Fall Fun Fest Family Group

At Fall Fun Fest, we split into family groups. We asked each member to share a little bit of personal information so we could get to know one-another. Depending on how well participants knew each other, how many other youth events they had attended, and their own personal experience, traits, etc., each person shared a different level of information. We then asked them to reflect on that experience of sharing and think about what they shared and why.

We asked and recorded the responses, “What other qualities does a person need to demonstrate before you would share more personal information?” Here was what they came up with:

  • Caring
  • Discipline
  • Confidentiality
  • Relatable
  • The Right to NOT share
  • Trustworthy
  • Honest
  • Dependable
  • Respectful
  • Listener
  • Someone who can sense your needs
  • Shared experience
  • Accepting of others
  • Accepting of boundaries
  • Sense of humor
  • Reliable

At diocesan youth events, our goal is to create a Christian Community. We want it to be a safe place for everyone where participants can have fun and be themselves. But it takes everyone working together to make that happen. The things we came up with above are essential for us to live out this goal.

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Fall Fun Fest 2017

The Rev. Betty Glover spoke with the participants at Fall Fun Fest tonight about Desmond Tutu and Ubuntu, “Africans believe in something that is difficult to render in English. We call it ubuntu, botho. It means the essence of being human. You know when it is there and when it is absent. It speaks about humaneness, gentleness, hospitality, putting yourself out on behalf of others, being vulnerable. It embraces compassion and toughness. It recognizes that my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

Following Betty’s talk, we had the youth pair off and practice welcoming conversations. We talked about why it was important in a Christian Community to be intentional about welcoming people who are new. We also asked the youth, “Where do you see God in other people?” So often, when we ask people “Where do you see God?” the response has to do with the wonders of nature. But God’s work is often done on earth by those around us. We challenged the youth to recognize those nudges we might see to reach out to others, to pay attention, to listen, to see, to be God’s hands and feet in the world.

GOW 2017, Day 1

The Girls received a pink hat when they checked in and are loving them. We spent some time talking about body image and all the things our bodies allow us to do. We are using Psalm 139 a lot this weekend, which is absolutely beautiful if you’re not familiar!

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end —I am still with you.
19 O that you would kill the wicked, O God, and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me—
20 those who speak of you maliciously, and lift themselves up against you for evil!
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
24 See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The guys started their weekend watching the documentary The Masks We Live In and are delving more into content today. Both groups closed the evening with Compline.

Camp Saturday 2017

Scripture Story: Romans 8:35,37–39
Scripture Focus: Romans 8:38–39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Theological Summary: Nothing can separate us from God’s love for us shown in Jesus Christ.
Campers will:

  • understand how the magnitude of interconnectedness influences their encounters in the world
  • declare that they are connected to God’s love in Christ no matter what
  • identify things that try to disconnect them from God
  • become equipped to share the good news with others
  • reflect on what things from camp will help them keep their connection to God

Every camper received an award from their counselor and all the counselors got an award from their camp director.

Elementary
We had an instructioned Eucharist – a hybrid program/worship time. For the sermon they did a guided meditation on connections. They had to think of a time when they felt like they were lost or separated from the parents/friends, but the good news is, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ! 10 campers filled ministry positions for the Eucharist. We completed our thank you notes and had a meet-and-greet session with the senior high campers. Elementary ended their camp with a talent show! We had an amazing creative ballet performance by two male campers, gymnastics, lots of jokes and singers.

Junior High
We talked about the connections we have made this week with scripture and during program time. We talked about the “dismissal” during Eucharist and how the Eucharist is building us up to go out into the world. This links to the Ark of the Covenant, which the Israelites carried around to remind them of God’s promises. Each camper made their own “Arks” in family groups to take home what they learned this week. For worship, we had Eucharist and we used the bread our campers baked earlier in the week. The sermon talked about the metaphor of the vine, and how we can remain connected to each other but go out into the world and do what we’ve learned: love one another! Junior High ended their camp with a dance! They also got to hang out by the camp fire.

Senior High
During program we did skits in our family groups about injustices and how society tries to keep those injustices in place and what we as Christians can do to respond. The kids came up with them on their own and they were AMAZING! Then we created an interconnectedness web about how we are all connected to each other to demonstrate that when we are out in the world and we are trying to respond to injustices, there is risk and vulnerability, but we have this web of people lifting us up and reminding us who we are and where we came from. We had the “senior game show” where we asked the graduating seniors for their first camp memory, first camp crush, what they’d be doing next year, and what advice they’d give younger campers. We had a special farewell Eucharist and blessing for the graduating seniors and they each got envelopes of letters that everyone in camp contributed to. We closed the evening with a DANCE!

Meals:
Breakfast: French Toast and sausage or ham
Lunch: Sloppy Joes
Supper: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, rolls, and cake!

Camp Friday 2017

Scripture Story: Luke 15:11–32
Scripture Focus: Luke 15:32  “But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”
Theological Summary: Decisions we make affect the ways we connect with people. Your choices matter, but they don’t change God’s love for you.
Campers will:

  • learn the impact of choice in their connection with God and others
  • hear of God’s forgiveness and grace
  • know that they can admit to their brokenness, and that they can change
  • identify trustworthy individuals in their lives who will show them God’s grace and forgiveness

Elementary
We watched a Lego film of the prodigal son story. We had a really good discussion on choices and consequences for different social scenarios that Elementary students might face. We worked on thank you notes for the senior high campers. For worship we had a healing service with Father Joe, talked about the sacrament of healing, and the kids anointed each other in their family groups. Elementary girls enjoyed an E-time playing Just Dance, and dancing and singing to Frozen! Last night was movie night and we watched Moana and had popcorn and lemonade!

Junior High
During program we watched a clip from Jesus of Nazarath. Then we had a skit that 12 of our campers wrote, directed, produced, and performed that was a modern retelling of the prodigal son. We talked about identifying with the characters in the prodigal son story and feeling vulnerable. To demonstrate that feeling, we broke into groups of 3, blind-folded one member of the group who then had to ask for help to walk around camp. For worship we had a healing service that was well received by the campers. We ended the night with a talent show in which every cabin participated. We had the singing talents of many campers, some really good piano players, the Y-Staff treated us to a skit about time management, and the E-staff closed the show with a classic raindrop skit they had been practicing all week (wink, wink).

Senior High
This morning, the Senior High explored the Prodigal Son and how we, as the church and individuals, respond to those who feel outcast or on the fringes. Then we explored those things that are too big for us to handle, and the importance of turning things over to God. Campers were charged with going back and volunteering to help with those ministries that help people on the fringes. We made origami butterflies with our concerns written inside. We closed with this prayer:

Heavenly Father, as we leave our butterflies on this string, help us to let you take control of their wings. Help our worries and fears fly to you. When we see a butterfly passing by, help us to remember that you are there, lifting us up. And when we see another of your children who is hungry, angry, lonely, tired, or stressed, help us to help them find the wings of their own butterflies and set their worries free. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

They enjoyed their afternoon Y times, including a massive yoga session on the pavilion led by Episcopal counselor Emily Burke from St. Michael’s. Before dinner we voted on new Youth Commission members and Youth Delegates to Diocesan Convention. We had an unforgettable talent show after dinner (sponsored by Gold Bond) which included several singers, a clarinetist, pick-up lines, and the first-annual Mr. Episcopal contest. We closed out the night with a Healing Service. It started at the fire pit where we burned our origami butterflies, then moved into Hutch Chapel where there were several prayer stations. We closed with the Lord’s Prayer at the fire pit.

Meals:
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Hashbrown patties
Lunch: Chicken Fajitas
Supper: Hamburgers, hotdogs, beans, pasta salad, watermelon, and chips.

Camp Thursday 2017

Last night was our Mega Eucharist with all age groups and staff! The band consisted of musicians from each camp. We were blessed with the presence of Bishop Milliken from Western Kansas and Deacon Stevie Carter from St. Michael’s, along with our clergy for the week, Mother Betty, Father Joe and Father Andrew. The service featured two youth sermons from Connor Ekerberg and Kirsten Lee, who are both graduating seniors. Afterwards Senior High and Junior High enjoyed s’mores around their campfires!

Scripture Story: John 8:2–11
Scripture
Focus: John 8:7  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Theological Summary: We have to look around to see that we are all valuable to God. People and their relationships to us are a treasure for us to protect. When the legalistic Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with a question about the law, Jesus’ compassion created a “third way” with his answer, neither condemning the woman for her sin nor denying the law.

Campers will:

  • know that their actions toward others can be transformative
  • see Christ’s example of compassion and grace with patience and courage
  • be called to follow Christ’s example to connect to others without judgment, prejudice, or injustice
  • distinguish between judgment and justice

Elementary
We did prayer stations focusing on compassion. The stations included: messages of compassion with salt painting, prayer collages with Father Joe, and played a tag game called cats vs. cows. Y-Times today were Soccer, Canoeing, Archery, Arts & Crafts, Fishing, Gaga, Waterfront, Swing, Biking, Horses, and Shelter Building. After program we made s’mores and played counselor hunt.

Junior High
We talked about our covenant with God, how we make covenants to live with each other, and how Jesus came and gave us the new covenant to Love One Another. As Christians we’re called to go beyond the rules in order to Love Our Neighbor. We talked about sin and how that breaks our relationship with God, but that God forgives us. During family group time, each camper was given some “Model Magic” to write their sins in, then mold into something beautiful which was added to our altar. Junior High held elections for Diocesan Youth Commission today. 14 youth ran for 4 positions. Congratulations to Josh Avery, Creed Ekerberg, Bre Elman, and Asher Demo for being elected!

Senior High
During program time, we discussed injustices in the world. Campers wrote an injustice on one side of a stone, then wrote their Christian response to that injustice on the other side. Afterwards, campers discussed ways we could advocate for others as Christians. Y-times included swimming, canoeing, climbing the tower, horses, gaga/nine-square and making survival bracelets! Senior High campers also enjoyed the annual Cardboard-Boat Regatta last night! Campers were given cardboard boxes, duct tape and plastic to create a vessel that would hold up as they propelled it across the U-dock. In a photo finish, the SS Kracken took home the coveted Camp Wood Cup, with Team Lil Boat coming in second. Prior to the race, the boats were blessed by Bishop Milliken!

Meals:
Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls and ham patties
Lunch: BBQ Beef Sandwiches and s’more bars for dessert
Supper: Forkless Spaghetti! And TWO breadsticks got a HUGE cheer from the campers.

Camp Wednesday 2017

Program was packed today because there were two scripture stories to cover!

Scripture Story: 1 Corinthians 11:23b–26
Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Theological Summary:  We make sacred bonds with one another and God through covenant. Covenant is a way to express our connection beyond space and time. Jesus entered into covenant with us, and we with him, in holy communion.
Campers will:

  • experience their connectedness to Christ through covenant
  • reflect on the power of shared meals in community
  • discover the roots of Christian worship (communion) in scripture

Scripture Story: Luke 24:13–35
Scripture Focus: Luke 24:32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
Theological Summary: We have tools we can use to reconnect to God, and we find them as we walk the road with Jesus.
Campers will:

  • discover how they might deepen their connection with God
  • learn to sustain this relationship after they leave the camp community
  • become more familiar with their Bibles
  • serve one another by being Christ-like to each other

Elementary
During program we started with a centering prayer exercise with Father Joe. We did a meditation that connected all 64 campers and the staff in a tree of life which filled the chapel. We had 6 students present a skit based on the story of the road to Emmaus from Luke. We talked about how sometimes it’s hard to see God when we’re feeling stressed or challenged, and that is when we try to center and find him. We went on a quest to match paint sample colors to things around Camp Wood, they matched 117 paint samples! We discussed covenants, and each family group agreed on one way their members would work to spread God’s love while we’re here. We celebrated the Eucharist with Mother Kelly and had 6 campers serving in ministry roles during the service (altar guild, chalice, readers, acolytes, etc.). Tuesday night’s activity was Gold Rush in family groups and campers had a blast running from bandits and collecting gold.

Junior High
During program we talked about the Eucharist, how we offer our praise and worship to God and the gifts of bread and wine to be blessed by God and offered back to us. We had juice and crackers during family group to symbolize the Eucharist, and talked about special meals (i.e. thanksgiving, or their mother’s pot roast, or pizza at youth group). We talked about how food is essential to our life and Jesus asking us to remember him at meals makes Christ as essential for our life as food. Some campers baked the Eucharist bread for the day during the afternoon activity time. At worship, the bread was passed from the back of the room through the hands of every camper and placed on the altar to be shared by everyone. Tuesday night was game night. Family groups ran from aliens and completed challenges to collect all the pieces of a DNA model which they then constructed as a team.

Senior High
We started program with Eucharistic Jeopardy! Then we did ethical dilemma stones. Each family group was given a different ethical dilemma to discuss and decide on an appropriate response. Then they had had a Bible verse to apply to the situation and see if it affected their decision at all. We watched a clip from Arrival about the consequences of our choices and the effect that has on others. The oldest campers were given the opportunity to do a river canoe trip and they had a blast. During worship, Mother Betty talked about the prayer book, the beauty of the language and prayers, and how the BCP is a great resource for everyone to help them connect with God. Campers are enjoying the hammocks they brought to hang outside of their cabins. Construction on cardboard boats started for the Boat Regatta tonight. We finished the night by watching “Arrival,” which we have been seeing clips from all week in program (and eating popcorn).

Tuesday Meals:
Breakfast: Biscuits & Gravy
Lunch: Taco Salad
Supper: Rice, broccoli & chicken casserole with cobbler for dessert