IMG_2220Best friends, exciting adventures, faith formation and leadership development are all part of outdoor ministry in Upstate New York.

Vanderkamp’s community farming project partners with area businesses to plant an acre of organic vegetables. Last year half were used in the camp kitchen and half donated to local food banks-more than 2,400 pounds of produce raised altogether-through campers and local volunteers!

Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center partners with the Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network (RAIHN-a ministry of temporary housing for homeless families) to send homeless youth to camp. Youth from RAIHN face violence, drugs, dropping out of school, and a lack of positive role models in their lives. Their camp experience can be life-changing. For example, two LCLC youth from RAIHN are now considering college.

In the Hudson-Mohawk Conference’s Confirmation camp, Luther’s Small Catechism appears atop Blue Mountain or in a kayak on Lake Pleasant as conference pastors, deacons and parents journey into the Adirondacks for an unforgettable week of instruction in the midst of God’s creation. At Senior High camp, young adults come together for a week of intense faith formation.

One former camper, now staff, writes: “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 I 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.”

Thanks to you, young people return from camp renewed in their faith, equipped with leadership skills and excited about the mission of the church.