It was great to be back at Camp Cherokee this past week. The first week I went, two days in I vowed to never return, that was four years ago. This week marks our 6th week at Cherokee. Never say never... The things that initially were frustrating became charming by the end of the first week. The worship area is outdoors, under a pavilion. So, we cover all the equipment up every evening. Then at the end of the week we get a bucket of soapy water with rags and begin wiping down every cable and all the exposed equipment from the dust accumulated during the week. The flag football field being right next to the pavilion helps give a good dusting to everything in the pavilion. There is no air-conditioning on campus-- however there are two units in the pastor's cabin, which is quite small. There is next to zero cell phone reception and no internet. There are 2 land lines available. When you arrive you begin sweating constantly and do not quit until you leave. Oh yeah, arrival... The students are taken over by boat, across the lake. If you have equipment to carry over, you drive. It does not take too long to get there from Middle Tennessee, however the final 14 miles of the trip takes a solid 45 minutes. It is up and down a windy and narrow gravel/dust road. If you do not tape the doors of your trailer there will be dust all over everything, including pillows- as Bryan found out. Gnats, everywhere, all the time.
Camp Cherokee has grown on me. Charm, there is just something about it that is quite lovable about it. There is a huge kitchen at the camp, as a result the churches bring some awesome cooks to help feed the masses- the food has always been over-the-top awesome. When you get out on the lake and the cool breeze hits you, surrounded by nothing but beauty, you can't help but love the place. I honestly thought that this was what Heaven would be like, although I've read nothing of pontoon boats in Heaven, you just know some things... It is quite an experience to have such beauty surrounding you during a worship service. Although one year we had a bear spotted during "Here I am to Worship" and a rat run out of the subwoofer as soon as the band began one morning...it's worth it...
Each visit seems to have it's own signature memory. This one I heard about and later saw on someone's video camera phone. One of the students swallowed a frog, whole. A minute later he regurgitated it. The frog then hopped off, probably freaking out. I'm sure the frog's new abduction story is going over well with his buddies.
We had a blast hanging with the students and adults all week- everyone was a ton of fun. The speaker was Tom Richter- from New York and there was a drama group called Word Play there from L.A. It was quite a line-up. We all enjoyed hanging out at night.
Another year at Cherokee is in the books...it was definitely a good one!