by Joy Cotchen, Allegheny Mennonite Conference Minister of Children and Youth.
As summer camp preparations are underway at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, I look back over the past 15 years of directing camp and continue to reflect on how important the summer camp experience can be in a young person’s faith journey.
Too many times, the voices of youth are not called upon in the church setting; but we do ourselves a disservice when we don’t ask for or listen to these voices. Often we think of young people as the church of tomorrow (and they will be the church of tomorrow!) but more importantly, they are the church of today, with many wonderful insights for us to hear and with a lot to teach us.
Summer Camp is one way of nurturing a young person’s faith journey: a wonderful setting to grow and a safe place to ask hard questions. Young people can talk and learn together with their peers while being mentored by caring young adult counselors. It is a valuable experience to get away from the busyness of life and technology to spend time in God’s creation learning and playing together. Camp gives kids the opportunity to be in tune with Jesus without outside distractions, and becomes a place for learning valuable lessons that will remain with them throughout their life.
This summer we will be “Walking in God’s Story”, looking at the Biblical story and how it connects to us today. Let’s keep our eyes and ears open for the way God is speaking through our young people. Please pray for our summer staff and the campers as they prepare for Summer Camp at Laurelville.