The other day we had Church board meeting, but before we tackled the current issues, we discussed the camp. All of us present were in the camp, so we got to share our experiences as counselors, admin team, music team, and director.

At one point, we started discussing the various names for the teams that kids proposed. There were rather random ones that weren’t chosen, like “Happyย Mattresses” or “Skulls,” and there were actual ones, like “Pirates” and my team called “Phoenix.”

My pastor finally stopped bugging me about my love for Harry Potter series, yet I know that he still doesn’t like it. No one, except me, has read any HP books so their view of them is rather biased by the comments of different people (mostly those who oppose the series yet never read them).

At first they did not like the Pirates name. Then they switched to Phoenix.

“What kind of a name is Phoenix? It’s a pagan symbol.”

I groaned. “Phoenix has been used in Christianity for centuries as a Resurrection bird, i.e. a symbol of Christ.”

They looked surprised, but didn’t let go.


“Duh, it dies and it rises from the ashes. There are tons of lessons to be learned from that bird if we only explain it to kids. And I did take time to discuss that with my boys.”

“But it isn’t a Christian symbol.”


I was getting really frustrated because Harry Potter and its opposition has been a very sore subject for me for years. “There is a lot in Christianity itself that isn’t Christian.”

UGH! Why won’t people get it? Why are they so freakin’ afraid? Just read one book and you’ll see what I’ve been trying to tell all along. Is it because of the magic? Well, then one needs to define magic – because Aslan used it too and so far no one really questioned Aslan’s creation of the world with a song (magic spell?). Harry Potter has been a scapegoat for far too long.

Besides, [and this is mostly for those who are familiar with Orthodox Christianity in CIS], I don’t hear a lot of people discussing HALF of the Orthodox holidays and their roots! Those are okay, right? Just because you get to celebrate that at Church makes it right? What the heck? I can name two holidays which have the tradition of the paganism, blatant paganism. Yet no one cares! It’s a Church-approved thing.

Sorry for ranting, this indeed is a sore subject. Especially when my team’s name was criticized… for nothing. Just because I took something that is deemed “wrong” by some people and used it for the good.


I would rather have the name Phoenix, a name that I can discuss with my kids and use it for the lessons, instead of something “nice and neutral” like “Happy Mattresses” which would be just a name for the team but without any context.

If you’ve ever been to a camp (as a counselor or a “kid”), what was the most memorable team name for you?

  • Teri

    My favorite name for our team was the MIghty Ducks. I was in 8th grade and we made up a song and everything that went to the tune of "Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In." It was great. I was living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time. Those were great years. Thanks for helping me remember it.

    • cool ๐Ÿ™‚ I once had a team that also was named Mighty Ducks… I think that was way back, in like, 2001 or 2002… in the previous camp, we and the kiddos watched the Mighty Ducks movie together, so when it was time for the next camp, they all wanted to be Mighty Ducks ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Never been to camp as a counselor or a kid…or not one that had team names anyway. I was just thinking, you know LOTR's? A lot of christians liked that movie/books and there was plenty of dark things in it and magic too. I don't get it. it's just a book people! I have a friend that doesn't let her kids watch anything with magic in it. Apparently that will make them follow satan. I don't get it. Good vs. Evil people. When kids see that good wins over evil, I don't really see what bad that is teaching. Easter is pagan…the word Easter actually comes from the pagan God Ashtoreth or Aster which was the goddess of fertility. Sorry Zee. That sucks.
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  • I was trying to finish, but the box wouldn't go down so I could not see what I was writing. Anyway, I was going to say that plenty of Christians celebrate the Easter bunny (bunnies were a sign of fertility). I actually think that is kind of sick to let your kids believe in a Easter bunny knowing full well it comes from a pagan God, Aster. Geez.
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    • Heh… to be honest, i'd rather have bunnies than the Paskha (that's the Russian name for Easter, it sounds similar to the Peisakh, the Hebrew name for the Passover) bread that we've got… the name's all nice and pretty, but the meaning… hehehe. I had to laugh this Easter because turned out my mom never really thought about the origins of the bread…

      Re: LOTR – there was a fun story connected with that… one time, back in 2004, i was working with a Work&Witness team down by the sea of Azov. I was the interpreter and we were building a Church in one of the cities. Well, one time the team and i went to the market and i saw this cool LOTR poster with a calendar. I got it and then when we came to Church, i left it on the kitchen table. A couple of hours later, pastor's wife starts asking everyone whose it is. I, not suspecting anything, raised my hand "Mine." (By that time, my mom and I were in complete agreement as to the fact that she trusts me and that i can read anything i want).

      "WHAT?! How can you have something evil like that in the Church!? All these demons and other monsters!"

      I shrugged and took the poster home (I still have it on one of my wardrobes)… Later, when i shared the experience with mom turned out the pastor in that Church and his wife don't let their kids read anything except Christian literature. Not even the stuff assigned at school, since there might be evil evil evil things there. O_O That is plain dumb, if you ask me. But yeah… it was fun to explain to the team why i got yelled at ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Seems to me like Phoenix would be a better name for a team than Happy Mattresses. Do I really need to say what that conjures up in my head? I can see what a group of boys might be thinking. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I have never read HP but only because it is not my style of reading. But I have read Narnia and love LOTR. People need to get a life.
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    • what does it conjure up? ๐Ÿ˜€ (i have a suspicion))))

      re: people need to get a life – yep. agree.

  • Michael Nicholls

    A couple months ago we had a HP movie marathon weekend here in Musoma, Tanzania. That's what Wycliffe missionaries do in their spare time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Btw, Swahili uses "Pasaka" for Easter, and it's a problem because they don't really distinguish between Passover and Easter. Now that we're translating the Bible into local languages, we're finding that when Jesus celebrates the "Pasaka" with his disciples, he's celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus. Hmmm………. how do you say "anachronism" in Swahili?

    • hey Michael, good to see you here ๐Ÿ™‚

      hmm… Swahili "Pasaka" really sounds like the Russian "Paskha" – funny how the languages can be different, yet some of the words are similar.

      well, that's what the Lord's Supper represented – so technically, Jesus and his disciples DID celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus… the question would rather be – what were the other Jews celebrating? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Michael Nicholls

    That's like a double reverse anachronism. Or perhaps they're just way ahead of us….

    • well, they had quite a lot of prophets in the history ๐Ÿ˜€ so, i guess it's in their blood ๐Ÿ˜€

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