• Manderson

Born to Burst: The Camp Bubble


We all have those times when we try desperately to describe or explain an experience. We struggle to find the words. Maybe we wave our hands around as if to act out a feeling or an event, only to leave an expression of utter confusion on the face of the person listening. All too often, this ritual concludes with the time-honored mantra of the conversational defeatist:

“Well, I guess you had to be there.”

Anyone who has ever spent time at Special Friends Camp knows this phenomenon. It’s called the “Camp Bubble.” It’s hard to describe in words, but unmistakable when it has been experienced. Now, I will struggle to describe it. Please Enjoy.

So, for starters, let me get this out of the way: You have to be there!

For a two-week period, our camp staffers learn to endure a “digital hiatus” from their social media. Rather than holding a screen that makes them unable to see beyond an arm’s length, they find an appreciation for immersing themselves in the lives of the friends they have within arm’s length. This mutual commitment to be present and in the moment builds bonds and fosters a community of friendship and accountability among the counselor staff and the campers alike. Un-burdened by our companion screens and live-feeds, Special Friends Camp is an immersive community of very special individuals that can only be truly understood when experienced in real time.

As one who has been in the bubble many times, I always look forward to the camp bubble.

Now, I’m no scientist. I’ve never even played one on TV. But I am a guy who likes to draw analogies and wax a little philosophical from time to time. So, without any actual scientific knowledge to back up this claim, I’m going to use only my personal observations to say that bubbles, by their nature, are temporary. Why should the camp bubble be any different? It is going to burst.

I am guilty of wishing the bubble would never burst.

Although this is sad news, it isn’t bad news. You see, bubbles burst because of the pressure exerted by the things inside them. It’s not outside pressure that makes them burst. Bubbles reach a point where they can no longer contain what is inside. They are born to burst. When the camp bubble bursts, that’s when our camp “community” is released to impact the greater community for greater good. So, even when you are unable to adequately explain what you’ve experienced while you were in the bubble, and even when you are wishing you could be back in the bubble, trust that you still are having an impact in your schools, your homes, your churches, and your families.


Do you know the CAMP BUBBLE? Share your “had to be there” moment in the comments!



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