These days our youth tend to grow up faster as they are more quickly exposed to the ways of the world that many of us "baby boomers" were. Mixed with that, from earlier ages there is the potential for young people to become just as overly scheduled as their parents are liable to be. Shrine Mont Camps have the primary ability to provide a space for youth to unplug from electronics, get away from their schedules and bond with others. In addition to these wonderful attributes of the Shrine Mont Camps, as the chaplain to Music and Drama (MAD) Camp II, I am witnessing how the young men and women, ages 12-14, are invited to participate in that very God given manner of creating.
"Creation" is something that any person who visits Shrine Mont can embrace. Whether one is sitting on a chair meditating by a lake, or hiking up to the cross, or participating in worship at the outdoor Cathedral Shrine, this place is one where we can feel surrounded and connected to God's creation and even echo our Creator by saying "it is good!" Yet creation is not just to be enjoyed, but also an aspect that we are invited to participate with.
Our campers at Music and Drama Camp, guided by wonderful counselors, not only enjoy a full, typical camp experience but they are also provided the space to create. One might think that as the campers and staff prepare for, cast and mount a musical production that all of the elements such as props, costumes, scenery, etc. are already present and provided, but that is not the case as I learned this morning on the first full day of camp.
As I visited the MAD Camp Art Cabin this morning I noticed long roles of butcher paper with a plentiful array of colored pens strewn about on tables. A page of paper with the words "costumes," "scenery," and "props" was on each table. The campers were encouraged whenever the spirit moved them to add their ideas for costuming, what kind of props and scenery, as well as how to create these - white paint on black t-shirts for skeletons and puppets to represent the "four headed beast" from Ezekiel and more were written or drawn on these papers.
Will every idea get utilized? Of course not. As I looked over these posters I witnessed many variations on how to provide what is scripted, and thus the youth will also learn how to create through collaboration. What freedom this is to be given blank butcher paper, a script, pens and then offered the opportunity to participate in creation. No doubt, they are joining the unfolding breath of God that still flows from that time "in the beginning."
From this experience at MAD Camp II, these youth will be reminded that they have within them the talents, knit by the creator, that invites them not only here at camp but beyond in their lives to continue to participate in that which God breathes forth...and no doubt they will know that when they remain connected to the Holy, wherever that is...it is good!
By the Reverend Peter K. Ackerman - Chaplain