Intentional Staff Community = Spiritual Growth in Campers

July 18, 2018

The contributions leaders make to the ministry at Suttle Lake Camp are true blessings!  These leaders are organizers, guides, mentors, and models of what it means to follow Christ.  Many give of their time to be counselors, chaplains, activity leaders, deans and more.  In their service at camp they shape a way of living and serving together that forms an intentional Christian rhythm throughout the time of camp.  The community worships together, breaks bread together, plays together, prays together, and shares deeply together.  Christ’s gift of grace and love become tangible experiences when leaders centered in Christ show the way and walk the journey with others.

The best camp leaders come to camp prepared and open to the experience.  They take the time to participate in training and prayerfully organize all that is needed for the time at camp with the focus grounded in strengthening the community experience and drawing closer to God.  They are grounded in their faith not only through camp experiences but also by participating actively in a local church community and encourage others to be a part of a faith community at home too.  Their leadership style is authentic and reflects an honesty about who they are as individuals and where they are in their personal faith journey.  These leaders are open to being shaped in their own growth, passionate about empowering others in their growth, and encouraging young leaders on their next steps.

Each summer during the children and youth camp sessions at Suttle Lake we have been intentional about including campers of all ages in planning and leading worship for the whole camp.  This has been a powerful experience when we have been able to see clear evidence of spiritual exploration and young leaders emerge as they are supported by mentors willing to walk along side of them.  Each small group meets with the camp chaplain for a time of Bible study focusing on the scripture of the day when they will lead the worship.  Following this time together they then shape how they will share the scripture through story, song, and prayer with the group.  It is a beautiful thing to watch a group engage with the scripture and then get excited as they recognize how a song or a skit could bring this story to life in worship.  God’s Spirit is clear when a camper steps out in courage to lead a prayer or share a meaningful connection with the scripture for the first time; the power of Christ is known in their personal recogintion that they have a gift and are supported in exploring how they can use that gift to exemplify God.

I believe that experiences like this, and the many other impacting ways spiritual growth at camp is experienced, is a vital piece in cultivating leaders that are grounded in Christ and strengthened by the Christian community.  I am so grateful for those that nurture these leaders while at camp and in their home communities, helping them to develop their gifts and how they can bless others.  Thank you to those that share this journey and spread the invitation to others to follow Christ into the world!   Thank you to those that lead by example!

Thank YOU

Jane

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