It was the first week of my summer break, and I was in the car on my way to Twin Lakes Camp.
I let out a long sigh. When my friend, Makenna, had told me about Twin Lakes Camp at church, it had sounded like fun—especially since I thought she was going. But plans had changed, and now Makenna couldn’t come. So now, I was still going to camp.
Knowing that I would have to spend time away from my job at the local ice cream shop, miss upcoming volleyball practices, and take time away from my friends and family, I hadn’t been too keen about the idea of going to camp in the first place.
And now I was going to a place for a week without a single person I knew. I wasn’t an outgoing person. Besides, there were a lot of better things I could think of doing during the summer before my freshman year of high school.
I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth I had agreed to do this. Not that I wasn’t excited. I had heard good things from Makenna about camp. She said that Twin Lakes was where she had first learned to know and love Christ. I looked forward to the spiritual aspect of camp. But naturally, I was skeptical. Living in the woods for a week did not sound entirely inviting, especially without Makenna.
We drove past a sign that read, Twin Lakes Camp. As we followed the road, we arrived. The first thing I saw was an apple tree. Behind that were small grassy hills and rustic buildings. We drove down to my cabin called Sassafras. The cabin wasn’t what I’d expected. I had imagined some sort of shack in the middle of the woods. But Sassafras sat right on a small hill and was more than just a shack. It was a sturdy, appealing… cabin. I went inside to find five bunk beds sitting against the wall in various parts of the large room. The inside was just as nice as the outside. I was pleasantly surprised.
I noticed other girls my age laughing and chattering while they made their beds. None of them looked nervous or unhappy like me. In fact, they all looked excited, ready for the week. Didn’t they all have better things to do during the summer?
A college-aged girl made her way toward me and smiled.
“You must be Aubrey!” she said. I could feel the energy coming from her. “I’m Brenna. I’ll be your counselor this week.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said quietly.
“You’re our last camper in this cabin, so we saved a bed for you.” Brenna pointed to the bunk above her, which still had no bedding on it. I said goodbye to my parents, then went over to set up my bed. The attention of the other campers in my cabin slowly turned toward me. I glanced around the room uncomfortably. A petite girl with dark brown, shoulder length hair jumped down from her top bunk and made her way toward me.
“What’s your name?” she asked in a friendly voice.
“Aubrey,” I told her shyly.
“I’m Joy. What grade are you going into?”
“I’ll be a freshman.”
Joy laughed. “That’s funny. Everyone else here are freshmen as well. I’m the only sophomore.” Joy continued to chatter to me in her friendly way, asking me about my interests, the sports I played, and what I was looking forward to about camp. When I had finished setting up my bed, Brenna called us all to sit in a circle so that we could formally introduce ourselves.
“I’m Brenna,” our counselor began. “This,” she pointed to a girl beside her, “is our Counselor in Training, or CIT, Lauren. Lauren works in the kitchen but will do as many activities with us as she can.” Lauren had dark brown eyes and a serious expression. She waved.
“How about the rest of you introduce yourselves?” Brenna suggested, nodding in my direction. “You start. Tell us about yourself and why you came to camp.”
“Okay…” I began. “I’m Aubrey. I’ve never been to camp before, and I have a lot of things I want to do this summer at home, so… I’m not really sure why I came to camp. To learn more about God, I guess.” I shrugged.
Brenna nodded slowly. “Well, we’re glad you came,” she said brightly. The person on my left side spoke up.
“I’m Kristen,” the girl beside her continued.
“And I’m also Rebekah—but I spell it differently,” the next person said. “I came to spend time with Kristen and Rebecca. We go to school together.”
Next, Joy introduced herself. After her, the next two, Taryn and Ashley, who were also friends that had come together, spoke. Lastly was Mia. I hadn’t heard Mia say a word since I had gotten here. She seemed uncomfortable among so many strangers. Not like I could blame her!
Once our cabin had finished the conversation, we strolled down to Chapel. As we walked down, I found myself falling into conversation with Joy and Lauren. Joy was easy to talk to. Mia walked tentatively beside us, and Joy turned to talk to her. Rebecca, Rebekah, Kristen, and Brenna walked up ahead at the front of the group. Ashley and Taryn stayed behind the group, talking amongst themselves.
Our speaker told us his powerful testimony that night.
Once Chapel was out, we went down to the beach where loud music was playing. Bright lights were strung overhead, lighting up the lake with bright colors. My cabin huddled into a group. Our love for the familiar songs were one thing all eight of us had in common. As we jumped up and down to the music, I began to relax, and I started to believe that maybe, maybe, I could have a good time, even without Makenna.
Perhaps this would be a great week after all.