celebrating summer camp

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keeper of 1000 sunsets, infinite songs, miles & miles of hikes and so much laughter and love: Mar Lu Ridge.

I could go (& have gone) on & on about what camp taught me and the ways it has shaped me. I recognize gifts that MLR gave me in my daily life & work, at FLBC & beyond.

These days, I’ve been especially grateful for the work ethic my summers at camp instilled in me & the true belief that conversations and story sharing can change lives. A week at summer camp or a weekend retreat can be deeply transformational for children, youth & adults. I am so lucky to see the spirit at work every day, as I watch people open up and grow in themselves as they spend time out in nature & in community. I’m endlessly thankful for places like MLR & FLBC that facilitate time apart, time to experience the glory of creation & time to slow down and think a little harder about these lives we lead.

I truly, truly believe that outdoor ministry changes lives & encourage you to support a camping program wherever you might be. This month is “I love camp” month in the MD/ DE & Metro DC synods of the ELCA- the synods that directly support MLR. Download the I ❤️ MLR! sign here & submit your own photo!

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rocky gap days.

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When I was young, my family used to pack up the mini-van, or Suburban (as the years went on), and make our way into the mountains to Rocky Gap State Park. RGSP is beautifully set on the banks of Lake Habeeb, near Cumberland, Maryland. We packed bikes and the canoe, s’mores fixings and fleece jackets and set up camp for a few days. I have the best memories of swimming in the lake, canoeing to “secret coves”, cooking over the fire and watching star shows in the field near the site. We took friends up for time in the woods- always building forts in the woods while our parents relaxed by the fire. My father once lost our car keys in the lake when they fell out of his bathing suit pocket, so of course, we have lots of funny stories from this place of beauty as well.

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To return to a place so full of memories as an adult holds a special kind of nostalgia. I was so grateful for time apart last week- time to sleep in, to cook and eat together, to brighten my hair under the August sun, to laugh with dear friends on the shores of the lake, watching the sun sink into the distance.

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The five of us are very soon headed in very different directions, so it was a huge blessing to spend time together in a place where our phones were quickly forgotten in the car and the skies reached out in all directions. We hiked through the “gorge” and splashed in the waterfall at the base of the dam. We saw deer and foxes, and shivered our way through hours in the cool lake water.

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There is always time to be busy- remember to take time apart. Shout to the sunset, skip stones til your fingers are sore, run your fingers through the sands of a lake, laugh in the firelight, and always stop for Sheetz at the end of any adventure.

Thank you to these sweet friends for always making time for one another.

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