Just what goes on there?
As the leader of the junior high group at TerraNova, one of my favorite things to do is go to camp. I had a chance to do just that during the week of August 15-20. It’s been two weeks since we returned from camp and I’m still thinking about our wonderful experience!
I love camp because it is a place where God’s presence is always felt. Moreover, it’s a place where I get to truly witness spiritual and relational growth within Flashover, our youth group. I realize that many parents don’t really know what goes on at camp, they may only hear bits and pieces from their junior higher. In the first of what I hope will be several entries about our summer camp experience, I wanted to just give you all a basic description of the nuts and bolts of what a week at Forest Home summer camp actually looks like. At first I want to simply answer the question, “Just what is my child doing up there during that week-long experience?”
Worship in the form of music is always one of the highlights during a week at Creekside. We have music two times each day. First, it takes place during the Morning Gathering which takes place indoors at Mountain View Hall. The morning worship is very fitting for the early part of the day. It tends to be a bit more toned-down and it sets the students’ hearts up for what comes after which is solo time, but more on that later. Second, nighttime worship music takes place outdoors during the Evening Gathering at the Hopkins Amphitheater. This worship is very celebratory and the students really get into expressing their love for God. Often, fellow-leader, John Flagg and I talk about “bringing down the bleachers” during evening worship because there is a lot of dancing, clapping, and all-around appropriate undignified behavior for our Lord! I often wish, dream, and yearn that the adults at TerraNova would worship like we do at camp on a typical Sunday morning. God would be pleased. You might ask your student what they thought about worship music at camp. Ask them if they found it easy to raise their hands, dance, sing, or simply express their love to God in that environment.
Another very spiritual aspect of summer camp is the Reflection or Solo Time which takes place every day following breakfast and the Morning Gathering. During Reflection, students are encouraged to spend 20 minutes away from their friends, totally quiet, out of the cabins, and alone with God. This is a time to reflect on the messages from the previous Evening Gathering, Morning Gathering, Bible Memory Verses, or simply listen to what God might be saying to a junior higher. This is a time for reading, journaling, praying, or simply listening. I personally find this time to be very valuable and extremely energizing. It is one of my favorite perks about being up at camp with your junior highers. It is truly a treat to have this undistracted time automatically built into our day when we are up on that mountain. You might ask your student whether or not they found the “quiet time” with God to be an easy or difficult thing to practice.
Bible Memory Verse Competition is another daily element of summer camp. Each night we memorize a Bible verse and then present it as a team at the Evening Gathering. This is both challenging and fun! The students have to compete against another team and judges choose the best team effort. Each night there is a different theme. Some of the themes include “loud and proud,” “skit,” “hand motions,” and “song.” If you are curious, the verses for the week were 1 Peter 2:9, Colossians 3:1-3, John 15:5, and Revelation 19:6-7. You might ask your student if they remember any of the verses from summer camp. An easier question might be, “Which theme did you enjoy doing the most and why?”
Those are three very important and three of my favorite aspects of summer camp. In a future blog I want to tell you about the messages (sermons) and theme for the week. Additionally, I will blog about some fun things like recreation and free time. What I really can’t wait to tell you about are the relational aspects of summer camp! Stay tuned for those.
I am blessed and honored to serve the youth and families of TerraNova Church!