With five camps up and running, not including the Suzuki violin camp which is also going on at the hotel, the Mountain is saturated with the sounds of laughter and music. Even though it’s only the first or second full day of camp (depending on which camp we’re talking about), the Spirit of fellowship and camaraderie, as well as a general feeling of “family” have already permeated through each camp. It’s as if we have known each other our whole lives and just didn’t know it until we all got together.
This, of course, is not an accident. From the moment each director took to the floor to announce the opening of camp, the campers have been inundated with the grace, peace, and the love of Jesus Christ. The first time MAD camp circled up, their program director, Cullen Dolson, looked each of them in the eye and said, “God has chosen you to be here, and we are so excited to see you and will be spending the whole week showing you His love.”
Up at the pool, St. Sebastian’s was learning to walk on water as an extensive line of campers waited to catch a frisbee while jumping from the edge. Over on the other side, David Fitzgerald was gathering a group of campers together to play a game of sharks and minnows – calling each of them by name (I don’t know how he knew their names already) and asking, “Hey, do you want to play?”
These first words are the most important. The intentional way the staff makes effort to get to know each camper, the complete and unencumbered openness that is shown to everyone, the invitations to join in, and the LOVE that is demonstrated by each and every person is awe inspiring.
One of the key things that came out of my preliminary meetings with the two staffs (MAD & St. Sebastian’s) was that each staff wanted to make sure that the campers felt the same way about this mountain that they did. There’s something special about it – something unique – something that’s different than what we experience at home. So we talked about it and narrowed it down.
It’s not the pool. It’s not the cabins, or the food (although we all agreed we could use more butt buns in our lives), but it’s the people. It’s the community of faith. It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit moving among us – touching each of our hearts as we come together in the love that has been shown to us by Jesus Christ.
We are made for this. From the very beginning – all the way back to the Garden of Eden – we were made to be with God. This is the Kingdom – right here – and that’s what makes it special. The recognition of our brothers and sisters – each of us a beloved child of God.
That’s what’s being shared here.
That’s what ‘s being said here.
This is what we are made for.
By Phil Woodson
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.