The Road to Camp Firwood

As we walked toward the lake for the swim test, Isabel looked at me and said, “I’m nervous and my stomach hurts.”  She is a great swimmer so I knew the nerves were not about the swim test.  The nerves were about the fact that she did not know anyone at camp, and she has not been away from home more than a couple of nights without me.  I never told her, but I was nervous too and my stomach hurt.  She is a mama’s girl and I am a freak of a mother.

Yesterday, I dropped my two younger girls at Camp Firwood.  Twenty years ago I was a camp counselor at Firwood (I actually met my husband there).  Yesterday, I was the crazy parent who was having a hard time leaving.  I do believe the security guards were getting ready to escort me out. Twenty years ago I was the one trying to make all the campers feel ok and trying to help parents cope with leaving their child. Oh how the tables have turned.

Grace and Isabel rocked their swim test so we checked in with the head counselor to find out what camp counselor would have the privilege of caring for my beautiful children for five nights.

My inspection hat wanted to go on.  I thought about using my CIA interrogation techniques on the counselor, you know, the ones I learned on TV from Jack Bauer.

Isabel’s counselor was called down, and as I was getting ready for full on interrogation, I looked up at this counselor and splashes of memory flood my mind; space milk, Saturday morning cartoons, tea parties and a sweet little brown eyed girl.  Abby Smith was standing before me about to meet my daughter. She was going to be Isabel’s counselor. I use to babysit this girl a very long time ago. All I could think of  was The Lion King and the song,“The Circle of life”! Here she was, a young adult about to care for my little girl, and to think I changed this girl’s diaper.

Grace ended up with Abby’s friend for a counselor and the world seemed ok. There was energy and excitement!

The girls settled into their cabins, met a few of the other girls they would share this experience with, and the time came for me to say goodbye.   I didn’t want to leave so I lingered.  Then I lingered some more until finally Julia ( my oldest) and Stephen reminded me that I was being a creepy parent and staying too long.  We hugged the girls and they kicked me to the curb (not really but they were interested in moving on).

I left my kids without a cell phone, Facebook, and Internet for five days.  I hope they will be ok with all those sail boats, ski boats, paint ball, water toys etc.  I hope they won’t get too homesick as they play night games, sing songs, laugh at skits and eat junk food.  I hope mama (that is me) will survive without all their noise!

Firwood is a place that changed me forever. Just like the circle of life, it’s now time to pass this gift on to my kids and give them the experience of camp.  Sure, I have my parental issues of leaving my children in the trust of others, but I am confident God has a plan for my kids in this amazing place.

There are a lot of great camps in the northwest, but I must admit that there is something very special in my heart toward Firwood, not to mention it brought marriage into my life.  It’s holy ground for me, and I am excited to see what kind of stories my girls come home with.  I am confident they will have the time of their lives.  This is the road to Firwood.

9 Comments on “The Road to Camp Firwood

  1. In the 3rd picture with the 2 girls is the taller one your middle daughter? She sure looks like your sister, Judy, there.

  2. Rexine,
    Your son was a real joy to work with. Steve and I have fond memories of our years being on staff with him. Thanks for the kind words.


  3. Patricia; That was a such a touching article you wrote about Camp Firwood. Amazing how “what goes around comes around in our lives”.. in due time of course. I’m sure your daughters had a wonderful, fulfilling and richly blessed adventure at Camp Firwood. My son , Mundo, (Keith Bennett) spent time there as a camper and as a worker. It was at the time, has been ever since and I know always will be one of his fondest memories and one of life’s richest blessings of his youth. Only problem though, unlike you and Stephen, he did not and still has not met his future wife. That will happen “all in Gods perfect timing”, right?
    Congratulatiuons to you and Stephen on your 19 years of marriage and blessings to your and your family. ~rexine bennett~

  4. FREAK MOMS UNITE! Thanks for the comments my friends! I am hanging in there without my squirrels around.

  5. I type this with tears in my eyes!…. Great story! I look at my 14yr old son Carter and think…. “Wow, I we (my husband and I) were his age when we first met”! Scary! It is amazing how quickly they grow up…. I am also a “freak of a Mom”…. and proud of it! Thanks for sharing

  6. Made me cry too! But I’m glad that I’m not the only “freak of a mom” lol =)

  7. oh boo hoo hoo creepy parents unite!! this made me cry.

  8. Donna,
    For sure! Some of my best friends today are from my those days of working at camp! Have a blessed day!

  9. so awesome! makes me want to go back to camp myself even though i’m 46. there’s something crazy about the bond that forms in a week….you’re ready to share your heart and soul with kids who were strangers just five days before! And doesn’t God do amazing things when kids open their hearts? He’s so awesome!

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