I climbed into the top bunk and glanced at my watch. It read half an hour until campers arrive – just enough time to get my bearings.
Where am I? Camp Galilee, West Virginia.
Will I have enough clothes to get through the week? Hasn’t stopped me yet.
Will I be able to nestle in the cove of pine trees outside the window? Time will tell.
What will God bring forth in the week to come? …
There rests a mysterious anticipation in the moment between traveling and the arrival of campers – a moment to dream of what might be experienced. Each camp is so new and each mix of individuals so unique. In this sense, Camp Galilee held a special mystery for me. Despite the web of Brethren connections from camp to camp, I had never been to Galilee, never met the staff, and didn’t yet sense where God might be leading me.
As with each week, mystery soon turns to movement. Camper after camper ran into our cabin, claiming their space and catching up with summer friends. Parents were skirted away, and into a week of sharing we went.
In the corner of the recreation hall at Camp Galilee rested a large pad of newsprint a camper and I had been eyeing up all week. Activities kept us swirling past until finally we grabbed the board, crayons, Mr. Sketch smelly markers, and headed outside. Setting up our outdoor studio, we began sketching the Camp Galilee driveway, sign, and gorgeous tree just behind. As we worked, camper after camper came behind us…
Camper – Watcha drawing?
Me – Camp. Would you like to draw? Grab a maker.
Camper – Uh, no way. I’d mess it up.
Me – Yo, everyone has a touch of creativity inside them.
Camper – Everyone except me. The height of my creativity rests in stick figures.
Me – I love stick figures! Draw some here.
Camper – Haha, nah.
Me – Alright then, I think the sky needs some purple over there. Give it a whirl…
Camper – …ok
Soon our setup had a clan of artists working hard, stepping away, adding something more, and coming back to proudly check progress. Individuals no longer looked to me for direction, but to their own leading and community support.
When we create a space for all youth — shy, bold, self-conscious, outspoken, gay, searching, active, compassionate — we create a space for something beautiful to emerge. Sometimes the beauty is art of crayons and markers. Other times, beauty is found in the process of creation itself. When youth create a supportive community, this is a dance of beauty. When they join singing, forming dramas, playing games, and seeking God, beauty is found.
Emerging from mystery came art — the art of creating space, building community, and bringing forth beauty. May it be so with us, our communities, our church, our world.
Peace and joy,