Houseboats

By Sheryl Madden, Volunteer Storyteller

If you’re a parent of a high school student and that student happened to go on the trip to Lake Billy Chinook in Oregon to play and stay on houseboats this past week, you already know that overheating buses was the downside. But, if you’re a parent, have you asked your loved one what the best part of camp was?

Culling replies from many students, they loved the jet skis, the food, wake-surfing, hiking, water sports, boating, canoeing, swimming, the rope swing, hanging out, making their own food, and impromptu, life-changing worship. Many kids mentioned the messages that were delivered. One student said, “The teachings were the best. The main speaker was awesome!” One camper even got baptized in the lake!

And then there were the skits, also a fun time. During one evening, the teams pulled a genre out of one hat and a well-known Bible story from another. They then had to act out the story in the genre chosen. One story was about David and Goliath and the genre was comedy. Another was Jonah and the whale and the genre was sci-fi. Using props like neon noodles for swimming (lightsabers) and an ice chest (the whale), the kids attempted to portray the story of Jonah being swallowed by the whale and eventually being spit out of the ice chest onto the shores of Ninevah.

From the timid to the brave, those who couldn’t wait to go on the trip and those who were not so sure, Houseboats 2017 proved to be well worth the investment.

These teenagers have a new perspective now on the prodigal son and his older brother. Of course there’s joy when the prodigal son returns, but what about the brother? If you had a student at Houseboats, ask them for a synopsis of what they gleaned from those messages.

From the timid to the brave, those who couldn’t wait to go on the trip and those who were not so sure, Houseboats 2017 proved to be well worth the investment. Each child came away with a fresh look at Jesus and His love for them. They bonded with cabin-mates, they made friends, “cliques” formed throughout the year dissipated, they had an opportunity to work on their tans or sunburns, and they came home exhausted, a sure sign of success!

For those just getting to high school, there’s much to look forward to—three more years of Houseboats. For those who are seniors, though, their time at Lake Billy Chinook with Northshore’s youth group is now done, unless they come back next year as camp counselors.

A huge thank-you to the many parents who gave of their time and talent to ensure these kids were taken care of, well-fed, and nourished inside too. This trip wouldn’t be possible without many volunteers giving so much of themselves. We are grateful.


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