Sombreros, face paint and extra costumes being thrown around Cabin 9. Anticipation for the “Circ de Olé” party was at an all-time high. Sophomore Claire Long awaited what would soon be her favorite part of Kanakuk Summer Camp.
Parties at camp were special– less than one fourth of the nights were spent at parties. Most evenings were
routine: cheers, prayers and mouth-watering apple turnover. The aspect of camp that conflicted Long the most however, was the religious part.
Kanakuk is a Christian camp. There are a handful of camps with specific target crowds. Long went to K2, the camp for high schoolers. There is also K Kuai for families, K Kountry for kids, K7 for all ages, just to name a few.
The Christian aspect of Kanakuk Kamps was what drew Long to the Kamp. After her mission trip to Trinidad this summer, she felt especially connected to her faith and wanted to devote more of her summer to it.
It also happened to be a significant drawback. She thought some of the Kanakuk views were somewhat extreme.
“All Kanakuk and K-Life people kept preaching ‘the Bible is the only way,” said Long.
She didn’t necessarily agree with that and some of the things they believed in, but still felt more in touch with her faith than ever after Kanakuk.
“I still really want to be a counselor,” said Long. “But I want to stick with my beliefs and not always follow what they think.”
Long can’t wait to be the one organizing the “Circ de Olé” parties, painting her little camper’s faces and being a part of their favorite memory from camp.
The pressure was on. Sophomore Matt McGannon was captain of the blue team. The group of 117 Camp Lincoln boys watched in anticipation as he worked to spark his designated fire pit. After a few minutes of messing with the matches, the logs caught and he tossed his team’s rope in. They stormed towards him in celebration; McGannon had won the full-day color war for the blue team.
Most days at Camp Lincoln were somewhat ordinary– waking up, cleaning the cabin, morning and afternoon activities, like ultimate frisbee, archery, sailing and then free time. It was special days like the Color Wars that McGannon especially loved at camp.
“Being color wars captain is the highest honor at camp,” said McGannon. “You lead a team of 117 people, giving speeches and leading cheers. It’s a lot of pressure.”
McGannon spent a month this summer at Camp Lincoln. Having the chance to be blue team captain was the main experience he took out of camp which made his trip even better.
Going on hour 13, Junior Emma Goode has grown sick of sitting in the back of the bus. The boys surrounding her played Fetty Wap on repeat and very obviously forgot to put on deodorant that morning. However, she wouldn’t have given up that bus ride and the chance to bond with them for anything.
Goode has been to Young Life camp for the past two summers. Young Life is a Christian camp based off the more widely known camp Youthfront. The camp preaches that everyone there wants to get to know the real you. From ziplining to go-karting, there were chances every day to build relationships as a group. Young Life wants all their campers to know that there is a community for you at camp.
Goode went with a group of high schoolers from all different Shawnee Mission Schools. She won’t be attending any more, however, because of the Young Life’s unique rules. Campers are only allowed to attend twice so that other kids wanting to go to camp have an opportunity for the same.
“I actually really like [that rule],” said Goode. “Having gone twice I’ve learned what Young Life is all about. I want all kids to be able to experience camp and they can’t do that if I’m taking their spot.”
Goode grew close to those boys during that dreadful 15 hour car ride, even if it seemed terrible at the time. She made lifelong friends through Young Life and wouldn’t trade all that she has experienced at camp for anything.