The way to a camper’s heart is through her stomach

One of the campers was asked what she liked best about this week. She raised both arms and said, “The food!”

There are so many things for the children to like at Lookout. They’re busy all day with caving, kayaking, crafts, swimming, Bible study, rock climbing, and I even saw a guitar class yesterday. It’s sweet to see the counselors leading their troops in single file through the woods or on the way to chapel. I got a lump in my throat to see 90 kids singing about Jesus and the catchy Camp Lookout song.

I think back to my own camp days at Camp Buffalo Mountain (the predecessor to Holston’s Camp Bays Mountain), and I know some of these memories will stay with them forever. Years from now, they’ll get teary-eyed when they hear the Camp Lookout song or get a whiff of Georgia pines.

It’s not surprising to me, though, that food is one of their favorite things. This isn’t the camp food I remember. There are more choices, and it’s tastier. Last night was Taco Night, which included not only tortillas, beef, black beans, and rice, but also numerous toppings like guacamole and fresh cilantro along with the chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce. One serving table was topped with giant bowls of nacho chips and warm queso, which the kids crowded around like schools of fish. For dessert, they had churros.

The food is great because somebody pays a lot of attention to the details, even while keeping a constant eye on the bottom line. (For example, one big pan of breakfast hash-brown casserole was made with leftover tater tots.) The kids and staff are incredibly active, so they’re incredibly hungry. I’ve heard more than one staff member or minister-in-residence say they thought they would lose weight at camp, when in fact they gained.

I’ve also heard my husband Mike say (he served as minister-in-residence this week) that the children at Holston Conference camps come from all kinds of backgrounds, but you can’t tell the difference. “They’re all in the same groups, and they’re all dirty and wearing each other’s clothes by the end of the week,” he says. It may very well be that some of the children who love the food at camp don’t get many hot meals at home.

I’ll close by sharing a video Mike took. The campers have to wait for permission to go for second helpings, to make sure everyone gets a substantial first helping. When it’s finally time, campers are instructed to line up and “walk like a duck” or “walk like a pirate” on their way to the buffet line.

Here they are “walking like a crab.” Enjoy.

See video on Camp Lookout’s Facebook.

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