Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

Camp Amazing Grace 2011

Camp Amazing Grace was off with a literal bang Sunday night as a storm blew through the campus of the Bishop Claggett Center.  Lights flickered, alarms blared, and thunder roared, but above it all could be heard the sound of voices singing from St. Andrew’s Chapel.  We made a run for the dorms that night and didn’t look back.

We kicked off the week on Monday with fishing in Gettier Pond, soap making, paper mâche, water aerobics, designing survival bracelets, swimming, and creating a camp banner that can be taken with us to future events- and that was all before dinner!  That same evening began our adventure to Sugarloaf Mountain for a picnic and hike.  As it turned out, however, the staff was a bit directionally challenged on that particular occasion and so the hike had to be cut short, but we still got to experience the sunset from a lookout point on Sugarloaf and learned all the roads that didn’t take us home!  If our goal was to wear everyone out, then it was most certainly accomplished on Monday.

Tuesday, we broke the campers into two groups and went canoeing and kayaking on the Monocacy River.  The majority of the group had never before done either but they took to it like experts!  Clad in goggles, lifejackets, and make-shift water shoes, we set out on the river, learning how to paddle, spray water the furthest, and cut down on water pollution.

Wednesday we woke up early, and packed up for the ropes challenge course for the day.  The purpose of ropes course day is to build a sense of team and a stronger community between the members of that team.  We participated in a variety of low ropes games and activities before taking to the air!  Groups did a multitude of activities including climbing a fifty foot rock wall and zipping through the trees on the zip line.  This was definitely a favorite activity for the week but we certainly weren’t done there!

Wednesday evening we surprised the campers with a planned campout night in the platform tents on campus.  To say that everyone was unambiguously excited would certainly be an overstatement, however, we made it to the camp site without too many complaints.  The s’mores sweetened the deal a bit and before too long, even with the spiders and mosquitoes, we were settling into our new home for the night.  Around the campfire, we performed skits, sang songs, heard solos from some of our campers, and worshiped in nature before setting off to bed to prepare for all of the surprises Thursday had to bring.

We were all dragging a bit after sleeping in the great outdoors but we made it to the dining hall to refuel for the day.  The campers went about their daily activities while some of the staff worked feverishly to get the surprise carnival day surprise set up.  A moon bounce and dunk tank were delivered and balloons were taped all around the edges of the huge white tent.  Staff rotated around, manning the ring toss, and the penny toss, the face-painting booth, and the duck game, the bean bag throw, and the potato roll.  Bishop Joe Burnett came and visited with us for the afternoon, supervising the dunk tank.  Even some of the Claggett staff came out to sit in the tank or to throw the ball and try to dunk one of their own!

Friday came before we knew it and campers packed themselves, their luggage, and their new backpacks full with school supplies onto the bus, preparing to make the drive back to the Diocesan Center.  Staff surrounded it, waving good bye from all sides.  Many tears and happy memories were shared between the campers on the bus ride home.  Every camper and staff alike agreed that they would be coming back next year.