No this is not my darling oldest returning from camp, but setting out on a new adventure a mere 8 hours after returning from camp. A new gut-wrenching adventure. An adventure that I have debated all summer long. I have interviewed people and worried and wondered and supposed.
This picture is Erika joining the youth group. She is now officially in the youth group as a middle schooler. (All that stuff is for a Back-to-school lock-in) I talked to a few people regarding this decision and then came out with a different one. They waited until 7th grade. I chose not to. Many factors weigh in, but one just kept hitting me in the face more than any other. She needs it. She needs to get out there and make an identity for herself. She needs to be the oldest child and everyone know it, not assume her little sister is because she is taller. She needs to let people see who she is.
She thrived at camp. She earned every badge which earned her The Outdoorsman Award, the highest honor in this system of camps. I am so proud. I did not earn it when I went there. Erik did, but it took him two(or 3, I can't remember) years. Approximately 950 out of 6000 earn it. I had already made up my mind that we would give youth group a trial run, but then I felt her camp success was an affimation that it was the right decision. It is still a privilege that could be revoked easily. She knows it is dependent, not automatic. I am hoping she takes it serious, learns from wonderful teachers and begins emerging into the wonderful christian young lady God wants her to be.