After breakfast in the lodge, I gathered my equipment: push broom, backpack leaf blower, and hearing protection earmuffs. I loaded this onto the camp golf cart. The summer staff affectionately called the golf cart “Old Faithful” because it was so battered and ancient. It had been many years since she had seen a manicured putting green, but she was a workhorse.

Old Faithful was always cranky in the morning. I pumped the gas pedal, waiting for the motor to catch, and finally, the motor began to purr and then it caught. I whipped Old Faithful into a hard turn, gravel popping under the tires.

The slip and slide was out at the activities area. I followed dirt road to the activities area, the same dirt surface we had traveled — I knew every bump, the ones I could avoid and the ones I shouldn’t.

I passed the snack shack on the way to the slip and slide. One of the female counselors, Mango, was supervising arts and crafts for the campers.

“Hey guys, say ‘hi’ to Bundy!” she said.

The campers, mostly girls, responded with an uneven chorus:

“Hi, Bundy!”

The kids were the reason I came back for a second summer at camp. I waved and drove past and stopped at the base of the slip and slide hill. The slip and slide was a trench covered with a heavy plastic. It ended in a splash pool.

My job was to clean it before it was used by the campers. The slip and slid accumulated dirt, leaves, and insects. Hundreds of millipedes died on the slide, bodies curled into half circles.

“After a while, it should be like cleaning a bath tub,” my boss said.

I slipped in my earbuds and turned on my iPod. During most of the day, my iPod was my only companion. But that was okay — I had plenty of people to listen to. I checked the splash pool to make sure it had been emptied. If it hadn’t been emptied, it would leave a water-mark on the side of the pool.

I pulled on the backpack leaf blower and trudged to the top of the hill. My legs muscles burned by the time I reached the top, and I was breathing heavily. I took the blower off my back and primed the engine by pushing a small bubble on the side. I put the hearing protection earmuffs over my earbuds. I yanked the cord back, and the blower roared. Heaving the throbbing machine onto my back, I walked back down the hill while blasting leaves off the plastic.

Down in the activities field, campers are sitting or standing around the climbing tower as a counselor was belaying a helmeted camper.

At school, I’m preparing and preparing, but I don’t feel like I’m helping anyone. When I’m at camp, I’m serving people that love kids with God’s love, and I feel a weighty sense of purpose.

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  1. What do you think?

    Can you think of a different title? I don’t really like the current one

  2. Anonymous

     /  October 31, 2011

    Preparing for a Purpose


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