Michael Staires: Hello, my name is Michael Staires. I’m the Summer Camp Director at Camp Loughridge. One of Tulsa camps, finest camps there in South Tulsa. I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to this podcast today. I want to tell you just a little bit about what Camp Loughridge is all about and what makes camp Loughridge different from other Tulsa camps.

A typical day at Camp Loughridge will involve a lot of very, very cool things for your child. We usually start about 8:30 or nine in the morning. Kids roll up, we do a morning rendezvous. Rendezvous, if you remember your history, is when the trappers in the native Americans and others used to come together. They would share stories, they would sing songs, they would have contests and play games. They would trade, and they would encourage one another. That’s what that morning rendezvous is all about.

We have some skits and we do a lot of the camp chants that are really cool. I’m sure different from any other Tulsa camp chants. They will do a lot of chants and then we’ll have an opportunity to sing together. We’ll sing two or three songs, and then there’ll be some time to share out of the word of God. We’ll talk about a Bible story or two, there’ll be a lesson for the day.

Then, usually about ten o’clock, the tribes, we call the groups that the kids move around through the day in tribes. The tribes are made up of gender first, so that all the boys will be with boys and the girls with girls and then age is second. So they’ll be in a tribe with kids about their age. This is the group that they move through the day, which is probably the same as other Tulsa camps. But I’m going to explain how some of those things will be a little different.

They’ll move into their activity schedule. We have five activity periods throughout the day. Now, before you start saying that that sounds a lot like school, this is a lot different than school. Kids are actually involved. There’s probably not going to be more than about 10 kids in their tribe. Usually a few less, there’s going to be a counselor or two in their tribe. So there is plenty of interaction between the staff and the kids as they move through their day.

Their activities range everything from swimming, to archery, to arts and crafts, ropes course, team-building, nature study. We do a critter talk where we actually talk about the different animals that live in our ecosystem. We identify what those are and talk a little bit about what their life is like. These are all things that kids move through the day. They’ll play some games. Games that are not so much about competition and winning, as they are about the fun to play and and the fun to learn more about their place on the team.

We have a great lunch together. Everyone eats together at the same time. You sit at the table with your tribe. We may be a little old-fashioned. We ask kids to– they need to ask to be excused from the table. They sit in their chair and they’re not pounding on the table or up running around but we try to teach a few table manners.

One of the things that we found is that, the number of times during the week when kids are actually able to sit down with their families and have a meal, is dwindling. And not nearly as many families do that regularly as used to with the busyness that we all experience. We really want to instill some of that at Camp Loughridge, where they actually have an opportunity to sit down and actually almost take it easy and not just slam their food in their mouth, but actually take some time to eat and to talk. This is time for the counselor to really begin to ask some questions instead of just checking out and eating, but to really try to engage those kids during lunch time.

Then after lunch, the activities pick up again and they’ll do three more activity periods before they go back. We have a big outdoor pavilion that we call the K dome, and they meet in the K dome. We do more chants and we do a couple of skits, have another teaching in the afternoon after some songs. By that time, it’s about time for parents to come pick up the kids so we have gone the full day through to about 4:30 or so.

Now, the interesting thing that we’re going to do this summer is, we are going to talk a lot about trust in 2017. Our theme for the summer is going to be ‘Trust’. If you walk with the Lord, I’m sure you can identify that probably one of the most important and valuable tools that you have in your toolbox, is to trust. We have to learn to trust the Lord. We figured that what better lesson to learn early as a child, and what better theme could we choose but to talk about trust.

Again there’s other Tulsa camps, but Camp Loughridge is going to be the one place you can send your child this summer where they can learn about trusting. Not only the value of trusting in the Lord, but how important it is to learn to trust one another. There’ll be games and activities all throughout the course of every day that instill trust and teach kids about trust.

We are specifically going to be focusing on Proverbs three verse five and six. This is a very familiar verse. It’s going to be our key verse all summer. We’re going to split it up, we’re going to break it down. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight”. This is going to be the main verse that we talk about throughout the day.

I believe that that’s one of the things that’s going to make Camp Loughridge different from other Tulsa camps. It’s the fact that we are going to have this kind of spiritual focus on trust this summer. Really diving into Proverbs three verse five and six. Really learning what it means to trust in the Lord. Not just to trust in the Lord, we’ll learn about that, but what does it mean to trust in the Lord with all your heart? Then the trick or not the trick but the real key I think to this whole passage is when it says, “and don’t lean on your own understanding”.

It’s so easy especially in this world, especially when we as Americans have so much, and we learn to be independent and self-reliant at a very young age. To learn to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding, our own wisdom, our own formulations in our mind where we have figured out how we’re going to get this done. But we learn to lean on the Lord. We learn to put all of our trust in him with all of our heart.

Then, what does it look like to follow him in all our ways, to acknowledge him within everything we do? This really ties into our whole Camp philosophy at Camp Loughridge, that we acknowledge the Lord in everything. Like I’ve said before, if we’re swimming or if we’re on a nature hike or if we’re on the zipline, the Lord is always going to be a part of those conversations, because we don’t see that this is spiritual time and this is camp fun time. It’s all camp fun time and it’s all spiritual time at Camp Loughridge. Again, I think that’s probably what makes Loughridge different from other Tulsa camps.

Then, “He will make your path straight”. If we can trust in the Lord with all our heart and learn not to lean on our own understanding and to acknowledge him in all our ways, then he will make our path straight. Now that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and we’re not going to try to put too fine a point on exactly what that means. But I think we would all rather travel a straight path than a crooked one.

I think as adults, we can look back over our own life and see times when we failed, times when we wish we could do something different. We wish we could have that opportunity to do it over. I think all of us as parents want our kids to not have to learn things the hard way, the way that we did, but to learn easier way. Learn the lesson up front, instead of having to go through hardship to learn the lesson.

So these are some of the things that we want to talk about this summer. That’s our main theme for the summer, is to trust in the lord. That’s what our teachings are going to be about, that’s what our stories are going to be about. We’re excited to tell the story of Joseph from the Old Testament, who trusted in the Lord every single step of the way. Then at the end of Joseph’s story, when he finally was in Egypt, he realized that the dreams that he had even as a 17-year-old had all come true. He didn’t see how that was going to happen, he couldn’t manufacture that, he couldn’t make that happen but yet God was faithful as Joseph was faithful, to trust in the Lord with all his heart.

Even when he was a slave, even when he was in prison, these were all things that Joseph trusted God with, that it was going to be okay. That at the end of the day, the dream would come true and that’s exactly what happened. We will be using the story of Joseph to be a kind of a vehicle, if you will, to drive this lesson of trust with the kids.

That’s what a typical day is like at Loughridge and is full of discovery, full of adventure, full of new things. Camp is a great place to experience stuff for the first time. We are excited about what 2017 holds for us at Camp Loughridge.