Mom and April recently rejoined the church I was raised in. A lot has changed at Villa Heights Baptist Church over the years. In fact, it's been over 10 years since I was a member there myself. While I was in Roanoke, Mom asked me to go with them to visit the old church.
As I said, a lot has changed. There is a new sanctuary built onto the old building. Entering into the new part, there's not much that can be recognized. But then I crossed over into the old rooms. It was then that a lot of memories came flooding in.
It's hard to narrow this down to just one memory. I'm sitting here writing this and am finding it difficult to put things into words. First and foremost would be my involvement in choir. I've pretty much been singing for as long as I've been able to form words. As soon as I was able to, the parents had me in the children's choir. That would probably be around age three. Every Christmas and spring, the choirs would have a concert in which every kid would sing a solo, whether they could sing or not. Those concerts ran pretty long.
After third grade, I was finally old enough to go to children's camp at Ward Haven. If you're not a member of a Baptist church in the Roanoke area, you're probably not aware that such a place exists. Ward Haven is where the church would have huge picnics and retreats. The place had several bunk houses, a huge picnic shelter, a basketball court, a baseball field, and I'm pretty sure a hiking trail. I usually got homesick during camp. It really shouldn't have been a big deal, camp was only about 15 minutes away from home.
Then came youth group. By then I had stopped getting homesick. This opened all kinds of doors. Lock-ins, Super Week, umm... lock-ins... I don't know. Super Week was the older kids' version of camp. For the first few years I went (and for a long time before that), Super Week was held at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia. Sure it was fun, but being at a military academy seemed a little oppressive. I could get into more Super Week stuff, but I'll save that for when I went with a different church. Or, you know, when I get to the point in these life stories that I'm actually old enough to attend Super Week.