California Moravian Youth Camp has been a fun and meaningful part of every summer for decades. Young Moravians have been blessed by the relationships and profoundly spiritual experiences afforded by camp each year.
Over the years, as California Moravian congregations have closed, our camper base has dwindled. So, this year it seems wiser stewardship to not rent a regular summer camp as we have in the past. We will instead be offering a Moravian Family Camp, June 28-30, at Malibu Creek State Park, just a few miles from the well-known Point Dume (perhaps one of the most beautiful spots on God’s earth!).
Children and their families are welcome to participate. It will have all the trappings of summer camp: campfires, Bible lessons, nature hikes, swimming (although it will be in the ocean and not in a chlorinated pool), crafts, and games.
One great aspect about California Moravian Youth Camp each year is that the costs are subsidized by the Pacific Southwest Christian Education Commission, which receives money annually from the Larger Life Foundation. So, since we’ll be saving on camp rental costs this year, we will be able to increase the subsidies granted to each camper. (It will pretty much be free this year for all campers, which will allow people to participate who might not otherwise be able to.)
Last year, for California Moravian Youth Camp, Bishop Chris Giesler flew out from Pennsylvania for the week, to be the program leader. We had 12 campers (how biblical!) at Oak Glen Camp in Yucaipa, representing both California Moravian congregations: Morongo and Downey. Bishop Giesler led a wonderful program highlighting the uniqueness and beauty of each person God creates. The kids spent their days molding clay creatures, beading jewelry, and gluing intentionally broken terra cotta pots. They also enjoyed swimming, hiking in the nearby desert mountains, mini-golfing, singing and dancing, talent shows, tadpole-gazing in a nearby pond, learning their spiritual gifts, participating in rigorous Olympic relays, and eating all the camp food!
This year, the program leaders will be Rev. Vicki Jens-Page and myself. The theme is yet to be determined, but with the two of us at the helm, it’s sure to be invigorating. We pray that God’s Spirit, who is prevalent throughout all of the natural world, will be very much a part of this year’s California Moravian Summer Camp experience.
Dates for California Moravian Family Camp: June 28-30, 2013.
Christie Melby-Gibbons is pastor of Downey Moravian Church.