Reflections from Camp Stover

We received a warm welcome to Idaho from Dan Brown, a.k.a. “Dan the Mountain Man.” We heard all we needed to know about Idaho – mountains, animals, culture, and people, all within the first two hours of our arrival. Thanks Dan!

Camp Stover is an intergenerational camp set in the foothills of the Idaho mountains. This style of camp was unique and new for us. Different age groups were separated for daily activities, but everyone came together for meals and evening campfire. This was also our first experience of going from one camp to the next, which at times tested our energy and endurance. But we are adapting to this busy and ever-changing summer schedule, and becoming more effective at operating within it.

Our primary responsibility this week was to provide leadership for the main evening campfire. All ages attended this campfire, and then everyone split into their age groups to have another smaller campfire to close out the evening. Using the theme “Be a Hero: Live like Jesus,” we were able to let our creativity flow. The daily themes were: “Welcome Others,” “Be a Friend,” “Accept Others,” “Give,” “Rejoice,” and “Share the Good News.” We led silly campfire songs, performed skits, and held reflection and devotional time during these campfires.

Monday afternoon, we had the opportunity to share our peace workshop with the junior and senior high campers. The youth were involved and responded with interest to our message. We were excited to expose the youth to the Biblical foundations of peace and options for practical application in everyday life. We also held a discussion with the adult campers to share about ourselves and our summer’s ministry. They were interested in our team’s theological diversity and how this relates to the denomination’s current situation. A thought that was brought up was that peace can potentially become a divisive issue. Despite differing opinions on the church’s historic peace position, all agreed that pursuing peace within the denomination is imperative to living a life of Christ-like integrity. They were encouraged by the idea of using communication, discussion, building relationships, and remembering that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, to help us rise above conflicts brought about by differences.

Two fun afternoon activities we were able to participate in were hiking and visiting a hot spring. We all did both activities, but on different days with different age groups. While some of us saw snow and had a snowball fight, others of us soaked in 105-degree water. Both activities were fun, relaxing, and full of new and memorable adventures.

We closed the week out with a Saturday morning worship service that gave an overview of the week’s theme. We were called to action to be heroes for Jesus in everyday life. As a team, we are planning and working together more efficiently as the weeks go by. Thanks for a great week, Camp Stover!

-Cambria, Tim, Hannah, and Marcus

Reflections from Camp Mount Hermon

Hi everyone! We just finished a great first week at Camp Mt. Hermon in Tonganoxie, Kansas. We participated in the Senior High week with about 25 youth. The Mt. Hermon family gave us a very warm welcome and we felt right at home. The enthusiastic staff and campers were awesome, and we were blessed to have the experience of working with them.

Our theme for the week, and for many of the camps we will visit this summer, is “Be a Hero: Live like Jesus.” We talked about how we can be Christ-like heroes in our families, schools, churches, communities, and our world.

This past week we were able to lead a variety of activities. To convey our message of peace, we led a workshop that answered the questions: “What is peace?, Why do we seek peace?, and How do week seek peace (first between ourselves and God, then with our neighbors, and finally in our world)?” We began by having campers define what peace means to them by creating a symbol in small groups, then explaining it. Their responses were insightful and thought provoking. Another activity we were asked to lead were daily discussion-based sessions called “Hot Topics.” Campers selected topics ranging from teen problems to putting God first. We led a campfire one night, led campfire songs every night, and taught the youth a dance to a compilation of songs, which they performed for counselors and staff Friday evening. A phrase from the song the youth enjoyed repeating throughout the week was “Ja-Jam,” which was accompanied by humorous choreography.

A highlight of the week for us was a communion/footwashing service, followed by a meaningful closing campfire. During the footwashing portion of the service, counselors washed campers feet in the same way Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Campers then returned the act of service by washing the counselors (and our own) feet. Around the campfire, prayers were lifted up; some silent, and some spoken. The Spirit was clearly present and moving throughout the night in a very special way! We were blessed and privileged to have been able to participate in such an experience.

As the weeks go by and we spend more time together, we continue to grow as a team. We have realized that our relationships with one another, and our calling as the YPTT of 2010, rise far above our theological and personality differences. Continuing the work of Jesus peacefully, simply, and together is too important of a task to allow differences to hinder us in reaching that goal. What a powerful lesson to take with us the rest of the summer!

After an inspiring week at Camp Mt. Hermon we want to send our utmost gratitude to the campers, counselors, and staff! Thanks Mt. Hermon for a great week!
-Cambria, Marcus, Hannah, and Tim

The 2010 Youth Peace Travel Team adventure begins!

Welcome to our blog…enjoy! On Thursday evening (June 3), we finished 3 ½ wonderful days of Youth Peace Travel Team (YPTT) Orientation at Camp Blue Diamond in western Pennsylvania.

We learned. We learned about our mission and sponsors: On Earth Peace, the Outdoor Ministry Association, Brethren Volunteer Service, and the Youth/Young Adult Ministry Office. We had seminars on the biblical foundations of peacemaking, teamwork, and working at camps.

We talked. We talked about ourselves, our hopes, and our fears for the summer. We talked about our beliefs and found diversity within the team, a diversity that makes our team richer. This is something we became aware of early on during orientation- we have notable theological differences among us. In fact, as we talked and reflected as a group, we realized that we are very representative of where the Church of the Brethren is today as a denomination. Initially, we were unsure of how to find common ground on certain issues. But we slowly came to understand that God had clearly brought us together for a purpose. God brought us together so that we could spread God’s message of love and peace, so that we could learn from each other, so that God’s name would be glorified, and maybe, just maybe, so that we could serve as a timely and prophetic model for a church struggling with divisive issues. Perhaps God brought such different people together and challenged them to show God’s church that not only can it work together- it must. This is our goal. We certainly have our work cut out for us this summer, but we are excited and ready to go!

We bonded. Our first “test” as a team was making dinner Monday night (May 31), and we passed with flying colors. From then on we learned that Marcus sings (almost constantly). He even coined his first smash hit, “Timbo come back.” Tim is a thinker but also has a goofy side. Cambria loves to laugh. And Hannah likes to dance. We also bonded over a black bear sighting. We had a great week and we became a team.

We greatly appreciate all the effort Marie, Dan, Becky, Margo, and Camp Blue Diamond put into helping us have an awesome week!

-Cambria, Marcus, Hannah, and Tim