Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Top 10 Things I Wish I Had Known - Sue Beddingfield

1)  That when she was little, she might use her swim goggles as a headband - in every picture, all week, daytime or nighttime.

2)  That the things she has learned over her eight summers at Sky Ranch continue to percolate and come out over time. Just this past week while we were in Guatemala on a mission trip, she talked about a game they had played in Morph summer before last and the impact it made on her life.

3)  That if you hang with Rope Myers in Young Riders long enough, you might end up buying a horse!

4)  That, not only do the kids learn, they also have the chance to teach and positively influence others in their cabin - even when they're little.

5)  That Sky Ranch counselors and staff know how to keep any potential homesickness at bay (even in a 6-year-old who insists she's ready to go to camp - primarily because she saw picture of horse on the Sky Ranch website.  See #3 above).

6) That you, mom (and dad!), might very well cry when you drop them off - and when you fetch them - but they're all happy tears, knowing your kids couldn't be in better hands than with the Sky Ranch ministry team and counselors.

7)  That when you see a photo online of your child standing on a horse, don't panic - they're with a World Champion rodeo guy and he knows exactly what he's doing. (See #3 above). Plus your kid has the biggest smile on her face that you've ever seen!

8)  That, year after year, regardless of which cabin or age or camp level, your child will see Jesus in the faces, words and actions of her Godly-role-model Sky Ranch counselors.

9)  That, even though the Sky Ranch system allows you to, it's best not to look at what your camper is buying with her Ranch Bank (milkshake with add-ins, pucker powder, wall cross - gift for mom but I didn't realize it when looking!, Dr Pepper, milkshake, 3 Musketeers bar, milkshake…).  Hey, it's only for a week or two each summer.

10) That one place, through Launch Camp, Summer Camp, Young Riders Camp, Champions Rodeo Camp, Leadership Camp and Family Camp, could so dramatically and positively affect us - from helping us define what our family stands for (Truth, Courage, Love) to finding the place we most love in Colorado to helping our daughter determine what she wants to do with her life to serve the Lord (be a Sky Ranch counselor and possibly work in Camping Ministry)!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

What I Wish I Had Known - Lisa Clark

I'm not an overachiever by trade, so getting my girls ready for camp was a breeze.  Just keepin' it real! I always made sure they had enough clothes and one or two things for the theme nights.  I sent some care packages and letters.  I certainly didn't go to the extreme that some moms go to by any means.  So my take on this question is a little bit different...

I wish I had known that this would be the beginning of her personal spiritual journey.  I wish I had known that this week of camp would launch her into a season of personal bible study and devotion.  I wish I had known that this one week would begin a lifetime of hunger for God's word and an eagerness to meet him everyday for quiet time and worship.  I thought it was camp.  But God had other things in mind.

The first year we picked Camryn up from Sky Ranch she proclaimed, "That was the best week of my life!" Well, okay! Can't top that I don't guess.  Life was going to be downhill after this week.  But lo and behold the next year we heard these words, "This week was even better than last year!" What????? Yep.  Relationships and a deeper dive into biblical truth made it all better.  It just got better and better.  The camp hadn't changed.  Her heart had.  Her desire for truth had grown.  She was desiring the things of God.  And that made it better...sweeter.

I wish I had know how valuable these precious weeks at Sky Ranch were for the overall spiritual development of my child.  Every time I see her with an open bible, or worshipping her Savior, or praying with a friend, I'm reminded of the stepping stones that led her there and once again I'm thankful for her time at Sky Ranch.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What I Wish I Had Known - Terrie Chevaillier

I just picked up one my sons from Sky Ranch this past weekend and even though I knew a few things to be true, I found myself wishing again that I had not forgotten what I knew!  If you are a mom, I am almost certain you can relate.

I knew that he would be exhausted, but somehow I forgot as I kept expecting him to be more talkative. Some of these things come out slowly throughout the week as he shares the experiences he wants us to know about.  Even though he says little- it doesn’t mean that big didn’t happen.  I knew all of his clothes would be wet and damp but somehow forgot about that and put it off until the next day! 

I wish I had known that my boys didn’t really care about the care packages as much as I obsessed over them being perfect.  This year it took less than two minutes to run down the candy isle at the grocery store when I was already there grabbing my groceries (no special trip) and picked five different sour type candy bags (enough for the entire cabin as they love to share) and grabbed some manila envelopes and stuffed the candy in there and used a big sharpie and wrote their name on the outside and cabin number.  Done!  What had taken multiple days in years past, was trimmed down to five minutes total by year fourteen!

Perhaps why I grew to not obsess so about the gift bags was because I have come to know the much larger gift that keeps on giving that we get at Sky Ranch.  On year one as campers, I wish I had known when my oldest starting attending at the age of ten that he would gain relationships that were beyond my imagination in terms of mentoring and Christian community that would take him into his twenties. Had I known, perhaps on those days when I was tempted to think all was not well and I had screwed up and hadn’t done this thing or that thing right to help him on the pathway to “success” that some of the most godly wise men and women would be his best companions, I am sure my soul would have quieted itself within me!  The list is so long now of those we love and stay in touch with from Sky Ranch that it causes me to say, “thank you God- you see and you provide.”

What I do know is that I will always tear up at the front gate the minute I see the big Sky sign and when they play the video at closing ceremony, I feel God’s love and care for my children in a depth that I don’t experience any other time of the year. 

I hope that you get to know what I wish I had known and what I now know.  God’s unconditional love is on display at Sky Ranch!  Go see and then tell!