Camp Begins in San Gil, Colombia!

Thursday, June 21, 2018
San Gil, Santander, Colombia
I slept very well last night after a fitful night the previous night.  Scott did not sleep well, as he was awakened by music, loud talking and laughing at the pool area around 12:00 p.m., and then again later on, as someone had left the bright pool patio lights on and they were shining into our room.  I had my eyes closed, and they didn’t bother me! He normally carries an eye-mask, but this trip, he had left it at home….
Scott still went walking this morning, although he said he really did not feel like it.
We woke up and met Montana at breakfast at 8:00 a.m.  Mercedes, the cook, is so attentive to us.  She brought us a chicken leg stewed with tomatoes and onions, arepa and fresh fruit.  She is so generous that we cannot eat it all. That is better than not having enough!  We talked about plans for camp, and plans for the future.  We are always on the lookout for future camp staff.
After eating, we dispersed for various duties.  Scott had office work to do both back in the States and here in Colombia.  Montana finished up plans for the Amazing Race.  I hung up the camp themes, scriptures and schedules on the wall.  I also talked with the hotel staff and arranged for a few other necessary items.  The salon (meeting room) had been remodeled and now had a large open doorway.  I asked them if they could hang a curtain there so we could have some sort of privacy.  I also arranged for extra tables for snacks and our yearly picture puzzle.
Soon it was lunch time.   Mercedes outdid herself again.  She made cream of chicken and onion soup which was heavenly.  We also had chicken breast with mushrooms and cream sauce, rice, mashed potatoes, cabbage salad, and freshly made mango juice. All the food is prepared from scratch.  Some of the fruit and vegetables are grown here on the property. When Scott walks in the very early morning, he often finds sacks and piles of fresh produce by the kitchen door, some of which is grown on the property of the hotel. It is an Eco-Friendly hotel, so we are getting excellent food. We ended the meal with a cup of coffee and milk.
Janet, Jaime S. and Rodolfo arrived from Bogota just as we were finishing lunch.  Janet, Jaime, and Montana went in to town to get some supplies and snacks for camp.  They discussed some details with Scott for about a half hour before driving into town. Because it is Rodolfo’s first time at camp, I sat down with him to go over his duties as a staff member.  He is a music teacher for an elementary school, so he already has a head start on knowing what to do.   I explained some other details about camp and how we do things so that he would be “up to speed.” Our staff is often new each year so our bench is deep with new recruits, not seasoned veterans, and it is on-site training that is the norm.
I hung out in the lobby working on my blog and waiting for other people to arrive.  Scott had to make several calls to respond to brethren. David and Leo arrived and I gave David his staff information and the t-shirts for his campers.  Later on the campers arrived from Cucuta.  It started to rain, so the campers took time to unpack their suitcases, hang the memory verses on their cabin walls, and walk around and chat with each other. Scott enjoys mingling and talking with the campers and catching up on how they and their families are doing at home. 
We both joined in on a game of electronic charades.  One person held a phone which flashed words.  We had to do actions, or give them clues to what the word was while they tried to guess.
Dinner was served at 7:00 p. m.  Rodolfo, as the dining hall monitor, welcomed everyone to camp and gave us some guidelines.  We had chicken and rice, with a lettuce salad and French fries.  Notice the “double carbs.”  It is very common with all the meals here in Colombia to have two or three carbs for a single meal.  After dinner, we all gathered in the salon for orientation and opening night discussion of the overall United Youth Camp theme, “God’s Vision for You” which Scott presented.  He likes to keep these talks fairly short, as he knows the teens are here to learn and have fun, and not be simply talked at. We had a short break, and then we had Christian Living, with Jaime S. introducing our first camp sub-theme of “It Begins With God.”  God initiates the call to us, and He guides us to where He wants to lead us.
The campers had free time until 11:00 p.m.  Ronaldo, the last camper to arrive, came at 10:00 p.m.  After 10:00 p.m., (which is quiet time in the hotel), the campers gathered in the salon to chat and play circle games, such as “I went on a trip and I brought a….”  They are great about not being too loud. Something we wish others could learn from them. I started the picture puzzle, and Laura and Leo joined me. Everyone returned to his or her cabin at 11:00 p.m. to prepare for lights out at 11:30 p.m. 
As the campers entered their rooms Scott thought he heard furniture being moved quite a bit. The next morning we learned the girls had pushed all their beds together to make one huge bed! Something they would never be able to do at home since none have this much room or beds. The youth love being together; it’s like a huge family and the time is well spent. They soon drifted off to sleep. It was another successful beginning of camp!


bernie M`

Very well planned. I hope every body has a positive and profitable experience, as they get to know the Eternal. Happy Sabbath day!

Aaron Dean

Looks like things are going well. Have fun!