Friday, July 22, 2016

Chapter Five - And away we go!

Good Friday Morning from Greensboro!

Yesterday was our last full day of Passport and it was a humdinger.  We wrapped up the Choice groups, enjoyed a volleyball tournament (our youth were beaten by the eventual champs), and witnessed some impressive singing, dancing, and playing in the talent show.

I was thanked by several of our youth for spending this week as a chaperon.  That is a lovely thing to hear, but I'm the one who is grateful.  To spend this week with our youth, watching them explore their relationship with our Lord and each other, is about as good as it gets.  Thank you.

It has been a good week, and although most of us wouldn't mind staying here a bit longer, it's time to come home.

A final note.  The shower this morning was so hot it was impossible to stand on the tile anywhere near the stream of water.  That's hot.

Curtain Call, the theater Choice, about to play an Improvisation game.   I was able to join for the final session and had the time of my life.  
Volleyball tournament.  Let's dominate!
Jo jo serves, Isaac looks bored.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chapter Four: Camp with a Choice

Good Thursday Morning from Greensboro!  Ben chided me from Annapolis to speak less about the air conditioning and more about the program.  Sure!

This week we have been examining different aspects of the theme: This Wild Life.  The Morning Celebration, Bible Study groups, Worship, pastoral message all reinforce the daily and overall theme.  We have examined Scripture regarding the calling of the disciples, Jesus being with us until the end of this present age, and how the truth will set us free.  These concepts are contemplated in private, expounded upon in the large group, and then discussed in the Bible Study groups and at the end of the day in each Church's daily wrap-up.  The message that so far stands out for me is Pastor Timothy's assertion that being a Christian is not always easy, but that we must ultimately choose what sort of life we want: Easy?  Or good?

The Choice groups delve into different aspects of the Christian walk.  Five Things talks about how to survive as a high school graduate.  High Rise talks about entering High School.  There are also Choices geared toward Christian expression in sports, art, drama, and service.

It is at times inspiring, at times emotional, and at most times compelling.  Our youth are meeting peers from other places and so are the adults.  Christians all.

An addendum to the hot shower topic.  Tim has no blog to write so he showers later than I.  He claims that his showers here are always tepid, although this morning he was able to coax hot water with some shower valve jiggling.  Tepid?  Jiggling?  This warrants further investigation, and we'd better get on that quickly because only one morning remains.

Yesterday the churches enjoyed free time.  We explored the local arcade go-kart bumper boat mini-golf place.  The unlimited pizza was quite tasty but it nearly did Tim and me in.

Sold items stored at the Salvation Army.  Not claimed for 6 months?  Back on the sales floor
COK's sole female representative at the Salvation Army
Isaac sorting shoes for sale
Quentin sorting shoes for sale
Nick sorting shoes for sale.  It seems like there are a lot of people sorting shoes for sale.
Observe large pile of winning tickets on the floor

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!
Nice afternoon for a bumper boat ride
The winning is only beginning

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Chapter Three - Observations

Good Wednesday Morning from This Wild Life.  Another good day of camp yesterday culminating in a Wild West Dance where, curiously, no country or Western music was played.  Not even Johnny Cash.  Even so, those who participated said it was a good time.

Some observations:  
Yesterday's list of extremes should have included the size of spoons at Greensboro Dining.  LARGE.  I'm talking serving spoon size, or even small shovel size.

In the South, "during" is pronounced "deering".  The Southerners would find this assertion ridiculous.

The air conditioning technology in West Hall is something like you might see in The Smithsonian.  A large trough running the width of the room is suspended from the ceiling near the wall.  A room-length cold radiator is suspended above the trough and uses ambient airflow to chill the room,  No forced air.  The way you know the a/c is working is by hearing the water dripping off the radiator into the trough.  Fascinating.

It may go without saying that there's a novelty in being away from home.  For the youth there also a novelty in experiencing this early taste of college living,  Greensboro is the site of the first widely-publicized civil rights sit-ins in 1960.  The Woolworth lunch counter where it happened is preserved in a museum downtown.  Greensboro Coliseum in the same time period gave us John F, Kennedy as President.  You see, Nixon blamed his poor performance in the debate on his leg which he injured during a campaign appearance at Greensboro Coliseum.  I am fairly confident that for our youth this information would not add anything to the novelty of Greensboro.  I, however, think it's cool and now you know the rest of the story.

Looking for the best ice cream in Greensboro, the internet directed us to Yum Yum Better Ice Cream and Hot Dogs.  The ice cream was good, but Tim says the University of Maryland Creamery has nothing to worry about.  Curiously, a small cone is the size of your head but a small cup is genuinely small.  Same price.  And an All-In hot dog includes mustard, onion, chili and slaw.  Sounds good, but I would recommend you bypass the chili.  Too wet.

Sold!  Salvation Army furniture is moved to the back to await removal by its new owner.
Rejected!  Unsold furniture is loaded up and moved out.
Wasteland!  Fifteen minutes ago there was a huge pile of unsold furniture here and that dumpster was empty.
Coffee!  Before Bible study, chaperons get down to business.
Yum Yum Better Hot Dogs and Ice Cream

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Christ Our King Passport 2016 Chapter Two

Good Tuesday Morning from Passport Choices in Greensboro.  Today extremism is on my mind.  In most cases I find extremism to be a bad thing, and as I get older, more so.  The Morning Celebration is a terrific way to get everyone amped up for the day with singing, dancing, and novelties.  But boy is it LOUD!  And the room in which it takes place is COLD!.  But the most pressing example of extremism is the showers in West Hall.  They are HOT!  You can't stand in the stream for more than two seconds at a time.  That's at the coldest setting. And the hottest setting?  I think you could cook an egg.  I may actually buy some eggs and experiment.

Yesterday we all experienced our Choice sites.  A new one is Common Threads, which takes a look at diverse cultures within our midst.  A field trip to a mosque and an international market are on the itinerary.  Ethan is COK's representative here.  I wanted to be one of the adult chaperons for this, but so did all the other adults in camp.  Fail.  Instead I'm over at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, which needs a lot of help disposing of unwanted donations.

In accordance with this year's theme we are being asked repeatedly and in a variety of ways, "What will you do with this wild and precious life?"  It is a thought-provoking question for our youth, but equally so for chaperons aged 40, 50, or even Tim.

Tall David about to win a lip syncing contest
Adult chaperons preparing lunch.  Too many cooks?
The usually unseen guts of a Salvation Army donation center
Time to get rid of some pretty nice file cabinets at the Salvation Army
Unwanted clothing donations getting compacted
Unwanted clothing baled and ready to be sent out for conversion to rags
Gathering before dinner with campers trying to avoid photos.
Rec Party Field Games!  My Station was called Mental Marathon.  It's the Memory Game!
Other Rec Party station had something to do with balls and a parachute
Rec Party concludes with Bible Study Group cheer competition

Monday, July 18, 2016

Christ Our King Passport 2016 Chapter One

It's time for Passport 2016!  I'm your chaperon/blogger Chris Barsam.  The theme this year is This Wild Life, based on John 10:10.  We are here with churches from all over the Southeast.  Our youth will be intermingled with theirs in several ways starting with the Bible study groups.  A lot of the commentary from our youth at the conclusion of Day One spoke of how cool each camper's Bible study leader and group are.

This morning we'll head to breakfast, the Morning Celebration, Bible study, and then we'll find out how we will be serving.

I'm hoping this week will be eye-opening and transformative for our youth, but if I were going to set up a program for adult chaperons to serve, love and see God in others - it would look something like Passport.

Arrived!  After an uneventful drive we get our first look at The Quad at Greensboro College.
The Quad is the center of the Greensboro College campus and the venue for many of the Choices curriculum.
Time for dinner.  Choice include a custom taco bar, hot ham and cheese sandwich with fries, pizza, and a maple glazed pork loin with wild rice.  Salad bar too.
Greensboro dining hall, just as it looked during the Truman administration
Time for the Opening Celebration.  Songs, dances, an enthusiastic welcome, and announcements.  Our youth are the ones in the aqua shirts.
And beach balls being hit around the room.  Ha, just rebounded one with my face.  That was my plan.