Wow, Spring is really popping out here in the Hill Country! And with the recent rain we’re enjoying the blooming of daffodils, fruit trees, red bud trees and mountain laurel to name a few…it’s getting prettier every day. I hope many of you are enjoying an early spring and probably by now most of our campers have had Spring Break and hopefully a good one. Some, I know, were fortunate to go snow skiing and on other adventures and we hope wherever the break took you that it was fun and safe. Now, for the home stretch of school – and good luck to all campers during these last ten weeks or so of school!
Last Saturday, March 19, we had the annual Open House. Although we had been enjoying some really nice warm weather, a cold front came through Friday night along with another inch of rain as well as some hail. The result was a windy and cold Saturday morning. By noon the clouds gave way to sunshine and in spite of the change in weather we had a good turnout of prospective campers as well as current and former campers. In addition to guided tours and visiting with key staff, open activities included archery, climbing wall, fishing and pedal carts. New and returning counselors were also here for a mini staff retreat, and we had hotdogs grilling as well as all the trimmings, drinks and snacks. It was good to see such a great attendance. If you missed open house and still want to come for a tour, please contact us in advance and we’ll be glad to have you come.
Since this is the Ragsdale family’s 50th year at Stewart, my first intention in writing this blog was to look back on my own years here at Stewart since I first started as a counselor in the summer of 1968 – yet not take away from the Ragsdale’s celebration. However, I’ll defer on those thoughts for another blog.
So, a reflection. I fully realize some of you who read this live in a city, big or small, so may not have the open space that we have here in the country. I grew up in a mid-size city, Mobile (AL) in the Heart of Dixie and now spend three months each winter in Oxford, MS, a small though growing southern town, so I know what city-life is like. We here in the Hill Country are blessed with this beautiful corner of God’s creation. Most mornings, including weekends, I take a long, fast-paced walk and some evenings I bike (‘cycle’ as we cyclists say!). It’s a time for not only good exercise yet also reflection and a time to rather slow down (does one really “slow down” while walking and cycling?!) mentally and spiritually midst the hectic pace of life.
Some of us may make excuses and/or have very legitimate ones, especially those with children such as camper parents – busy work schedules, managing households, shuttling kids to and from home, school, athletic activities, music, etc. etc. – and, trying to keep up with things on social media (God forbid you’re doing this while driving!). The list of activities in our daily lives seems to keep growing and gets overwhelming at times. I’ve tried to keep exercise as one of my priorities in life. Early last evening as I was cycling up the North Fork I was once again awestruck at the beauty of God’s creation – seeing wildflowers and wildlife while crossing the tranquil Guadalupe River with the backdrop of the hills – and reminded again of the verse from Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
In my mind, even while cycling, I was ‘still’, and it’s a really good feeling. We’re all encouraged to take time out of each day’s responsibilities, challenges and hectic pace to “Be still, and know that I am God”. I hope, in some way, that those who come to camp will have this experience while here.
Enjoy Spring – and, Happy Easter from all of us here at camp!