By Rev. Jim Slater, St. Luke's and Emanuel Lutheran Churches, Valatie, NY
Conference camping programs are getting in gear for this coming summer. In the Hudson/Mohawk Conference, a week of camp is offered for Senior High youth and for Confirmation aged youth. Senior High Camp will be held June 24-29 at Syke Farm, a camp of the United Methodist Church located near Warrensburg, NY. Those who have completed 9th-12th grades at the end of this school year may register with Pastor Jim Slater (firstname.lastname@example.org). Confirmation Camp, generally serving 6th-8th graders will be held the following week (July 1-7) at Camp Fowler, a ministry of the Reformed Church located near Speculator.
Post-graduates are able to apply for staff positions at Senior High camp and are asked to reflect on the meaning of their camp experiences in the faith life. Here are some responses:
I have been through a lot of difficulties. Because of this, I have had struggles with my relationship with God. Even though I have had my problems, God has always helped me get through. I hope camp can have the same impact on a camper's life that it had on mine.
I am continuously questioning what spirituality is, and what role religion plays in my personal spirituality and my growth as a human being. Each year I learn things from the campers and the staff at camp that are like big leaps ahead in my otherwise steady path of spiritual understanding. They're really kind of amazing.
I have been partaking in camp ever since the first year of confirmation camp. I've met people from all different backgrounds who have shared their life events with me and have shared mine with them. I have been through a lot in my life and camp has grounded me each year, giving me a place to recharge, surrounded by a spiritual, judgment-free zone. My faith throughout the year tends to dwindle based on things that happen to me and around me, but is always refocused upon my return to camp each year.
Attending a public school means that Jesus is never brought into the school setting. Because of this, it was easy to detach myself from God during the school year. Camp, however, was my jetpack back to God. During the week of camp I was able to let my school stresses aside and let the atmosphere and people around me reestablish my relationship with God.
Sounds like some great reasons to make camp part of your faith experience!
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