As part of our CE program this summer, all our campers go on a “Journey of Joy” where they share things that make them joyful, perform random acts of kindness around camp, and write joyful prayers. All of the prayers are then rolled up like burritos and placed in our Prayer Tree, where they join the hundreds of others prayers that campers have written down throughout the summer. My favorite part of this activity however, is at the end when all of the campers walk over to our “Joy Tree” and decorate it with joyful memories from camp. Reading these notes always brings a huge smile to anyone who stops by. Ranging from the joys of making new friends, to the Banana Boat, to trying new things-- it is a great reminder of what a joyful place Camp Arrowhead is. As an added bonus, most of our groups will join in singing Christmas carols as they decorate the tree! In this post are some of our joyful decorations from the summer.
Every night at camp, we end our day with reflections. Campers and staff alike light a candle, sit in a circle and give thanks for a great day at camp. This summer as part the theme, we are collecting joy in our joy jars during reflections. While joy jars are simply just mason jars that become filled with glass beads as campers share their joys from the day, they are quite a powerful symbol at camp this summer. As one group sang in Eucharist last week, “the camp joy jars are going viral”. If you walk through Boys Homestead or Girls Homestead around 9:30p.m. and listen closely, you can hear the ‘plink’ of a bead dropping in the jar. It is very special thing to know that with every ‘plink’ a camper is sharing a moment of joy they experienced that day.
While catching the joy from the week with our units is special, we know that at the end of the session all of our joy is meant to be shared with one another. On the morning before closing Eucharist groups bring their joy jars to the Chapel, where I have the exciting task of combining all the joy amongst small fairy lights. Then, as campers enter final Eucharist, they can witness all the joy from the week lit up for all to see. It makes a beautiful centerpiece for everyone to look at during our service, and allows us to reflect on how much joy was experienced throughout the session.
I am so lucky to get to talk with campers and staff all summer about joy. The smiles of each camper who shares a joy with me have definitely filled my joy jar this summer. You can bet my joy jar is certainly overflowing!
With Joy from Homestead Way,
Bethany (the Chapel Lady)