Experiencing Grace at Camp Latgawa

May 01, 2018

Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries

Foundation 3: "Nurture Christian Faith and Discipleship"

by Sam Grainger, Director of Camp Latgawa

Camp Latgawa holds a special place in many hearts throughout Southern Oregon. Not just because it has been around for over 65 years but because of all the warm emotions that are felt when guest and campers are at camp with others that can relate to them.

Providing a space for guest to further develop their faith is a primary goal for us. Some guests and campers are very open to developing their faith, whereas others can be closed off and distant to the thought. Sometimes just by being present to someone's physical needs, we allow them the freedom to explore their spiritual needs. In addition to teaching, singing, and prayer, we believe this this is an equally important aspect of nurturing faith and discipleship.

Here is a quick story. Our first summer at Camp Latgawa, we had a camper that came with basically the clothes on their back and torn shoes - and nothing else. At first they was very hesitant to ask for help or ask for supplies. One night we left a pair of new-ish shoes for them to wear the next day. We didn’t make it a big deal or call them out. They just came back to their bunk to find a new pair of shoes to wear. The next day, they had the new pair of shoes on and were already starting to open up and talk to more of the campers. That small gesture made them realize they weren’t alone and people at camp cared about them. The following day, they got up the courage to ask for a toothbrush and toothpaste. They were so afraid of what people might think that they didn’t want to ask for help. By the end of the week, they were able to feel the compassion and love we engage with through our spiritual practices.

By providing these small acts of grace to our guests, we hope to be examples of grace that God has already extended to all of us. We believe these experiences at camp can open the eyes of our guests to God’s grace allowing them to progress in their faith journey.

Peace to you,


© 2014 Camp and Retreat Ministries:

A partnership between The Oregon-Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church
and The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon