In my reflective trip through the storm of a few weeks ago, my thoughts turned to my times at Stanwell Tops Conference Centre (now called The Tops) as I drove past the road that one can take to it.
The first 'camp' I was really involved in there from a ministry point of view was organised by Paul Cameron, (I hope the link with his photo stays live, he's administrator for the Churches of Christ conference in VicTas...likes to use 'CEO' which I think is wrong term in a Christian mission) with the theme 'love'. Now, what a cracker of a theme for a couple of hundred 16 to, say 24 year olds!
Paul, true to form, brought it off very well. I was in my Calvinist phase then, and read a lot of nevertheless useful literature in prep for working with a small group. I think we went into areas that most people had not considered and it was a wonderful time with all that youthful depth, earnestness and attachment doing its usual job as we thought about grand ideas that we ourselves were only just touching.
At another camp, I and a couple of fellows new to my acquaintance stayed in a remote bunk room attached to a large and generally unused (and therefore unkempt) auditorium. Being a bunk room, we bunked off. But in a good cause.
The friend of one of the fellows had to get to Katoomba hospital to start her night shift. We all piled into his car some time after dinner and drove madly (not dangerously, but insistently and on a mission) to Katoomba. We arrived back after midnight! I felt like we were in Kerouac's On the Road but absent Sal Paradise's angst. Can't remember anything else about that particular camp, but the drive was an adventure.
These camps were great.
My most recent time at the Tops was an Interserve conference when I shared a room with some other fellows. One snored. Never again. But, it was good to see the place with my wife and smell the lovely bush scents.