Saturday, August 2, 2014

Camp KIVU Doesn't Disappoint

I was a little worried Bran might have talked KIVU up too much for Hudson over the past year. But even with the week at camp flying by for them, and even with several favorite activities rained out, I’m realizing that it’s just not possible to over-build expectations for Camp KIVU. 

Corbin and I have been thrilled with the option of sending our boys to Camp KIVU in Durango, CO. Branson has often described last year as “the best week of his life.” Set beside the rambling Los Pinos river just east of Durango, KIVU’s scenery is breathtaking. The cabins and facilities are nicer than most camp’s I’ve seen, and the mountain activities are a draw with college kids guiding them: hiking up to Ice Lake, tubing and fly fishing on the Los Pinos river, extreme mountain biking, ropes courses, and white water rafting in the Animas river in Durango. 

Even more than all of that ~ it’s the people and staff that made the week so significant to Bran and Hud. This last week of KIVU has been dubbed “Man Camp,” and is only open to guys. All the girl staff skedaddles, and other than poor Morgan in the office, KIVU becomes an all-man....  Besides the manly activities, this year the staff made sure the boys knew how to shake hands, how to change a tire, and what happens when you catch a tire swing on fire and explode it into a television. Interestingly, meeting the kids at the end of camp, not all the boys are the super-duper-athlete-type you might expect at Man Camp. Boys of all shapes and sizes, probably all different athletic abilities attend. And in fact, one of the things Andy incorporates in the KIVU culture is for kids of all backgrounds and personalities to come and feel welcome and accepted. 

I was giddy all week just thinking of our boys experiencing KIVU. And after being there on campus to pick them up, hearing all the “man” stories, watching their videos and looking through pictures, I am assured that once again the financial investment and 14-hour drive to and from Durango was worth it. KIVU does not disappoint. 

In a nutshell, what I love most about KIVU, is that when we get our boys back, it’s like they’ve been through a cleanser and all of our cultural build-up is stripped away, exposing the real deal. They may be dirtier and a little scraped up on the outside, but their hearts and attitudes are noticeably clean and shinier on the inside. Something powerful about being in such a beautiful place as a constant visual of God’s creative gift in nature to us, and spending a week with counselors and staff who believe in them and remind them that biblical manhood is a preferable way of living.  

Grateful that Andy took another gamble on Man Camp. With our baseball commitments this summer, it wouldn’t have worked for Bran and Hud to make one of the regular two-week terms. Our boys are already signed up for next year, and they’re both trying to figure out how to get up there longer. Branson wants to go as a camper and work maintenance, and Hudson wants to go for two weeks and then Man Camp right after. Meanwhile, we’ll all get paper routes to support our KIVU addiction. 
Bran reuniting with Bryan
The entire Man Camp

Ice Lake

Bran, Hud and John
Little sisters
Wilsons and McCutchens
Cutie Hudda

Hud and John with their counselors 

As we learn more about KIVU, summer camping is just one piece of the puzzle. KIVU shapes lives all year round through their Gap Year program, retreats, and the Institute. Grateful for Andy and Jamie Jo's hard work and commitment to teenagers and families, and that we get to be a part. 

Until next year...