Ah, the week after Day Camps ends, you have
to eat your Wheaties to make it through this week.
Let’s Start with the 6 Teams arriving back on Saturday, Sunday &Monday:-
Sunday, when Team 4 returned Steven
(Gillian’s future brother-in-law) offered to drive out and meet her at the
airport so, of course, I invited him to come back and share dinner with us. As
soon as Gillian came in the front door she was rushed to the dining room and
plonked down in front of my laptop in order to join (via Skype) the SYC Staff
meeting, taking place at the Huyers’ home in Ottawa. It was just as well the
meeting had not been moved to Montreal (a possible option) since it would have
included dinner for about 15 people and with my dodgy, partially functioning
fridge that might have proved problematic. While Gillian “joined” the meeting
Steven descended to the garage to do some more work on my bicycle gears, I
prepped dinner and then eventually we all regrouped and enjoyed our meal on the
deck.
       Monday (in between texts and calls, as two Teams arrived back in the city) was spent largely working on the Team
Leaders’ Evaluation Meeting; this included preparing a dinner for 12, without
proper refrigeration. Fortunately the dessert of homemade orange ice-cream
sandwiches could be placed in the basement freezer, which is functioning just
fine. The main course was more of  a problem, given that I had chosen to make chicken salad and in 30º+ summer whether, cooked chicken should be properly
refrigerated!

      In the end the chicken was kept frozen
until Tuesday morning, then quickly thawed and cooked. Gillian, who had offered
to help that morning, sliced up all the salad veggies, I boiled the penne pasta  so the salad came together at the last moment and was kept cool that
afternoon in the dodgy fridge as the Team Leaders and Committee gathered on the deck for our marathon evaluation meeting. Thus Tuesday passed in a
blur of cooking and meetings.
   By Wednesday I had switched into
Staff-PreCamp mode, going to pay for the groceries at the CO-OP, prepping items
like salad dressing and spice mixes and shopping for refreshments in readiness
for Thursday’s Prayer and Praise Gathering.
  Wednesday was mega-hot and sticky
so, of course, Gillian and Steven went off to climb Montreal’s Mont Royal!! That
evening we set up the laptop on the porch and with a slightly cooler breeze
blowing, watched together the Retreat Week movie, which Gillian had missed due
to a long distance phone call.
   And then it was Thursday, the day the
Prayer and Praise Gathering! That morning more last minutes groceries were
transported to Isaiah 40 and just after lunch I squeezed in a short visit over
a cup of tea with some of the Sweetman clan,(including the newest arrival Laura’s baby, Aedan) who were just in town for a couple
of days enroute to a family reunion in Ottawa. Stella (Laura’s Mum) also brought me a bag of household items that
had belonged to her Mum (mentor and friend Vina), which she had generously offered
to me as a remembrance. The silver tea set will be especially useful for future
Spanish Inquisition High Teas!!
 After cleaning up everything I just had
time to change into a fresh dress and hurry over to Isaiah 40 since Alexander
and I had arranged for him to deliver the HUGE PreCamp grocery order at 5pm.
Once there there was so much to do – melons to slice and jugs of infusion to
make up for after the Gathering,  groceries to unpack and arrange in the
pantry and fridges, a group of people to instruct on room set up, a
second group of Day Camp Team Members arriving to rehearse the Liturgical
Dance, and then the band coming to practice, all organized chaos!!
In between Gillian joined me and we ate a
hurried picnic supper at the big kitchen table.
Soon the Hall began to fill as the congregation
arrived for the 7pm Gathering, led by Nick Brotherwood.
We sang the Day Camp theme song for the
last time and the Liturgical Dance presented, watched a short slideshow of 2016 photos, prayed and gave thanks for
Day Camps and then moved on with songs and prayers themed around Junior and
Senior Youth Camp. Refreshments followed and afterwards Gillian,
Wil and I walked home, weary but still in a joyful mood.
Friday morning rain fell, after a two-week
drought and although it was very welcome it did add to the complexity of moving
the last bags and baskets of food over to Isaiah 40. I spent the morning
tidying up last minute things at home and then headed over there by
mid-afternoon to begin dinner preparation in earnest.
 The
Huyers had not made it down for the Prayer and Praise but Victoria with baby
Andrew arrived soon after I did and other Camp Staff quickly followed.
So the rest of Friday afternoon and
evening, plus ALL day yesterday from 630am-430pm was spent in preparing and
serving food to approx. 50 combined Junior and Senior Camp Staff. Mid-
afternoon yesterday the Staff Commissioning Service was held, with Nick as
Speaker and Celebrant and I was very honoured to be asked to administer the
chalice, remembering to remove my apron just in time!
Upon returning home last evening there was
a fair amount of tidying up to do since all the Huyers, plus Janice (who was
helping with Pre-Camp child care) had stayed over on Friday night. There
were also 50 table napkins to wash, all of which goes to explain why this post
is being published late Sunday afternoon, instead of Saturday!
 And
so the 2 Camps are, right this moment, welcoming their Campers,  about to begin
their weeklong adventures. The coming week at home includes on Thursday, my day trip to SYC, where I’ll be leading 2 workshops and delivering all sorts of gifts, prayer letters, Team Evaluations etc.
 On Tuesday there will also be the long waited arrival of the new appliances. It has been good to be so busy and SO
exhausted each night  I have actually been too tired to stay awake
listening to the noise of the expiring fridge! At present I’m relying on 3
coolers to hold much of its contents since the fan has now stopped completely
and I am concerned that some items are no longer being sufficiently cooled in there. It has
also been a blessing that in all the busyness I have been able to push to the back
of my mind the worry that the new fridge will not fit under the kitchen
cupboards (more on this saga next weekend). Thanks to the EXTRAORDINARY generosity of a dear friend (who wishes to remain anonymous
J), the burden of  purchasing  the fridge and stove has been greatly
lightened. It will take a long time to get back on budget, but at least this is
the season of plentiful vegetable boxes!!
    To end
off on a food note; everyone absolutely loved Nancy’s Rhubarb Cake, which was served yesterday morning as snack at PreCamp. 
Full credit is given to the
originator of the recipe in the title. YUM!!!!
                                              Virginia
Vandall-Walker’s Rhubarb Cake
1/2 cup margarine

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream or soured milk
1 tsp. baking soda
3 cups rhubarb
Topping:
 1/2
cup golden sugar
 1-2 tsp.
cinnamon
Cream margarine and sugar. Add egg,
vanilla, and sour cream/milk. Then add baking soda, flour and rhubarb. Spoon into
9 x 13” pan. Sprinkle with topping.

Bake at 350 F 45 to 60 minutes.