It's called Celebration Camp for a reason okay folks!! At the stroke of one, cars start pulling around the gravel roads and joy seeps from the windows. With each camper who steps out, laughter, joy and hugs surrounds camp. It's impossible not to smile at the sight of it all.
For those who don't know, Celebration Camp is our week long camp for adults with special needs. These folks take a week off from work and come from all over the greater Chattanooga area to camp to enjoy some time off. These guys do a lot of the regular activities at camp, like carnival, high ropes and creek walk, but they also do some activities all their own as well. Everyday there are a variety of things to do ranging from a field trip to Coolidge Park in the morning, and swimming and movies in the afternoon. While it is a more relaxed week for these guys, the enthusiasm and gratitude never stops. The epitome of camp comes on Thursday night, when the campers get up on stage for the talent show, showing off for everyone to see. This week means so much to the campers, it is mainly their only vacation throughout the year, but I can not put into words how much this camp means to me and the other staff.
Five years ago was the first year that I volunteered at Celebration Camp, I had no idea my life would change that week. I had never in my life experienced such love. Whether they knew you or not, you received a hug every day and they always care about how your day is going. I cannot say that about any other adults that I have met in my life. Their love for Christ is astounding. Hearing them make a joyful noise to the earth, no hesitation to it, is a perfect picture of heaven. There is no "lukewarm" emotion for these Celebration campers. If they love, they love deeply. If they hurt, they will need a shoulder to cry on. But isn't this what the Bible calls for? "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." I see this in each and every one of them. Where would I be today, if 5 years ago I did not take time to come and witness this picture of the Kingdom of God?
I don't know a lot, but what I do know is you will be surprised by the special needs community if you let them show you what they have to offer. They have the gift of changing a cold heart with their love and acceptance. Take time out of your schedule to hang out with these guys, come up to camp and watch the talent show, come and see what it's all about. Trust me.
Well... I guess this concludes the summer camping season for 2017! We have a busy off season, but we'll be counting down the days until next summer.
Signing off until then,
Camp Lookout Staff