Saturday, September 24, 2011

Well the Fall Jamboree for 2011 is over and done!  We could not have asked for a better Fall day and we had plenty of folks that came to help.  Let me just start out by thanking those who made this day possible.  Chasing The Light from First Baptist Gurley were the first group to sing and they sounded great.  I overheard several say how much they enjoyed their group.  These are a great bunch of folks we got to know during our time spent at Gurley.  Norman is very talented and has put together a great sounding praise team there. 

Next I would like to give a shout-out to one of the new church starts in our association Ignite City Church.  This group, led by Pastor Robert Ekis, is very excited about reaching our younger generation and they have such a serving heart.  We were so thankful to have them out to help with events and then serve the food. 

Chris Crutcher brought a group from Lighthouse Baptist Church out to help us with the games and events as well, and they did such a fine job.  Chris is really committed to growing the youth program out there in Toney and is making some great progress.  Their pastor, Randy Watts, also came out to support the camp.  He is a dear friend and we go way back. 

Pastor Charles Miller from Owens Crossroads Baptist also came out and brought his wife and grandkids to enjoy the festivities and even do a little fishing.  Brother Charles is a regular to the camp and has been one of our biggest supporters.

 As always, my buddies from the Fire Department were a tremendous help.  Derrick Stuckey let me borrow his Gator for the day and let me tell you it was such a help.  I would love to have one of those up here all the time.  Retired fireman Malcolm Davis brought his two Gators and trailer to help with the parking and I don't really know what we would have done without his help. John McNeal, and his lovely wife Annette, made themselves available to do whatever, whenever.  John brought his trailer up and we used it for the hay rides.  John and Annette and dear friends, and their assistance -- both on the day of the Jamboree and in the days leading up to it -- was invaluable.

 Pat Merchant, a great friend of mine, and the Flint River Praise Team did a outstanding job.  They were our second group to sing out here, and I knew they would be fabulous.  You can always expect to get quality from whatever Pat is involved in.  

I want to thank my whole family including my wife Denise, daughter Jocelyn, son James, daughter-in-law Kim, and son-in-law Jason for giving up part of their Saturday to help out with the Jamboree.  Jason agreed to take pictures and video for the day and he got some great shots; he is multi-talented and always ready to help out. 

New Market BBQ gave us a great rate on the food and it tasted very good too -- lots of folks wanted to know where the food came from.  I hope to continue this partnership in the future. 

The door prizes were great this year as well.  Two Friends, Lowes, Dicks Sporting Goods, Wilsons Lumber, Kaleido Scoops and some individuals donated some wonderful gifts. 

In the Lawnmower Race this year the four churches represented were New Market Baptist, Ignite City Church, Flint River and First Baptist Gurley.  Last year Brother Don Shultz, after getting off to a slow start, managed to pull away from everyone the last 100 yards or so to win going away.  This year was a different story.  Julia from Ignite drove with reckless abandon as she took a commanding lead coming down the first hill.  There was some jockeying back and forth between the rest until Brother Don begin to make his move coming up the hill in the last 50 yards. Julia had the race won but a couple of rookie mistakes cost her dearly.  As Don pulled out to pass her in the last 20 yards if she would have blocked him it would have been all over but she didn't.  Still they were side by side and as they were within 5 feet of the finish line Julia stood up on the mower and reached for the finish line tape not knowing the mower would cut off and Brother Don won by an eyelash! 

We appreciate Camp MACOBA board members  Chris Wilson for coming out to support us and Sam Kelly who is responsible for the great new signs we have.  As busy as Wells Johnson is he was able to come out for a little while and we are so thankful for his donation to the camp and everyone else who contributed as well.

Whew.  Good thing there's a whole year to go before the next Jamboree!

Monday, September 12, 2011

ALERT Cadet Alabama 3rd Alpha

This past weekend we had the Alert Cadet Squad up at the camp.  I believe when the numbers finally came in there were a total of 12.  Vernon and his two boys were the first to arrive on Thursday afternoon and quickly set up camp.  He was the head man or 'General' for this particular outing and definitely an experienced camper.  I got this directly from their website, "The vision of the ALERT Cadet program is to “turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and to assist fathers in winning and keeping the hearts of their 8-17 year-old sons.” 

ALERT stands for Air Land Emergency Resource Team.  Vernon had been to the camp before and we communicated via e-mail several times during the week.  He wanted to know if there was any particular project they could help us with while they were here and just so happened I had a couple !  Now he had a schedule already made out from the time they arrived until their depature which was Saturday at noon. 

Thursday, I took him around on Easy and pointed out a couple of problem areas that could use some clean-up.  Several of the guys brought tools and equipment and made quick work of these tasks.  They did a great job, we could really use more groups like them. 
They did some hiking and some specific projects related to ALERT as well.  They could not have picked a better weekend as the night temps were in the 50's and days hovered around the high 70's.  I asked if they had any encounters with critters and one of the guys said they thought there was a situation that envolved a large snake...only to later find our it was one of those sneeky black belts that get loose occasionally and coil up somehow. 
I also received a call early in the afternoon on Saturday about a lost shoe from one of the boys.....well it seems that maybe it had actually been hidden.  Mom put her son on the phone and he told me right where it was so I went and retrieved it.  This is not the first time a shoe had coming up missing here at the camp.  All in all I think they enjoyed themselves and we enjoyed having them.  We definitely look forward to future outings from the ALERT Cadet Group. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lighthouse Youth Retreat

The weather was gorgeous this past Labor Day weekend and stayed that way just long enough for the youth from Lighthouse Baptist Church, in Toney, to enjoy their three-day retreat. The festivities started Friday evening. The group -- about thirty, total -- came in and got their tents sent up pronto, while a few headed down to the pavilion to cook up a spaghetti dinner.

For the most part, it looked like a fairly experienced camping group. The tents went up without a problem and campfires were started. Not even the girls were bothered (too much) by the idea of "roughing it" for the long weekend! Although I did hear that on that first night, one of the adult chaperones did sleep in their car -- with a box fan anchored in the window.

Chris, the event organizer/leader had set the schedule up very nicely -- there was group devotional and study time, but he also gave them plenty of time to explore the 103 acres up here. And they did! I heard tales of youth wading Hidden Creek, playing down in Crawdad Creek, walking the trails, and fishing down at Serenity Pond. They were everywhere! And it was great to hear the woods of Camp MACOBA filled with the happy sounds of youth.

They did have their serious moments -- and the pavilion provided the perfect place for those times. As you can see, they had quite a sound setup!

Of course, they also did some serious eating -- between Brian and Dena (two of the parent/chaperones) this group was one of the best fed I've ever seen! I was happy to receive (and accept) dinner invitations to both their Friday and Saturday meals. Mmmm, mmmm good!

Sunday morning, first thing (before breakfast even), all those tents came down lickety-split. There was rain coming in, and they wanted to be packed and ready before the downpour started. They did a great job cleaning up, too. The camp looked terrific. And yes, the rain did come -- in fact, we had another group scheduled to be up here Sunday afternoon into Monday that got rained out.

Every weekend in September is booked up here, as well as three weekends in October, two in November, and even two in December! We're looking forward to seeing everyone.

Catching Up...and Gearing Up !

Now while summer has officially come to and end I am sure there are still some hot days ahead. For the last three weeks we have not gotten any rain and that may be the only time that has happened this summer. Today however we are getting rain all day, and tomorrow as well. The break from the temperatures is nice. I would say this has been an unusual year for the Camp but since we have only been up here a couple of years I am not sure what normal is.

Bethlehem Baptist from Lacy's Spring was scheduled to come up here for the last part of the weekend but the weather has caused them to reschedule. I had a call early in the summer about the possibility of a fall wedding up here...we will see how that pans out. Our first Kid's Camp was called off because of the extreme heat as well as a few other groups who planned to come up during the high temps as well. For about a month or two it was quiet up here.....we did manage to get some work done.

I took some pictures during the summer of some interesting flowers/plants in MACOBA land. The one above was in the lower field not far from the woods. Not sure what it is but it certainly caught my eye one day as I was walking.

These were coming out of the edge of some moss as you can see. One day as I took Easy down to explore the "secret creek" these little dainty flowers were everywhere. They seemed to bloom out overnight as I was just down there the day before.

I caught sight of these one day right next to the main road. Like many others they were not all over the place but only a few here and there. While there are no sign of them now they were very noticeable at the time.

One day as I was coming around the back side of the pavilion this bright orange thing was sticking out like a neon sign. I am sure it is some kind of fungus and very pretty.

The wood azaleas are aways pleasant to look at and are sprinkled all throughout the camp in the early part of the spring. The blooms don't last very long but they sure brighten up the place while they are here.

I wanted to include this unusual flower that also was near the pavilion. I nearly stepped on this one as I was headed over to get on the lawnmower one day.

This year we are going all out for the second annual "Fall Jamboree". We have rented space on an digital billboard located on University drive just past Jeff road. If you are coming into Huntsville it is on the left right before you get to Jeff road. Plans are to talk with a reporter from channel 31 about a spot for the camp. New Market BBQ will be providing our lunch this year and we have changed some and expanded the activities for our big day.

We will still have our church lawnmower race which was a big hit last year. The kids will enjoy several activities including an inflatable jumping house. For more up to date details see our Facebook page or visit the website at