Youth Peace Travel Team – Camp Ithiel

IMG_8428.edited Greetings! This past week we had an amazing time at Camp Ithiel in fellowship with Junior High Camp! We were able to refresh from the hot sun with a trip to Twisty Treat with some of the support staff. Again, we were amazed by the youth’s insights during our justice workshops. It was awesome to have a session with each small group and dive deep into our curriculum.

This past week at Camp Ithiel was a blast – full of love-filled conversations about faith, enthusiastic singing, and lots of sun! Because the majority of the campers and staff at Ithiel are not members of the Church of the Brethren, I was less accustomed to the spiritual practices and theological language used. Although I am often quick to share my own thoughts and opinions, this week I spent deliberately practicing open listening. It saddens me to think how easily I could have missed the many blessings that were shared with me this week. The counselors, staff, and campers modeled for me a core element of spirituality that I had no idea I was completely ignoring: surrender. In songs, they lifted their hand over their heads in surrender to the powerful emotion of sharing together in worship and the presence of the spirit in that place. In prayer, they would surrender their tongues to a fervent plea for grace for those with whom they stood. When playing camp games, they would surrender themselves to the joy and laughter of the moment, running full-tilt. Individuals modeled the importance of surrender as they told stories of their own faith journeys during which they placed all faith in God and continued on, often in a new unexpected direction. Now I would say that I am an absolute novice in the area of surrender, but boy did this family in faith inspire me to give it more practice. I hope to practice being more present and surrender myself to my emotions during worship. I also hope to quiet my own thought more often to surrender myself to the wisdom of those around me.
Blessings and peace,
Sara

Howdy!
What a wonderful week once again! Camp Ithiel is such a beautiful camp; it was so hard to leave! This week I was amazed by the depth of the youth’s faith, and by how much they yearned to grow deeper in their connection with Christ. Also, the connections being made with counselors and staff are still awesome. They push me to think deeper about my faith, my choices, and my journey. I was really able to open up – even though it typically is a challenge for me.

The campers this week were so awesomely energetic, and they were able to share their energy with me. They shared stories of their lives so gratefully and truly opened up to us. Finally, I appreciated the time I spent with them outside of our sessions, hearing about what life is like in hot and humid Florida, and learning a little bit of Creole.
Peace, Love, and Palm Trees,
Jenna

Hey y’all! One more superb week has passed us by, and I have to say, I’m more than a little sad to leave. Despite the heat, Camp Ithiel was so much fun. My week was only slightly interrupted with some illness, but the campers and staff brought so much prayer and compassion to me during it. I was beyond humbled to experience their love for me, even when they had only known me a few days.

My favorite part of the week was our last session, which ended up being an open-ended “ask and talk” hour. Some of our most meaningful conversations seem to happen during the unstructured times, and I’m so grateful for those moments. In addition to our sessions, another favorite part of my time there was when YPTT got to take a short adventure to the beach! I’m a sucker for the ocean and I loved having some fun family time with the team.

The campers this week were so joyful and energetic, and the staff were incredibly engaged with their campers. Ithiel’s staff had so many gifts, and I continually saw encouragement and inspiration flowing through these counselors to the children. I was again humbled by their confidence and faith in God as He was at work in them and through them.

Although I can’t wait to experience the Iowa weather compared to Florida, leaving Ithiel wasn’t easy. I was able to take with me some jokes, songs, encouragement, and I think a little sand, too (whoops!).
– Phoebe

Hello pals!

We have just finished our week at Camp Ithiel. Returning to Camp Ithiel means a lot to me personally. My Brethren Volunteer Service orientation was held there January of 2015. A lot has happened for me since then. Also, Florida in January and Florida in July are vastly different experiences. Anyway, in some ways returning to this camp felt like home for me. This is where my Brethren journey really took off. As much as I loved my orientation at Camp Ithiel, it was awesome to experience the space in a whole new way. One of the themes from the camp curriculum is “Together, the courage to show up.” Being on Peace Team and running around constantly makes showing up mentally at times very challenging. This week specifically I had the opportunity to not only push myself physically to show up despite the heat, but to show up spiritually and mentally for worships theologically different from my own practices. Both of these I have some trouble with. But as I reflected on why it is challenging to listen to those who share different practices of similar ideas, the importance of such action has been heavy on my heart. As children of God, I think we all believe in the same basic ideas. One is not right and one is not wrong. One is not better and one is not worse. Actively loving your neighbor means to actively listen. And even if there are barriers that keep us from being active, whether it is the heat or our own personal walls, we are called to not just tolerate, but to love our neighbors. We should listen and learn from our brothers and sisters in God.

Peace, blessings and patience,
Kiana

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Youth Peace Travel Team 2015 – Camp Ithiel

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Hello friends! We just finished up a very energy filled and exciting week at beautiful Camp Ithiel! We had 49 junior high youth there with us for the wonderful journey that is church camp! Camp Ithiel gave us the opportunity to lead a session everyday with the youth, (Two sessions actually, because we could only do half the group at one time), which was super awesome! We also got to hang out and join in on the rest of the activities throughout the week!

At the beginning of the camp week, I was adjusting to both the hot weather and the number of junior highers attending – 49 in total! It was such a diverse group, and I loved it! During Vespers, the kids turned singing songs into dancing for Jesus, and the energy was almost overwhelming. We also enjoyed our sessions with the campers, especially since it was the first time we had a chance to do all five of our topics. As the week went on, the campers offered more and more insightful comments, so I really hope that they continue to be passionate about peace. Outside of sessions, the campers were so much fun to play with: nine-square-in-the-air, gaga ball, and then even a crazy game of clothes pin tag! I loved the camp and their staff, and I’m enjoying my time in Florida.

-Brean

I had a fantastic week at camp Ithiel! It is such a unique camp because it is located right in the middle of an Orlando suburb, while most camps that we have visited are out in the middle of nowhere.

This week 49 junior high campers came to camp!  There haven’t been that many campers at Ithiel in years. Each camper was so unique and full of energy. The campers came from very diverse backgrounds and it was such a joy to get to know them.

On Thursday, I was sorting the recycling and one of the campers came to help me. I said, “Thanks for your help” and he told me that he didn’t like what happened to his sustainable village when they were destroyed yesterday, so he wanted to become actively involved in living more environmentally friendly. On Wednesday, we had done our Creation Care workshop where the campers designed an environmentally sustainable village and then when they finished the YPTT drew in business, coal mines, etc, to show what happens to the environment when new industries are built. I was so happy that he continued to think about the topic the day after the session!

Another part of the week that I really enjoyed was going to worship with the campers. A couple times a bunch of the campers and staff started dancing as we sang. It was a completely different worship experience than I’ve ever had, but it was AWESOME to see how joyful they were!

-Annika

Camp Ithiel is an incredible place. As you are driving into it, you are completely surrounded by suburban neighborhoods and then Boom! There’s the camp entrance, and a whole new world behind it.

This week was an excellent experience for us on the YPTT, the staff were so welcoming and great! And the campers. The campers were CRAZY!! And I mean that in the best way possible! They were all so full of energy and it was such an great opportunity to get to work with them and try to channel that energy into the activities we had planned in our sessions!

One of my highlights of the week was the chance to join the campers in their Rec Choice time, playing alongside them in volleyball and soccer and all other types of games! Another highlight was getting to do our sessions with the youth. It was definitely challenging at times to get them to pay attention, but when we succeeded the ideas that they had were so insightful and awesome! This week was definitely a fantastic experience that challenged me, but at the same time was incredibly rewarding!

-Kerrick

Camp Ithiel is a beautiful place full of beautiful people, and we definitely want to thank them for a wonderful week! We greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with the youth each day and the chance to hang out alongside them as well! Our summer as the YPTT is flying by and we would like to thank the people who have been praying for our ministry and for us! Thank you for all you do! Until next week, so long! Keep spreading peace and love!