Imagine a week of intentional Christian community in a beautiful outdoor setting for the confirmation and high school youth of your congregation.
When Edgewood closed, the group that used to be called Contract Confirmation Camp found a new location to gather – Camp Kintail, which is a beautiful Presbyterian camp on the shores of Lake Huron, 30 km south of Kincardine. What we found there was an incredibly warm welcome by the Kintail staff who have bent over backwards to work with us over the past three years when they could have made much more money renting the camp out to any number of secular groups. We also found wonderfully well-maintained facilities that have greatly expanded the opportunities we are able to provide campers.
All of this has meant that we have been able to grow our camp beyond its “confirmation camp” origins to become a Lutheran Youth Camp with three big priorities:
1. A week of Intentional Christian Community for confirmation age and high school youth;
2. Leadership Development, and;
3. Expanding our camp beyond the twelve congregations it currently serves.
1. Intentional Christian Community
All churches do their best to bring youth together for learning and activities. Sometimes it’s an evening or a sleepover. CLAY brings them together or a wonderful big gathering. The Summer Lutheran Youth Camp brings youth together for six days of worship, learning, fun, eating (lots and lots of eating!), singing, dancing, games, and crafts all with the express purpose of having our youth experience Christian community intentionally for an extended period of time. In other words: confirmation students, high school kids, counsellors, leaders, and pastors all living together as Christians unapologetically and intentionally through joys and challenges, high rope activities and prayer. How often do any of us get that kind of experience? It changes lives.
2. Leadership Development for our Youth
Perhaps you’ve seen the recent “35 Under 35” project by Kristina Kuhnert highlighting the amazing ministry by so many ELCIC young adults across the country. (You should check it out at https://www.facebook.com/ELCICYoungAdults/) I was moved by how many of those people participated in the camp over the last 22 years that I’ve been involved. “Hey, I remember them from camp!” is a refrain I repeat over and over again as I go through the list. Counsellors, Activity Directors, Musicians. Our camp goes a long way in helping prepare the leaders of (today and) tomorrow.
Over fifty years ago, the camp started by one pastor, Norman Lange, at one congregation, Mount Zion, Waterloo. Today it has grown to twelve congregations, with many more having participated throughout the years. Being at Kintail gives us the opportunity to greatly expand the size of our camp – we could probably accommodate twice as many congregations. That’s a lot of Intentional Christian Community!
Providing an experience like this for our youth demands a commitment of time, energy, and passion for this ministry. But I can testify to the value of this work. Building relationships. Empowering leaders. Experiencing the gospel as a lived and meaningful reality. Being accepted just for who you are. This is what Summer Lutheran Youth Camp is all about. And we have room to grow!
Camp takes place each year during the last full week (Sunday to Friday) before Labour Day weekend. If you are a leader or pastor who thinks this might be a ministry for your youth, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Brian Wilker