As summer approaches, the planning for summer youth activities begins. And of course, a popular opportunity for children and young adults is summer church camp.
Most of the camps for Moravian Churches in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota are held at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference facility. The exception is Camp Mindyy (youth who’ve finished grades 3-5 in Minnesota and North Dakota) who camp at Luther Crest camp in Minnesota. A retreat opportunity for adults over age 50 is held at Mt. Morris in August. California also offers youth camp and family camp opportunities.
Regardless of the location, the overall goal of all our camps is to reach as many people as possible with an experience of God in a Christian community. This includes the camp’s staffs as well as the campers.
Staffing at our camps includes many volunteers who bring life to the planned activities. The greatest need for volunteers is to fill the ministry of cabin counselor/small group leader. These people offer the faithful presence to the campers throughout the day.
With the number of camps we have and the size of our camps there is always a search for counselors. A cabin may have 6 to 12 campers and we have two counselors in each cabin. During each day counselors help connect the activity of the camp with each cabin member in a personal way. This is a tiring but fulfilling ministry as relationships are formed that can last a lifetime. This ministry could be thought of as a big brother/sister relationship.
We are fortunate to have many young adults in high school and college who devote time (and energy) in the summer to be counselors. It is a great opportunity for them to build leadership skills as well as to see camp from a different view. Also important are the adults, many of whom take vacation time to be a part of camp. It’s interesting each year as new staff arrives to discover that they are counseling with someone who in years past has been a counselor to them!
Counselors bring their talents and gifts and use those gifts to lead campfire skits, crafts, nature hikes and playing volleyball in the sand. One of the most enjoyed activities with the younger ages is some variety of an all-camp game such as “Find the Counselor.”
One of the most critical staff members is the Medical Supervisor (Nurse) as this position is required by state statutes. To fill this position a person who is a registered nurse, physician or an EMT qualifies. We are grateful for all those who volunteer their time for camp. Needed are more people to fulfill this position. If someone is interested in being a camp Medical Supervisor contact Kathy Liebenow through Christian Faith Moravian Church, DeForest, Wis. and she can get you connected.
Another unique position is music leader. With the wealth of Moravian music and camp music having people who can coordinate group singing is valued. Often guitars are used to accompany the singing but a keyboard is available and sometimes hand chimes have been used. With the right person there could even be a band with horns and woodwinds.
We are also grateful for people who volunteer to work in the kitchen to prepare and serve meals. The staff of Mt. Morris plans each day’s meals in consultation with each camp director and has everything ready for the volunteers.
So consider being on a camp staff—even if you’ve not ever been to a camp. It’s the opportunity to invest yourself in the lives of our children, youth and young adults.
Another feature of our camps is to have a mission project for the campers and staff to support. Each camp chooses a focus for the year and will receive offerings and often times will integrate the mission into the activity of the camp. Here are some highlights from 2013.
• Winmor raised $1077.86 to support missions of the Great Kills Church
• Junior Camp made 24 birthday gift bags for foster children in the Janesville area
• 4M camp shared packages of gum with Genesis 1:1 on each pack to share with friends and family along with a craft with hands showing the days of creation
• Chetek raised funds for K.I.D.S (Kids in Distressed Situations) of about $5,000
• Camp Mindyy raised funds for Feed my Starving Children and collected $374.00
The Camp and Conference committee for the Western District camps is chaired by Kathy Liebenow and includes Rev. Jane Gehler, Justin Rabbach, Staci Wickert and Amy Anderson as well as each camp director.
NORTH DAKOTA YOUTH CAMP DATES AND LOCATIONS THIS YEAR ARE:
July 7-11 held at Mt. Morris, Wisconsin
held at Luther Crest Camp Site, Minnesota
July 20-26, held at Mt. Morris, Wisconsin
July 27-August 2, held at Mt. Morris, Wisconsin
August 17-21, held at Mt. Morris, Wisconsin
August 18-20, held at Mt. Morris, Wisconsin
Thanks to the Rev. Kurt Liebenow for this story.