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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, June 20, 2011

Camp II

Friday’s blog (which some of you will have received on Saturday) was all about camp, and pondered some of the possible reasons why people so look forward to going to camp or reunion year after year. I now have new information to share on that subject.

These new insights are a result of having spent a weekend at our new workshop for camp staff training; the Skills and Leadership Weekend conducted this year at Ziontario campgrounds. The workshop was attended by more than 60 people who varied in age from young teens just old enough to serve as LITs (leaders-in-training) to wise elders who were already directing camps before those teens were born or even thought of! Before a certain set of proud grandparents corrects me, let me hasten to add that there were also five “future campers” in attendance, one of whom is less than one year old.

The Skills and Leadership weekend is the brain-child of the CEM camping commission, which really seems to have found its footing now. The 2011 workshop included training for camp staff in such areas as conflict resolution, using Social Media appropriately, and group facilitation. There were also specialized classes for camp directors and business managers, pastors, and LITs. It was very gratifying to have so many attend this first effort at such a training event. It was very worthwhile.

At various points during the weekend there was opportunity for sharing and discussion, which is were the new information emerged about why people love the camps so much. The following are just a few comments that were shared.
*Camp was the first place that I ever felt safe.
*At camp, I was not afraid to be who I really was.
*Here people accept me just the way I am with all my faults.
*I didn’t miss a camp for 17 years, and then I wasn’t able to go for a few years. I really missed it and am so excited to be back.
*I brought a friend last year who had no prior relationship with God. She loved the church services and told me she had never felt this feeling before in her whole life.
Camp: a place of safety and acceptance, a place that is a spiritual home to many, a place to find God; In short, camp is a Community of Christ. No wonder people love going to camp so much. It is a truly amazing and life-changing experience as the testimonies quoted above indicate.

In follow up to Friday’s impromptu invitation, I have been away all weekend but I am already aware that at least one person has indicated a willingness to pay for a kid whose parents cannot afford to send them to camp. I wish to express my deep appreciation for her spirit of generosity and love. Perhaps you also are considering such a gift. If so, there is still time and we would love to hear from you.

May God’s Spirit richly bless you as you remember camps gone by and look forward to those yet to come.

Posted by Carman


  1. I'm always impressed by the genuine expressions and testimonies of our campers. The leaders and staff and the cmapers, exhibit the spirit of true community (family) complete with trust and acceptance. We as a church must work diligently with those leaders and campers to bring that same trust and acceptance back to their home cogregations. It will be then that we will grow and attract others from the communities of our lives into our faith community. We are generally hospitable and accepting, but not in the way we "morph" when we go to camp. Let's have a "Skills and Leadership" class for the rest of the year.


  2. Interesting thoughts Mel. Camping has some advantages for community building. We all come to a neutral site and then live together for a week. Somehow we grow close. Why is it harder to do that in a congregation?

    I think your congregation has worked harder at it and been more successful than most, so keep working at it. Each of us needs to learn how to do this.


  3. I've often had a very sad feeling as I listen to heartfelt expressions at the end of reunion or camp as people share how they must now wait another year to experience this sense of closeness and community that they are enjoying at camp.

    Even this post gave me that sense that something must be wrong if camp is just so great that we live from year to year in anticipation. Must a camping community be so unique? And what of us "un-campers"? How can we get some of this of which you speak?

  4. Somehow this discussion should proceed at the congregational level, how do we bring this spirit, this atmosphere into our congregations, for all of us, especially us non-campers. I agree very much with Marion's comments and I feel this ought to be a priority in our onward journey, or it will remain a once a year experience for campers only.

    Mel Mills


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