Sunday, July 18, 2010
What I did this summer...
After summer vacation comes to an end, it used to be a tradition of school teachers to ask returning students to respond in essay form to the question, "What I did this summer..."
While it's still summertime, and the heat and sunshine do not give the slightest hint that cooler weather is on the way; I somehow feel that in the blink of a few weeks mid-August will be upon us and the school bell will be about to call us back to class.
So far this summer, I've been spending a great deal of time working directly with youth and families as they prepare to go to LCLC for summer camping sessions. I also have had the opportunities to spend some longer-term time with students by serving as Chaplin at Convo retreat during General Assembly and just a few weeks ago went to LCLC as part of the teaching faculty for the week of Confirmation Camp.
It was a great joy, in both circumstances, to spend some quality time with the youth of our church and our greater area. There were times for small group discussion, Bible study, fellowship, prayer, outdoor activities, service projects, worship, music and long sessions of big questions surrounding the campfire.
Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center is a place that offers youth and adults the space and geographical location to learn more about God, seek God's direction in life, take part in a community group that is centered on faith and the encouragement of the whole person, and if you have the heart for it - to learn how to sail a Hobie Cat. I was just speaking with a friend the other day about how much I loved being on camp with the youth, working with a team of ministry staff, and allowing the open space and beauty of nature sink into my whole being during that week of Confirmation camp.
Then another thought came to me. If LCLC means this much to me, how much more does it mean and impact the lives of youth that First Lutheran Church helps to send there?
For one week of camp, the cost per average camper is between $330.00 and $350.00 For the mini camp week designed for grade school children the cost is $190.00. While First Lutheran Church does budget and assist campers with some funds for attending camp, the overall cost of camp often requires students to apply for assistance directly through LCLC and the Widdek Camping Scholarship Foundation.
It is true to say that it is not 'cheap' for kids to attend a week of summer camp. It can also be said, by my own experience and that of many youth that can't wait to return to camp that LCLC camp provides a rich spiritual foundation upon which First Lutheran can continue to build upon throughout the regular school year of youth group gathering and Sunday school classes. It is my joy to tell you that so far this summer, eighteen children and youth have signed up and have or will be attending LCLC for a week of summer camp.
If someone were to ask them what they did this summer, I'm sure that going to camp would be at the top of the list. When helping to provide support for summer camping, you could also respond to the questions, "What did I do this summer?" by saying: "I helped to provide a young person the opportunity to hear and grow in God's love that has eternal returns!"
I believe that summer camp is an important tool and resource for First Lutheran Church to work with in order to help our children and youth to further develop in their faith. As I recall the summers of camping that helped me to grow in my own faith, it is my hearts desire that each child be afforded that opportunity. Thank you for supporting and continuing to support Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center and all if its year round activities. Thank you for catching the vision and mission of sharing our rich Lutheran faith with the children of our church and community. It is by your prayers and generosity that the summer of 2010 at LCLC and First Lutheran Church is one to write about!
To make a donation to assist First Lutheran children and youth to attend LCLC summer camping or winter retreat events, please send your gift with direction in the memo to:
First Lutheran Church
120 Chandler Street