Sunday, July 23, 2017

Happy Campers

I've blogged about our favorite camping spot several times before (see here and here).  So this year, I'll mostly let the photos speak for themselves.  As usual, we did lots of skiing, tubing, and canoeing and also played lots of board games and card games.  This year we also added paddleboarding (thanks, Aunt Ann, for letting us borrow yours!).  We also added a few members to our crew.  Joseph (Rebecca's boyfriend) and Derek (a friend of Caleb's) both joined in on the fun.

Also, a big treat for Terry was that most everyone was trying to learn to ski the course.  It's a dream-come-true for him!

 We got our favorite campsite (#70) again.
It rained a little the first two nights.  But otherwise it was low 80s during the day and low 60s at night.  Perfect!  Plus there was a full moon!

I always love the golden hour for making photos!

Love this photo of Rebecca!

One of the favorite campground activities is throwing an ax at this stump.  The boys have been attacking this same stump for over five years now!

There are lovely wildflowers growing all around, and it's legal to pick them in thisNational Forest Campground (just can't cut live trees or shrubs).  So I made a campground bouquet!

And for a really great ending to a camping trip, we had no flat tires!  

ESL Camp

A few years ago, I volunteered to help with a new ESL Camp our church was helping with.  I was teaching high school math to some girls from Iraq in burqas.  The attendees decided to quit coming after two weeks because Ramadan started.  I was a little deflated.

But our church has a second, well-established camp that has been going for years.  Since we are going to Greece this summer to help with refugees, I decided I needed to jump back in to helping refugees here in Knoxville.  Once again, this camp was during Ramadan.  But the Muslim kids just ignored the snacks and joined right in with everything else.

I really enjoyed hanging with these kids.  One boy in our group, Jackson, just beamed ALL THE TIME.  He was from Burundi.  We were trying not to be pushy with spiritual things, but Jackson wanted to share the gospel with me!  Next year I hope to be involved for the entire six weeks of camp.

As part of cultural acclimation, here the kids are learning to sing Rocky Top!

Here's my buddy, Jackson, playing a trust game.  Jackson is a Hutu, and his father was killed before his family fled from Africa.

Here they were making a poster contrasting their home culture and America.  Jackson painstakingly worked to make his USA flag as exact as possible.  He loves America - especially donuts!  All the boys in our group LOVE American food.  Who wouldn't?

During the Bible lesson, Issa (a guy from our church who grew up in Bethlehem as a Palestinian Christian) translates into Arabic:

And this girl who has been here a few years translated into Swahili:

All the kids this year spoke either Arabic or Swahili.  Some have been here a few months and some a few years.  I learned to use Google Translate, which is great practice for our upcoming trip to Greece.

Speech and Debate 2017

Noah had another successful year competing with NCFCA.  This group of people is really starting to feel like family.  We attended seven tournaments this year - four regional qualifiers (Hattiesburg, West Monroe, Birmingham and Cleveland), one national open (Asheville), one regional championship (Memphis), and one national championship (St. Paul).  Since each tournament takes at least three days not including travel time, that means we are at competitions about a month of every year.  Wow, now that I add it up no wonder the people seem like family!

Noah competed in four prepared speech categories (Illustrated Oratory, Open Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, and Original Interpretation).  He also competed in all three limited prep categories - Apologetics, Impromptu and Extemporaneous.  He also participated in Lincoln Douglas Debate - the topic this year was rehabilitation vs. retribution in the criminal justice system.  We were fortunate to have a coach for our debate team that was a homeschool mom but also a lawyer and former member of the counter terrorism unit of the FBI in NYC (I just had to include that because some people think most homeschool moms never finished college or majored in home economics).  I helped out with our local team by coaching Apologetics.  I really enjoyed it but was sort of glad I could prepare outlines without having to actually be judged on my delivery.

I took way too many photos to include them all.  I shared a lot on our Region VII FB page.  Here are some highlights.  If you want to watch Noah's speeches, you should jump to the bottom.  I highly recommend his DIY speech and his Duo, which is hilarious!

Most of our local team:

Noah and his duo partner, Jessica.

Noah waits to debate:

That awkward moment when you have to debate your Duo partner:

Noah judges the juniors:

Some cute juniors from our club:

50's-themed Regional Championship social in Memphis:

My Apologetics students won 1st and 2nd place at Regionals!

Noah wins 1st place in Illustrated Oratory:

Noah and Jessica win second place in Duo:

This meant that Noah qualified to give these two speeches at the National Championship at St. Paul, held at the campus of Northwestern University.

I never get tired of seeing Noah all dressed up:

Our three Guardian Club members that qualified for Nationals:

But it wasn't all about the suits and ties.  There were socials and sightseeing.


Minnehaha Falls:

Iconic artwork:  

Cathedral of St. Paul:

Lego version of St. Paul:

Capital of Minnesota:

And last but not least, the Mall of America:

Now for those speeches that he worked so hard on: