Read what campers, parents, group leaders, and camp staff say about their experiences at Christian camps and conference centers. CLICK HERE
Running into the Fall    Printer friendly page

Camp doesn’t have to be just a summer thing

by Corbin Hillam

When my son, Brad, was in high school, he ran cross country. It was very inspirational; my wife and I went to all of his meets. I was even inspired to try running. With the help of my trainer/son, I started down the long road of becoming an adult recreational runner.

What an ordeal! After about three years of training, I was finally ready to begin competing in the local running circuit.

Last summer, I decided to participate in the Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run near where I live in Colorado Springs. I knew I couldn’t take it lightly. I needed to get into a serious summer training schedule. Every morning, I would get up at 6 and run three to five miles. On weekends, I’d put in one long run.

Even my wardrobe changed. I went from running in old, cotton T-shirts, shorts, and socks to special wicking running gear. Let me tell you, that made all the difference. No more wet, stinky clothes. I even felt faster. Once you’ve “wicked,” you’ll never go back!

Finally, it was race day. The weather was perfect, the crowd was in a party mood, and I was ready. I did better than I thought I would, and, thankfully, I even finished in time to go to church and pray for healing.

But autumn arrived, and my running routine had to change—otherwise I would pretty much have had to start from scratch to get in shape in the spring. It was too dark to run early in the mornings, so I ran a few hours later. Each day got progressively colder, so I went from shorts to running tights, from a T-shirt to long-sleeve shirts. I traded my runner’s tan for a frozen mustache and beard.

One day when I was out running, I thought about how my running schedule isn’t much different from my camp schedule. I prepare all summer for a week at camp in California. I arrange my calendar and get my van ready for the long drive. Of course, I have a great week at camp. Then I come home and return to my normal routine.

But how do I keep the spirit of camp alive as I enter the long Colorado winter? I’ve tried wearing my shorts and camp T-shirts as long as possible, but an early snowstorm usually nixes that idea.

And I’ve learned that you don’t make many friends during Sunday-morning worship when you try to get the congregation to sing a camp song. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve requested “The Banana Song,” only to be shut down with “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.”

I’ve figured out that, as with running, I need to adjust my “camp training schedule.” It starts with changing my idea of what camp is. Rather than thinking of it only in terms of a great summer experience, I can seek out opportunities to go to a Christian retreat during the fall or winter. I just saw a notice in my church bulletin for the men’s pre-dawn polar bear swim in a local camp’s pond. Not a bad idea!

I think this year it’s time to begin training not only for a winter run, but also for a fall or winter retreat. It’s going to be a great season!

Corb is a Colorado-based freelance artist and author who has been going to camp all his life. He has spoken at camps in the United States and Europe.

CampSight is a Web site of
Christian Camp and Conference Association. ©2010
P.O. Box 62189, Colorado Springs, CO 80962
(719) 260-9400 / info@ccca.org
Flash Design and Web Design by BolderImage



Christian Camp and Conference Association