Archive for the ‘ Summer 2014 ’ Category

Creating Community

With only three days of camp under our belts for the week, it has been
amazing to see the strong community that has already taken root. We
have such a supportive and loving group of campers and staff onsite
this week. Campers that were for the most part strangers before the
week began are now living into the community that is created at camp.
Cabin names, mottos, and covenants are talked about with pride. And
when one member of the cabin or larger community is absent, this
absence seems noticed by all. This morning when the girls of Assisi
cabin thought that one of their fellow cabin members might not be able
to do low ropes with them, they begged that they might be able to
postpone the activity as the experience would not be the same unless
all of the cabin was present.

The community that is developing in this place was especially evident
to me last night during our community dinner. Community dinner is a
weekly event that includes a delicious cook-out, fun games, and an
opportunity for each cabin to dress up their counselors in silly
costumes. It was hard to tell which campers were apart of which cabin
as everyone seemed to come together as one. There was much laughter,
encouragement, and fellowship as campers and staff played in a big
group game of volleyball or competed for points in the football game
500.

Sitting in on the closing worship for our youngest round-up campers
this morning, I was again struck by how much change could occur in
such a short time. Campers who began the week with much hesitation
were now standing at the front of worship leading the words and
motions to their favorite camp song and revealing to me with
excitement all of the fun activities that they did this week, which
included a moose hunt and lighting a match for the first time. They
then pranced off to make sure all of their new friends were introduced
to one another’s parents in a fashion that suggested that they had
known one another for years not just a mere 36 hours.

At breakfast this morning, I asked the girls of Day cabin what
community meant to them. Charlotte responded that “Community is a
group of people who work together and are friends.” It has been
beautiful to be a part of the collective partnership and friendship
that is present at camp this week, and I am excited to watch this
community continue to grow in the remaining days.

 

-Kelsey Gustaveson, Onsite Coordinator

An Abundance of Gifts

Just days ago, youth directors and parents brought cars and vans  full of middle and high school students up a winding mountain road to arrive at camp. Since then, Sky Ranch has not been the same. This place has truly come to life in the past three days and this week’s campers have played a huge role in this transformation.

You see, we sent each camper a packing list with reminders to bring sunscreen, sleeping bags, hiking boots, and Bibles. And they came prepared with all of these things, carefully packed into duffel bags and backpacks. But the best things that the campers have brought with them weren’t on our packing list.

Each camper has brought a unique sense of joy and an incredible set of gifts. From the endless laughter during mealtimes in the lodge to the pure excitement at seeing a moose wander through the woods, these kids bring so much light to our lives. Several Seekers campers have shared their musical gifts with us by playing guitar and song leading at worship. Our Rendezvous campers have been working hard to fill our paths with new wood chips as part of their service project, before sharing in the adventure of whitewater rafting. Our High Wilderness backpackers have offered deep insights and appreciation for nature as they spend time on trail. Youth Go! has been exploring their faith journeys and gifts of leadership. Cabins are working together to wash dishes, pack for day hikes, and support each other through the high ropes course. The gifts that have been unpacked throughout the week are abundant.

As we pass the midweek point and we start to prepare to send campers back down that winding road, we hope that their backpacks and duffel bags will be overflowing. Not only with dirty laundry and tie dye shirts, but a new sense of their own gifts and how they can use them down the mountain, to serve others and to continue their growth. To all of the families and congregations that have shared campers with us this week, thank you for these amazing youth!

-Maddie, Outreach Coordinator

 

Digging Deep into Theology

As the summer staff prepares to facilitate encounters with Christ on the mountaintops, we have been gifted with the opportunity to dig deep into our own beliefs.

Our theology sessions began with Pastor Dan Rift, director of ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal. He challenged us to reflect on moments where we felt God’s presence and also made us aware of times when we might have stifled that sense for others.

Next we were joined by Pastor Sarah Moening of Bishop Gonia’s staff who opened the discussion of faith and invited us to celebrate our diverse backgrounds and spiritual journeys.

The following day Pastor Louise Johnson of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia joined us to share the historical context and major themes of Lutheran theology. Pastor Louise also shared her gifts of worship with our group.

Yesterday Pastor Doug Hill of Abiding Hope Lutheran Church in Littleton was with us to discuss the idea of reverting back to first and second century beliefs of the Jesus community. This challenged us to question the doctrine that many of us have grown up with and reminded us that there is always room for our faith to grow and change.

We are so blessed to have these speakers teach us, challenge us, listen to us, and share their perspectives with us. As a result of their leadership, we can go forth into the summer with an eagerness to create similar experiences for our campers.