Last week, I got a call from Kimmie Durkee wondering if by chance we would be willing to open our home up to host the Impact Team from Camp Harlow over for a celebratory dinner. Are you kidding, OF COURSE!
The "Impact Team" is the leadership of Camp Harlow. Comprised of about 24 roughly-college-aged adults, they run the show through the carefully delegated roles given to each of them based on their giftedness. Dave Mertz is the head honcho, Camp Harlow's director, and he made it clear last night that based on the strength, heart, wisdom, and faith of this group, it was a summer he really felt like the weight didn't have to just sit on his shoulders - God had clearly orchestrated this group together.
Beneath Dave's leadership, sits the Dean of Men and Dean of Women positions. My gal, Kimmie, is Dean of Women this year - and while I'm always proud of her, after watching her co-run the show with her partner-in-crime (their words, not mine), Matt, I couldn't hold back the tears. This has been a "Job"-like year for Kimmie - each week of Bible Study seemed to bring a new obstacle that she had to hurdle - and yet, even as tears would stream down, she faced them all with courage, faith, and perseverance. And, while I would never wish the trials she faced on anyone, it's abundantly clear to me that they only equipped her to be even more the "ideal woman" to handle the position she had this summer. I am so proud of that gal - she makes me want to be a better person.
So, back to the event. Immediately after picking up Mikayla at Camp Harlow, the family kicked into hyper-drive to prepare our home and a meal for the two dozen guests we'd be having. While I originally thought a good-ol' bbq would be ideal, it was made clear to me that these guys were a little tired of "camp food" so something different might be preferred. So we opted on a quadruple batch of chicken enchiladas, green salad, cornbread, chips and salsa, cinnamon chips and fruit salsa, a veggie tray, and make-it-yourself shaved ice. (Oh, and chocolate chip cookies and s'mores for dessert!).
Everyone showed up simultaneously, about 13.2 seconds after we'd thrown the mop into the garage, and the Windex underneath the sink! (It always seems to happen like that....) =) We welcomed everyone, cautioned them about the beggar/thief Sydney can be with food, and then prayed over the meal - setting them free to load up their plates and find a place to relax.
I can't tell you how fun it is to know two different people that you are confident will "hit it off" as friends, but have yet to make the connection yet. That's been the case with Becky and Kimmie who are now roommates =), as well as this gal, Danielle, and Kimmie who grew an incredible friendship with each other out at camp this summer. It was Danielle's first year at Harlow, and not only did she exceed every one's expectations as the program gal (person who runs the skits and program each week), but she also played a hugely pivotal role as the fill-in Dean of Women during the time Kimmie had to leave in the middle of the summer when her step-dad passed away. What a privilege and an honor it has been to get to know all of these exceptional women and stand back as they discover that about each other too.
After dinner, they played a game called "Family" where they had to guess what fictional name was picked by what person. If they guessed correctly, the collected "family members" - The "head" of the biggest family group at the end won.
The gal on the left is named "Ashlee". She'll be Kimmie and Becky's third roommate and it was super fun getting to know her. That trio will have a BLAST living together!
After the "Family Game", "Just-for-Fun(ny)" awards were given out on the patio to all of the members. The creativity of each award (not to mention the item awarded) was so great - well done Matt and Kimmie for putting all of that together. (As well as another team member named Shauna who had individually done her own set of awards too....)
After that, folks roasted some marshmallows and eventually they all moved into our living room to watch a slide show and do the "Serious Awards". At that point, the mood got much more sentimental, as each member was honored with a specific title (i.e. "Most Compassionate") with a corresponding verse and speech given to them by either Matt or Kimmie (depending on their gender). The certificates included their picture and were laminated. So well thought out and beautiful. John, Brayden, Mikayla, and I all got to sit back as "flies on the wall" to behold the emotion and glory given to the Lord for each of the guests in our home. Yes, I got teary-eyed - as did many of them.
The evening ended in prayer and eventually (around 11pm), everyone mosied back to Harlow; exhausted physically, but uplifted emotionally. Funny, but that's exactly the same feelings John and I had as we hit our pillows that night too.