The Boys in the Band

by Annie Stillar

I first went to camp in 1992, the summer before starting 2nd grade. I didn’t know much at seven years old, but I knew camp was all about status. The 6th graders ruled the roost and everyone wanted to be them. They stayed up late, wore the latest fashions and never failed cabin inspection. By contrast, mine was publicly shamed for “looking like a bomb went off,” which I had nothing to do with. Where I come from you pick up your crap. (Except we weren’t allowed to say crap — it was “what belongs to you,” Years later, when my mother was hanging onto the last shred of resolve she had at keeping a swear jar, her children decided if we were going to pay for it anyway, may as well make it worth everyone’s while. Which is my way of saying we’ve long since graduated from “crap.”)

Acts of God

by Sarah Glady

My camp burned down the year I moved back to Arizona. I hadn’t been there since I was eighteen, but it burned anyway, ignorant of my intentions to return.
I went to Montlure for ten years, and my earliest experiences with identity, love, the search for purpose, and independence all are housed within the boundaries of that space.

Uncovering Shame

by Lani Caraway

I am thirty-four years old. I have birthed two children and bested cancer. I live in a body wracked with pain and plagued by numbness. Stretch-marks, scars, and bruises color my skin. I carry stories, songs, dreams, and a dormant tumor. Within me is both life and death. Both shame and grace. Tears and joy. My faith has given me many things beautiful and mysterious, but because churches are made up of flawed humans living in a broken world, it’s also given me heart-deep wounds that are still struggling to heal.

Purify My Heart, Among Other Things

by Ana Quiring

During the summer, we would sit on the diving board and have restrained but fraught conversations about which was better: Calvin Crest Christian Camps or Sugar Pine Christian Camps. Actual differences between them were mostly lost to us: Elizabeth and Chelsie, delivered there annually by their manicured Presbyterian church youth group, championed Calvin Crest with a kind of dutiful belief

Going South

by Jo-Anne Cappeluti

The last time I went to church camp was the summer I was 15 (almost 50 years ago). I anticipated the most far out week, but it turned out more like that Spike Jones song about Camp Granada, performed by Allan Sherman: something about having fun if it stops raining. The highlight occurred on the way home. Our bus broke down. We were stranded in the middle of nowhere, somewhere south of Fresno.

These Bodies, This Table

by Jonathan Hiskes

I heard Edward speak only two times. The first time he wailed like a ghost.

To be honest, he looked the part too: Pale eyes, moonlight skin, receding silver hair. He cinched his belt up near his armpits and wobbled as he walked. The rumor was that he might make a sound like a spooky apparition if asked at the right time.

So, on a sandy forest trail on a summer afternoon, I asked him. He paused, saw that he had our attention, and issued a faint, quavering moan: Oooooohhhhh. His first audible sound in two days. He showed the slightest hint of a smile, as if playing along with a joke.