on, and around the water.

Well, that’s it for me, midnight is well past when I should be awake!  I hope you’re all enjoying this week so far, and look forward to many great experiences to come with the Kahquah Time Travelers!