I spent the weekend of September 22-24 at Windy Gap, a YoungLife camp in Weaverville, NC. I love few things more than going to YoungLife camp and this year’s fall weekend definitely didn’t disappoint. Today I’m sharing a little travel diary from one of my favorite weekends of the year! I’m so excited to share this with you, I skipped writing a Windy Gap travel diary last year (I wrote a travel diary about Windy Gap in 2015 that you can read here!) but I seriously love talking about time spent at YoungLife camp. I’m recapping each day with lengthy descriptions and photos plus I actually made a video this year! I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video. Enjoy!
This video was created using iMovie. All of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and either an EF-S 18-55mm lens or a Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM lens. The background song is “The World Is Ours” by Jai Wolf.
The bus left around 9:45 p.m., just after halftime of our high school’s homecoming football game. The bus ride was approximately an hour and a half of screaming the words to throwback songs and talking under blankets. We got to camp around 11:45 p.m., just in time for the first club! We sprinted to the club room as soon as we dropped our bags in the cabins. Even in the rush, I love getting off the bus in the dark at Windy Gap and I couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous navy sky of stars behind the silhouettes of the tall trees.
We came into club a little late but came just in time to watch a hilarious skit, sing a couple songs, and send some kids from our area up to the stage to participate in a few games. The first night’s talk was about how we can’t fix the mess our sin has created and the speaker was amazing all weekend long. After club, we went back to the cabin for cabin time.
During cabin time, we talked about the talk and what we learned/found interesting. I love cabin time, it’s always one of my favorite things about YoungLife camp. Cabin time gives you a chance to verbally process what you’re learning about Jesus, yourself, and your relationship with Him while getting to know your friends better. Once cabin time concluded we all got ready for bed and went to sleep.
Knowing that breakfast was around 9:00 a.m., I woke up at 8:00 a.m. and quickly got ready for the day. Once I was prepared for one of my favorite days of the fall, I took my friend Emma, who was experiencing Windy Gap for the first time, on a little walk around camp. I showed her the gorgeous willow tree (literally my favorite tree on this planet), the Sippin’ Parlor where you can find the best birthday cake milkshakes ever, club room entrances, the dining hall, the camp store, and how to get to the zip-line and swing. After we finished this little tour, we returned to the cabin to walk down to the dining hall with the rest of our friends and leaders to wait for breakfast. While anticipating breakfast, we took a few pictures.
For breakfast we had delicious pancakes and some really good sausage (I don’t even really like sausage but I love YoungLife camp sausage, I swear it’s way better). Towards the end of breakfast, a continuation of the skit that we saw Friday night introduced the cabin challenge. The cabin challenge is a list of activities each cabin completes in an approximately ten minute time period for points in competition with the other cabins. These activities included rolling down the hill, sliding into the lake fully clothed, making a basket from mid-court, and doing ten pushups. We didn’t win, but the cabin challenge is always super fun, we’ve done it every year I’ve gone to YoungLife camp!
After the cabin challenge we had about twenty minutes of free time before club. Club was pretty much the same as the night before; more skits, more games, and more songs. The talk was great again, talking about the separation from God that our sin has created. The end of club led into cabin time, where we returned to the cabin and again discussed what we heard. Cabin time ended with the five minute bell, meaning we had five minutes until lunch.
Lunch included pepperoni and cheese pizza. The skit continued at the end of the meal and led us into our free time. Free time was spent packing everything Windy Gap has to offer into a six hour time period. As soon as lunch was released, I sprinted to the back door of the dining hall with a few of my friends and from there we ran up to the swing. I love the swing, it puts any other swing imaginable to complete shame. Once my friend Came and I got off the swing, we changed into bathing suits and zip-lined into the lake. After the zip-line we went back to the cabin to shower before going to the camp store where I bought a tee and YoungLife blanket (if you don’t have a YoungLife blanket you need to buy one next time you go to camp, they’re made out of the softest sweatshirt material and are very possibly the best thirty dollars you’ll ever spend). Next we hit the Sippin’ Parlor, where I ordered my annual birthday cake milkshake and it was just as delicious as always. We enjoyed our milkshakes under the gorgeous oak tree and then took a few pictures on the adorable little island.
A couple hours after our little photoshoot, the five minute bell rang and we all ran to the dining hall again. While we waited a little longer than five minutes we took even more pictures with some of our leaders. I switched camera lenses in our final minutes of free time before dinner and I just love how these pictures came out!
I honestly forgot what we even had for dinner because the memory was overshadowed by the fact that we had the big cookie for dessert. If you’ve never been to a YoungLife camp this might sound foreign to you, but big cookie is a huge cookie served in a circular pan fresh out of the oven with a ton of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup on top. It’s so good that no one stops to divide it evenly, everyone just digs in with a spoon. It’s so much fun and it’s so good. Once we finished eating the big cookie we met up with our area by the basketball court to get our area tee shirts that we’d be wearing the next day (you’ll see we’re all wearing matching navy tee shirts in the pictures from Sunday and that’s why!) before having a little free time before club.
The final evening club of YoungLife camp is always my favorite, whether it’s fall weekend or a week at summer camp. This particular club is used to describe Christ’s death on the cross in immense depth, the kind of depth that makes you wince. Once the crucifixion is explained, campers are gifted with a fifteen minute period of silence and darkness in camp. You get to pick a spot, then you just sit and stare at the stars and talk to God. I love this, I always have. At this point I’m always reminded of my amazement that the same God that made those stars made me, and even though He blessed me with all of this I still sin and turn my back to Him, yet He still wants me.
Once the fifteen minutes were up, a bell rang and the camp turned the lights back on. We all walked back to our cabin for the most personal and emotional of the cabin times. This year’s wasn’t nearly as tear-jerking as some of my past years’ cabin times have been, but it was equally as eye-opening. When cabin time concluded, we were led back to the club room where some of the leaders from various counties present that weekend were putting on skits.
These were some of the absolute funniest things I have ever seen, my stomach hurt from laughing so much. At the end of the skits, we had a big camp dance party and were then told that Tim Halperin, our camp musician for the weekend, would be having a little concert in the club room about an hour later. Tim Halperin was so good (he was actually on American Idol at one point, be sure to check him out on iTunes!), I especially love his song “Hey 17.” His concert ended the night, so when it was over we walked back to our cabins and got ready for bed.
I woke up at 7:00 a.m. to go on a little walk with one of my YoungLife leaders, Adrian, before her morning leader meeting. We ended up sitting in rocking chairs in front of the Sippin’ Parlor and reading the Bible. It was so nice to have some one on one time with Adrian and to just open up the word! Around 7:45 a.m., Adrian had to go to her meeting so I walked back to the cabin and began to change into my area tee shirt and actually get ready for the day.
Around 8:30 a.m. our cabin walked down to the dining hall to get some coffee and wait for breakfast. Our delicious breakfast included biscuits, eggs, grits, and bacon. When breakfast was over, we went to the club room for “say so’s.” Say so’s are a little period of time in the club room with some music playing in which campers who have accepted/recommitted to Christ can stand up and say so. I love getting to clap for and congratulate my friends and all the other campers who are making such a big step!
Once say so’s finished, we went back to the cabin to clean up and pack. When we finished cleaning and packing we took all of our bags to the bus then returned to the basketball court to hang out with the rest of the people from our area. We then went to the leader lounge for an area meeting before taking a group picture of everyone from our area in front of the camp store. Shortly after, the five minute bell rang for lunch.
For lunch we had sandwiches and some really good chocolate chip cookies. The skit concluded on stage as we ate and once we finished eating we walked up to the buses to leave. It was such an awesome weekend and I was so sad to see it end!