Making Memories and Sharing Faith!
Last summer my (then) 9-yr-old granddaughter Natalie and I went to church camp at Templed Hills. We had an amazing time! One gauge is that Natalie definitely wants to go again this summer and insists that we bring her 8-year old twin brothers along. My husband has even decided to come, too!
When I was young, church camp was a standard part of the summer routine for my brothers and me. And church camp was only one element in our faith formation. We also attended Sunday school and church nearly every week – even on vacation when we visited other churches – and participated in numerous other church activities throughout the year. Today, there are a few young people with similar experiences that build their faith, but many more are like Natalie where exposure to faith is much more intermittent, so I was curious at what she would think of church camp.
Watching the various grandkids – most of whom didn’t know each other before camp – was enjoyable in and of itself. The first morning at swim tests gave me an idea of how well they would get along. In order to go in the deep end, each kid needed to swim across the pool and back, one at a time under the supervision of the life guard. While these young people had just met the previous afternoon, they still showed tremendous support for each other. “You can do it, Sam!” “It’s just a little farther – keep it up!” “Way to go, Natalie!” The shouts of encouragement began with the first swimmer and picked up anytime a swimmer looked a little fatigued. As each one finished, he or she joined the others at the end of the pool, clapping and urging the next swimmers on.
And who knew that it could be so much fun to be a “hopper” at mealtime, responsible for setting the table, bringing food, and cleaning up! I wonder if any of that enthusiasm made it back home with them?
Whenever there was a request for volunteers, the hands shot up! The grandkids (and grandparents, too, to be fair) read scriptures, helped with the liturgies during vespers, acted in skits, and signed up for the talent show. Perhaps we had an especially good group of grandkids, but I can’t help thinking that somehow camp brought out the best in them. Most of all, being at church camp together provided natural opportunities to talk with Natalie about my faith and why it’s important to me.
If you’re a grandparent with one or more grandchildren who will be ages 4-12 this summer, I encourage you to come along to one of the three GPGC camps on the schedule. There’s also a “Me and My Pal” camp for other adult/child pairings – parent/child, aunt or uncle with niece or nephew, and so on. There are plenty of other choices for young people who want to come to Templed Hills on their own. Perhaps your church will encourage, and even sponsor, children and youth from your church to go to camp. Click HERE to check out the camp schedule and get registered.
But act fast! The Early Registration discount ends soon.
Blessings and peace,
Moderator, Ohio Conference