We do this program called Wilderness Camp (AKA Teen Camp). It utilizes the beauty of God’s creation to allow teens to untangle. To decompress from the frenetic pools of pace we swim in each day. I love this camp because it exposes young men and women to the power of God’s creation. That may sound like I’ve been in the woods too long, but I firmly believe that God’s creation speaks of who He is. And when we take the time to listen, it can have profound results. It’s as big as a black night crammed with stars, it sings like a creek full of frogs, and it slows us down until we have to take it all in.
One of my favorite things about this camp is how the staff starts to look after a few days. Bed head, everything starts to smell like campfire, the beards get scruffy, and the feet, well dusty would be a kind description. Most of them wear sandals and their feet get caked in the dusty days.
So often these days we try to bring what is familiar to the camp. We have nice meeting rooms with cushioned chairs and adjustable lighting. People can go from Dining Hall to meeting room to cabin and never even need to get their feet dirty. The isolation of God’s creation is often just a convenience for louder music and longer meetings, more meals, and days jam packed with program.
This may sound kind of strange but I always look for those dirty feet. It’s important to me that they are covered in the dust of God‘s creation. That dirt represents quiet campfires under a canopy of stars, hikes through forested groves, and most important, time to untangle. The heart of camp is simple; distance from what is familiar provides the opportunity for new perspective. It can be uncomfortable, but it also can actually get us to think beyond what we want next, to what we have right now.