The cool rain falling didn’t stop Urban Roots interns from blazing trails, hauling boulders, and tipping canoes-intentionally-at Bay Lake Camp. The camp lies two and a half hours North of here, on an island in the middle of Bay Lake. To arrive to BLC, campers pull up to a dock where an old wooden phone is fixed with a sign noting that before the phone was installed folks rang a bell to get transported to camp-now campers call with cell phones! Within ten minutes of our call, a gregarious, pony-tailed man pulls up in a big pontoon and boards 20 campers. Adding to the feel of adventure, the rain poured extra hard for our trip across the bay.
Urban Roots was lucky enough be able to take our youth interns to this magical place for a two-night retreat and service-learning trip. In our short time there we were able to help the camp rebuild their washed-out road, after the deluge of July 11th, build a new section of trail, weed the gardens and repair the garden fence, clean out downed branches, stack wood, bake bread, and make pizza. Campers squeezed in a few rousing games of capture the flag and mafia, and of course jumped in the lake for a swim and a paddle.
Bay Lake Camp is owned by First Lutheran Church, the campus where our office and demonstration site are housed. Camp directors, Brenda and Ray, generously invited us to come get some fresh air and put some of our skills to work in a restorative setting. They made us all feel welcome with their kindness and homemade food, including Ray’s famous BBQ chicken.
At closing campfire, youth noted the pride they felt assisting with camp chores, joy for the experience, and gratitude for the friendships made and strengthened. That night, with open windows from our bunks in the lodge where we slept, we listened to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof and the distant call of a loon. Thanks Bay Lake for taking us away to bring us closer together.