I have about 539 ideas for things about which I want to blog, but don’t have much time to get it done. However, I’m taking the time to write about 1 of them quickly: high school leadership camp (called LDW for Leadership Development Workshop) put on by the Conference Council on Youth Ministry under the direction of Justin Lefto).
A couple of months ago, I was asked by a friend if I would be an “adult volunteer” at the camp which would be held in July. I waffled for a while, worried about a busy summer and being afraid to give up a whole week in close proximity to a new school year. I felt a sense of remorse about it and really wanted to work it, but just was afraid that I was too busy. First mistake.
The Wednesday before the camp started with Sunday training, I got a phone call from a student who is working at Camp Horizon and spoke with my friend. Between the two of them, they convinced me that I just HAD to spend the week at camp with the CCYM and the other high school kids who would be there. Man, I’m glad I said yes.
I haven’t been to a week-long camp for a couple of years and I haven’t spent an extended amount of time with the CCYM for, oh, about 10 years. During the week that I was there, I was the “adult volunteer” in a student led small group and stayed in a cabin. Those were great opportunities and I enjoyed the students I met there. The best part of it was some of the incredible opportunities that high school students had to fellowship with one another and to really be able to “soak” in what it means to live a life in relationship with God.
The theme for the camp was Connect4 and gave students a chance to connect with God, self, friends and world. Barry Dundas (pastor from Salina) and Ted Bannister (lay person aptly dubbed “Farmer Ted) challenged students to take deeper steps of faith in God. They were challenged in a ropes course (where they were joined by Bishop Jones for a morning), were instructed in LeaderShops taught by the CCYM and had fun in water and messy games. They even learned some of the hard truths of hunger around the world from the “surprise” Hunger Banquet on Thursday noon.
Nearly 90 people were a part of the camp. I had the sense during the week that we will continue to see leadership of the UMC from within this group of young people. I got to have 4 conversations with students who had experienced a call to ministry, some that week, some earlier. Of course I want to do my part in nurturing their faith and I’m praying that others will, too.
Despite my early objections, I had the best week of my summer (isn’t that often how it is?). Now I’m praying that these students continue to see how God wants to connect with them in the other 51 weeks of their lives.