October 12, 2013

My summer...priceless

Words cannot describe my experience this past summer. I had the opportunity to spend all summer, working at Camp War Eagle in Rogers, AR serving kids of all ages, teaching them about horses and Jesus Christ. This is a large camp that recruits college students from many universities across the midwest to serve as counselors, which is how I found out about them. How large is large, you ask? BIG! They hire about 350 college students to work throughout the summer and they have about 500 campers each session and there are 7 sessions in a summer. There are "60 different activities – just about anything a child would dream of doing during the summer! Some of the activities that the campers may choose are: swimming, archery, basketball, volleyball, horsemanship, skateboarding, hip-hop dance, cheerleading, pottery, wakeboarding, sailing, water slides, stained glass, riflery, nature study and conservation, woodworking, candle making, ropes course, rock climbing and many, many more" (taken from CWE website) While at camp, I served as a wrangler, caring for our 24 horses and giving riding lessons to the kids. Getting paid to work with horses and kids....how much better can it get?!?

Here it is from the beginning:

I was supposed to be at camp on May 18th for the start of Pre-Orientation. As some of you may know, I was also supposed to graduate from K-State on May 18th (and Taylor was graduating from high school on May 18th). Of course, graduating from college is apparently a pretty big deal, so the staff at camp was more than understanding that I would be a day late. So I graduated on Saturday afternoon, drove home Saturday night (crying the whole way when it sank in that I was leaving Manhattan for the last time and going to miss everyone of my friends terribly), went to project graduation for Taylor when I got home, then got up and headed for AR on Sunday morning.


The first two weeks of camp consisted of orientation and training. There was a lot to know about this camp and they want to make sure you know what you are doing and feel comfortable doing it before the kids get there.

All the wranglers at one of the Special Events during Orientation

Bareback lesson during Orientation

It was so exciting when the group of first session kids got to camp! As wranglers we spent the mornings doing chores and saddling the horses for the day’s activities.

In the morning we had riding lessons and in the afternoon we had trail rides. The morning lessons were my favorite time. Watching kids’ eyes light up when they get on a horse for the first time was one of the most rewarding moments. It was even better when a camper was scared to get on, but you are able to get them on and then they don’t want to get off!  

After supper we got ready for the special event. This was probably the hardest part of the day…after spending all day working in the barn in the heat, dust, hay, horse hair, and horse sweat, it felt so good to get back to our room for a cold shower and just sit. But we would get dressed for special event and give another 110% dancing the night away and playing games with our kids and completely forget about how tired we were (until that was over and we were in our beds at last).

Dirt tans

Each night's special event was a different theme where we dress up, play games, and dance, we dance a lot! Some of the special events are Water World, Western Night, Red White and Blue, Reindeer Games, and then the last day of the session is Planet Eagle. While the previous mentioned ones are self explanatory, Planet Eagle is best explained as a huge 90's/neon dance party. The party starts at supper where everyone stands on their seats to dance while we eat pizza, cupcakes, and pop. Everykids dream!!
We had a firework show everyweek on Red, White, and Blue day

For Hollywood Night, we dressed as Security Guards to protect all the 'famous people' in attendance
Planet Eagle during Orientation

After special event we went back to our respective cabins for devotionals. This was the more serious part of the day, winding down before bed, learning more about the scripture. This is when we, as wranglers, were really able to get to know our campers since we didn’t get to hang out with them during the day. After devo, we usually spent some one on one time with each camper, getting to know each of them and answering their questions. This was my next favorite part of the day. I loved getting to know each camper and hearing about how much fun they had that day and just spending some quality time with them.

Camp War Eagle will forever have a place in my heart and I will always bleed Osage blue! There is infinitely more that could be said about this camp, but this post would be 10x as long. All in all, it was an unforgettable summer, I loved being a part of those campers' great camp experience and hopefully make a difference in their life. I made so many great friends that will always be near and dear to me no matter how far apart we are. Throughout the summer, there was never a dull moment, we were constantly laughing, enjoying each other, and supporting one another.

This was Jami's 'going away' party

They gave me a great birthday!!

Entertaining during a rainy day

We talked all summer about having a mud fight and Mak made it happen during the last week!!


Trail Ride for a picnic

We didn't enjoy ourselves at all, obviously

We are classy. This was at the end of summer banquet

We have so many more 'funny face' pictures than normal

Wouldn't trade them for the world!
And a few of the Horses:




Jami riding Joe

Jami gawking at our largest horse, Cowboy....he is very large, and not in a healthy way
Erin with Doby

Harry, our pony
This post, in no way, gives justice to what this camp does for the kids that it blesses each summer or for it's staff but I am an animal science major, not an English major, so that's the best I can do!

Chaco's: $100
Gas to get to camp: $40
Osage Shirt: $12
CWE experience: Priceless

Love and miss you all!

P.S. Thank you Kailea for letting me use your pictures!!

"And my God will meet all you needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" -Philippians 4:19

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