Something For Everyone. Everything Is Optional. - Sandy Cove Ministries
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    Sandy Cove Blog

    It was to be the perfect family photo. There we were after a good hike up to the top of Telegraph Peak outside of Yuma, AZ. I’m wearing my khaki "dad" cargo shorts; there’s Caleb with his shy smile, my wife, Evelyn, with her "mom" sunglasses, and then . . . what in the world is going on with TJ?

    TJ has always had a contentious relationship with cameras—either avoiding them entirely, or if forced to be in a photo, expressing himself “creatively” enough that it is tempting to just leave him out of it next time.

    Of course, I am secretly proud of this family picture, because I think it is a direct result of TJ reading our entire anthology of Calvin and Hobbes (Which is clearly good parenting, right?). Also, because I think it's funny and highlights the uniqueness that is TJ. The same kid who hasn’t worn long pants to school in three years, who rocks basketball shorts and knee-high mismatched argyle socks in the rain, snow, and sun. Caleb, my other son, is a little more under the radar, but if you ever see a nice young man wearing one blue shoe and one orange shoe, it is probably him.

    My kids are unique, and I’m sure yours are too, which is great! Until it isn’t. Like at dinner time, when you are trying to feed your family over the objections and opinions each person brings to the table. One likes French fries. The other likes mashed potatoes all the way. One can’t tolerate tuna. The other can live off it. And one discovered a tiny blood vessel in a piece of chicken once, and now says he wants to be vegan, though he is perfectly willing to eat shrimp and loves to pick crab! GAAHH!!

    At Sandy Cove, we try to keep all this in mind when planning Family Camp—not only in the dining room where there are lots of choices (If your kid wants to pioneer “The All Crouton Diet,” I say go for it.), but also in how we plan and schedule all the events and activities.

    Two of our programming ideals are “something for everyone” and “everything is optional.”

    It’s why we have pony rides, the moon bounce, and pedal carts for the littles; the rock wall, gaga pit, and the cargo net for middle kids; and the big swing and zip line for teenagers. Plus, we offer camp classics like swimming, canoeing, fishing, and archery. There's always mini golf, shuffleboard, and crafts for slow paced fun; and the blob, wavecutter, and tubing for a little more intensity. There's stuff you can’t do at home like Archery Tag and log rolling (That’s right. I said log rolling. It’s new for this summer, and I can’t wait to try it!) We play sports like volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, and disc golf. If sports aren't your cup of tea, grab a cup of tea (or coffee), a book, and find a chair overlooking the bay. Take a nap. Go on a walk. Or go fly a kite (Yes, I went there.).

    So, bring us your unique children, your family whose interests are all over the map, even those who have forgotten that fun can be had off screen. Let’s make some memories, and take some imperfect pictures!

    Nate Ransil
    Nate joined the Program department at Sandy Cove in 2003, and transitioned to director of that team in 2014. Nate graduated from Houghton College with a double major in Communication and Outdoor Recreation (yes, it is a thing) and got to know his wife Evelyn while co-leading backpacking trips for at-risk youth. Hopefully not as at-risk are their two sons, Caleb and TJ, who have spent all their summers at Sandy Cove, Camp Sandy Cove, and The MARSH! Nate enjoys being outside, being inside, being handy, the beach, snowboarding, roller coasters, training aardvarks, bodybuilding, contributing to quantum theory, and making up fanciful, if not entirely accurate, biographical details.