by Brooke C. Nelson
“Do you want to go puddle jumping?” ske asked.
“What? No. It’s raining, really cold, and I’m in nice clothes. I also need to do some homework.”
“Okay…” She walked away.
Immediately my mind began processing the interaction. Getting cold and wet would be extremely uncomfortable on this rainy December evening; however, my friend is my “adventure buddy” who always encourages me to do something out of my norm. Saying no to her felt like saying no to an adventure- not because it was some crazy idea that required months of training, money, and commitment, but because it was saying no to something I would not normally do.
But it will be cold. Yes, it will… But you have a nice, warm place to come back to.
But I don’t have the proper clothing. No… but you could borrow from your friend.
But I have homework. Yes, yes indeed. But you always will have homework and taking a break will help you focus later.
Back and forth my mind went. I wanted to say yes, but I was was not sure I should.
When she walked back into the room I looked at her and said, “Let’s go puddle jumping.” As she was beaming with joy, jumping around the room, and rummaging for extra clothes for me, I realized her excitement and joy were contagious, like an irresistible pull. So when we walked outside in our t-shirts, shorts, and boots, we were all smiles, happiness, and some shivers.
She and I froliced around the yard finding big puddles, little puddles, deep puddles, and muddy puddles for the next forty-five minutes. When we got quite cold, we started running around to get the blood flowing and forgot the cold for a few minutes. As water fell from the sky, we kicked puddles at each other until I realized she was much more accurate and I was getting the raw end of the deal! In short: it was a wonderful experience because I was making memories with my friend despite the initial hesitations, fears, and excuses.
Now, what does this have to do with Camp Infinity? When you ask your child about going to a science, technology, engineering, and math camp, what do they say? Maybe “it doesn’t sound fun” or “I don’t fit in with that group” or “I’m not smart enough.” Perhaps it is “that’s scary” or “those aren’t my hobbies.” These are legitimate reasons to hesitate about Camp Infinity, but they might not be legitimate reasons not to come. The reasons I gave myself for not puddle jumping were valid and needed to be addressed, but if they had kept me inside I would have missed out on the joy of discovery, the blessings of friendship, and the fun of experiencing life. That is the connection to Camp Infinity- STEM camp is like puddle jumping and we are inviting you to join us! If your initial thought is “No way!” I want you to take a moment and really ask yourself “why not?”
I specifically want to challenge girls in this regard. I am a woman who loves Physics and all things science and I have experienced how grossly outnumbered we are in the STEM world. God created women with unique skills and purpose in life, but that does not exclude STEM. God created this world in such a way that as we learn, discover, find patterns, and understand, His mysteries will not lessen but rather increase. As we pursue STEM, we can respond in worship and share His glory with others! This, by no means, is reserved for the males around us!
I am not writing this post to convince every girl to pursue a STEM career, but I am writing to encourage every girl to step out of her normal comfort zone into a place where she will be challenged, make friends, and learn more about her Creator and Redeemer. This post is also for the guys out there who are nervous or unsure about camp. Take a risk! I think you might be surprised to find some puddles good for jumping! (and a zipline!)
Brooke C Nelson has been a counselor and program manager at Camp Infinity. She’s a graduate of Pacific University with a BS in physics and outdoor leadership and MA in Teaching. She loves inspiring girls to consider learning STEM. Brooke was the first Ci counselor to do a summer internship at Answers in Genesis.