Friday, December 28, 2012

CWE365 Student Bloggers: Abraham, Bentonville Summit

The following was written by Bentonville Summit student Abraham Aguilar, who is a senior at Bentonville High School. 
In the 4 years that I've been to Camp War Eagle, I've always heard about Ozone, but I never bothered to ask anyone for more information about it. This year at camp, staff gathered all the older cabins together in the craft center and began to tell us about Ozone. I became more interested in attending, and with the enthusiastic encouragement from all the Ozone directors, I made the decision that once I was done with camp I would attend Bentonville Ozone. 
My first day at Bentonville Ozone was probably the best. I was not expecting to do so many activities and meet so many new people. Being able to participate in crazy, made-up sports made it even better! Apart from all that, I was really looking forward to the message that either Matt or Ellie [Bentonville Ozone Directors] would give. When I found out that we would be focusing on the book of Luke and talking about the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I was very excited to see what I could learn from them. 
Throughout the many times I've gone to Ozone, not once have I not had fun. Every time I've gone, I either learn something new about the Bible, or I meet new people. Being a part of the Mentoring Program as well, Ozone gave my mentor, Jackson Hoyt, and I an opportunity to get together before Ozone and study the book of Ephesians. This is another thing I greatly look forward to every Thursday. I get to study and meditate on two different books of the Bible on the same day, AND have fun with a bunch of people who are also seeking a closer relationship with God. It’s a win-win situation! 
Ozone has greatly encouraged me to keep seeking God's word, and has inspired me to learn all that I can about the Bible so I can go out and spread God’s word and love to those who need it. It has also strengthened my desire to help other people and be a center of support and encouragement to those who need a boost every once in a while. My favorite thing about Ozone would probably be the fact that I’m surrounded by people who love God and are willing to learn more about him. I’m always seeking the word of God, and I’m always trying to find different opportunities to just learn and hear about God's word. Ozone definitely fulfills that desire. 
As the semester was coming to an end, and Christmas was soon approaching, I began to think back on what an awesome year it has been. To be able to get together with awesome Ozone directors, Mentors, and fellow campers/students, made my year a whole lot better. Not to mention the awesome Christmas party that was held to end the year of 2012!
Below are some photos Abraham took during Bentonville Summit's Christmas club:
Gingerbread House Construction!

Leaders Jeremy and Jackson circling up before dinner to pray as a group

Christmas Tree Creation!

Bentonville Summit!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

This Christmas, we count ourselves blessed to have spent another wonderful year with you and your family. We praise God for giving us the gift of his son, born to save us and give us new life. We look forward to 2013 and more chances to serve you!
Your Camp War Eagle 365 Crew
"Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him." Luke 2:14.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bill Davidson Will Take Back His Land: A Creative Look at Ozone Activities

The following was written by Cass Trumbo, Rogers Ozone Director.

At our Ozone clubs, we often play silly or gross games, conjuring images of time spent at summer camp. However, I often lean towards activities that require a measure or two of creativity. In my bias, that often means the creation involves words.
I love nothing more than to hang pictures drawn by our elementary students and ask our teenagers to write a six-word story about it while listening to oddly loud instrumental music. That has led to such gems as I have hung on my office corkboard: “Slowly leave something that is loved” and “Gazing serpent gazes at what was.”
Both of those were written about a basilisk fighting a robot, pictured in crayon.
One week we played a variation of Balderdash, the game that gives an obscure title or phrase from which the player must puzzle out meaning (or bluff very well). As I explained the goal – to either correctly describe a movie plot or to make up a feasible plot that matches the title – the students were confident. Most assured me that whatever the movie was, they had seen it.

“Ready?” I asked. “The movie is - The Hudsucker Proxy.

As they stared, glassy-eyed, at their blank papers, I tried to help them along. “Who is the main character? Is it the Hudsucker Proxy? Or is the main character trying to find the Proxy? Maybe destroy it? Fall in love with it? Protect it?
“Is the Hudsucker Proxy a place? A spaceship? An idea? Is it in Canada? Or in King Arthur’s Court? Or on a moon of Jupiter? Maybe it’s in each of us.”
Obviously, none had heard of it. And no one was even close to the actual plot – a mailroom worker is promoted to CEO because the company’s exec board thinks he’s a schmuck. One-half of all submissions had to do with either the Hudson River or a vampire that sucked the heads of his/her victims.
In both our middle school and high school club meetings, there were some winners. These were ones with believable plots that at least tangentially involved a Hudsucking Proxy.
“Mr. Hudsucker is a jail escape artist who’s escaped from jail 20 times. And in his worst nightmare, he’s being chased by the proxyman. Despite the proxyman’s cuddly appearance, he can rip the flesh of a human with his bare hands. Mr. Hudsucker must escape from him and find his real world (not the proxy world).”

Very Inception-esque. I’d watch it. And if the proxyman looks like Mr. Hudsucker (which the definition would suggest so, though the author didn’t know it), I’d say the title is right on the money.

“A hunter is attacked by a beast called a Proxy. So he has to fight back. It takes place in  a dark forest where there is no sight of light! So in the end is he lost forever. But before then he kills the Proxy on mistake! But it was a good thing.”

The reversal that killing the Proxy was a mistake makes me think the hunter came to love the beast – or at least respect it. However, as in White Fang, it would never work. Also, the fact that he’s lost forever and now alone is quite disturbing.

“There are only two people left. There is no one else in the world. And they are on opposite sides of the world. The movie is about their journey to find each other. When they meet, they are brother and sister.”

Again, no HP, but the omission of how everyone on the planet died is captivating, as is the final twist that the two are brother and sister. Along with the writing, we held a movie poster competition. The poster for this plot won.
“During a normal shiny Tuesday morning, a flock of wasps takes over the world. They turn humans into other wasps and the world becomes ruled by wasps. Only one human survived the Hudsucker Proxy, and Bill Davidson will take back his land. He will have to survive these vicious wasps. He is willing to survive and he will. Watch to find out if this brave man will take back the Earth.”

For me, this is the clear winner. It includes the HP in a non-detrimental way (too many plots were horribly transfigured by jamming the HP in). It also sounds like a smashing movie trailer, with the expert introduction of Bill Davidson. And slowly enlarging his goal from “his land” to “the Earth” sets it up for a sequel.

Story is a universal love – its one of the few things that can communicate beyond language. I’d also argue that a love for certain stories was crafted and placed in our hearts by our Creator. Watching students exercise their brains to mimic and, ultimately, freshly create stories of their own is one of the more rewarding aspects of my job. It leads me to believe that the students are stepping closer to a better understanding and appreciation of the drama of God’s story.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Community Christmas Dinner 2012

Christmas is always a worthy time to celebrate!  On Tuesday, December 4, that is precisely what Camp War Eagle families had the chance to do together. Over 150 deserving families, totaling 652 individuals, arrived at the MetroPlex in Rogers for Camp War Eagle’s 6th annual Community Christmas Dinner.  

The night was carried out to bless and serve students and families. Providing a wonderful holiday meal, famous to campers as the prized Christmas dinner during their time at Camp War Eagle, varied entertainment & carols, games, fun gifts, groceries and the hopeful message of the Christmas season, Christ himself, were all on the agenda.  

A wonderfully faithful and talented Ozone High School Summit leader, Sean Fuller, began the night’s festivities with music, playing holiday tunes on the piano as families arrived and were seated at elaborately decorated tables for dinner.  As the meal was served, three campers were then able to perform Christmas favorites.  Baylea, a senior at West Fork High School, performed an original song on ukulele she wrote entitled “Christmas at camp.”  A Rogers High senior played “Ave Maria” on the cello and Landon Norman, an 8th grader from Washington Junior High played the guitar while singing, “Mary, Did You Know?”  The students were interviewed by a host about their experience with camp, the year-round ministry and the Christmas season!  A great night of celebration while being able to highlight some very talented students.

Each table of families received superior care from leaders in the year round program who served, aided and attended to their needs throughout the night.  It was a blessing to have over 100 volunteers to carry out these tasks! Many summer counselors continue to devote their time, energy, passion and love for Jesus and His people through their involvement with the ministry, this event just being one example.  Many leaders testified the joy and excitement of being able to serve and spend time with campers, some of whom they had in their own cabins, and families.
“Awaiting presents being opened, it was so fun to sit with kids in their expectation and guess what the present could be,” Connor, Springdale High School leader.
“I was able to use my Spanish to communicate with the families I was serving...  A really fun and great connection,” Ellen, Springdale middle school volunteer.

The spirit of the night can be captured by Colossians 3:15-17:
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The hope of the event has always been to give camp families an experience in which to glorify God through celebration, thanksgiving and worship!  
As the Christmas season approaches, no matter where we find ourselves, let our hearts be ruled by peace, being thankful as we let the word of Christ dwell richly among us as we celebrate!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!  

A few photos from the event. More to come on our fan page:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lifeline Service Saturday: December.

Taking a break from our community garden initiative, our Lifeline students chipped in their small hands and able bodies to help load food bags for one of CWE's favorite annual events, the Community Christmas Dinner.  The first Saturday of December, these Lifeline students descended on the Jones Center building, swarming the CWE365 office and filling it with smiles, laughter, and energy.
Transporting bags to be inspected!
These youth have a vigor to serve!  They formed assembly lines and slowly packed canned goods and pastas, peanut butter and applesauce into reusable Walmart sacks.  They stocked supply lines and kept the packers moving.  Some double checked items and tied off bags, while others hauled packing materials to the recycling dumpster.  Each student played a small role, and yet their synergy and collaboration allowed this event to be a huge success!  What a picture of the body of Christ, humbly bringing what we've been given to make the body whole and allow Christ our head to be glorified.
Students were allowed the opportunity to process the morning, and these second through fifth grade students had some profound thoughts.  How quick our generation is to label these kids distracted and aimless.  One student even ventured to say that she serves because it "keeps people from staying mean to me."  Jesus' words to love your enemies ring true from the mouth of a youngster.
Lifeline Leader Taylor with his team!
When all 150 bags were packed, they were distributed to some of our favorite families, but that's for another blog!  Check back soon for an update on our 2012 Community Christmas Dinner!

To see more photos from the event, go to our CWE365 Facebook Fan Page!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fayetteville Ozone Student Baptized

The following was written by long time CWE Camper and Fayetteville Ozone student, Baylea Cantrell, a senior at West Fork High School:
I’ve grown up in a great home with amazing parents who love God and me very dearly. However, we were never really involved in a church. I had been to churches before. I would go with friends, but I always felt like I was simply a visitor there and not like I belonged.
A few months ago, it seemed God was leading me to become involved in a church. “Ok God!” I asked, having no idea how to start that process! So, as I do with many of my spiritual conundrums, I looked to Ozone. I asked Fayetteville Ozone Director, Alyssa if I could accompany her to church and she said that she would love to have me come! Going to New Heights, I was able to experience and learn so many things that I never had before. A complete stranger came and prayed with me. I was able to take communion for the first time. I had found a church to call home!
After about a month of attending New Heights, I was privileged to witness water baptisms every Sunday. As each person would come up out of the water, symbolically out of their sin, every single one of them would have a look of pure and utter joy on their faces. Just being able to watch that happen was a powerful experience for me. I had wanted to be baptized before, but I had never belonged to a church to be able to do so.  Now, however, I did have a church! I wanted to make this happen! But how? This sounded like a spiritual conundrum to me, so again I looked to Alyssa.  We talked and she said she would help me make it happen. This was actually going to happen! I was going to get baptized! I was beside myself all week waiting for the next Sunday to roll around. Then Alyssa told me I had to choose who was going to baptize me. If you don’t this know already, I am terrible at being decisive, especially for important situations. Needless to say, this was an important one. She had told me that I should pick someone that had a large impact on my walk with Christ. As with everything else, I went to Alyssa. I wanted her to baptize me.  She has been a mentor and a friend. She is a person in my life that I can go to with any spiritual questions, and I wanted to be baptized by no other.
The day finally arrived--September 23. That morning God woke me up to the most amazing rainbow I think I have ever seen.  It was like He was jumping up and down, waving at me and shouting to the world, “Baylea! Look at me! Look at how much I love you!” It was incredible. I watched that rainbow until it disappeared and then got ready for church. I was so excited, and it just seemed like the sermon was lasting forever. Then it was time. We walked up to the baptismal tub, me with my heart in my throat. I stepped in the water.  Everything that had happened, my struggles and my triumphs, my victories and failures, my sin and my salvation, everything had come down to this moment. As I went under the water, I felt my sins being broken away, being buried with Christ in death. I was raised from the water, out of my filth, into the light of Jesus. I stepped out of the baptismal into the arms of everyone who came as a witness to my public affirmation of my faith. God had used so many of those people to impact my walk with Him. That day, I walked out of that church cold and wet but obedient. I am thankful every day for that moment and I am so, so incredibly and undeniably blessed that on September 23, 2012, God chose an unworthy, messed up sinner to experience the cleansing power of His amazing love. Praise God for baptisms!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Take a Seat: Pride and Prejudice

As an organization, CWE365 has been tremendously blessed with opportunities to experience the arts in exciting and different contexts. In October, the Walton Arts Center’s Take a Seat program generously offered free tickets for “Pride and Prejudice” to several high school students and leaders from Bentonville and Fayetteville Summits, as well as other individuals in the CWE365 family. The unique performance of the almost 200-year-old novel told the classic tale, which although having been recently popularized through cinema, the majority of students in attendance were not familiar with it. It was a joy to see students ranging from the middle school aged boy with his bright eyed younger sister to the group of high school girls captivated by the pure romance of the story, begin to grow an interest in classic literature. The unfamiliar dialect of 19th century England, although confusing at first to students, eventually washed over the auditorium and transported them to full enjoyment of classic theater. “I liked the accents,” Michell, a fifth grader from Rogers responded dreamily when asked what she truly enjoyed about the play.
Bentonville High Schoolers and Leaders at WAC
 Although the dress of actors fit with the time period, and their British accents were spot on, there was one largely unique and refreshing factor in the performance. The actors were few in comparison to parts, but it was not a problem in the slightest. The company performed in the fashion of a radio broadcast, where sets are replaced by strategically placed stand microphones, and actors switch from role to role with varied voice and slight change in attire and demeanor. A jacket or switch in position of an apron, along with the tone of one’s voice, brought a new character to the story.
Not only was the viewing an educational opportunity, but the conversations springing from it were a chance for leader to student connection as well. For high school girls from Bentonville, it came in the form of questions about what determined certain characters views of romance, their motives and virtues. They were able to identify with certain emotions or motivations in their own lives, and connect to characters drawn up centuries before. "I loved being able to experience this incredible performance with high schoolers! It was fantastic to see one of my own favorite tales open the eyes of another generation to processing how the arts apply to life," Bentonville Ozone Director Ellie Chase reported.
A fantastic evening of thought provoking, humorous, real theater! What could be better?