Mosquitoes. Campfires. Swimming in the lake. Bunking with your buddy.
For many kids, summer camp is a rite of passage. And thanks to Outreach’s summer programs with the support of a generous donor, kids from OCC and WYFS are able to attend Lake Geneva Youth Camp for one memory-making week each summer. This year, 32 kids made the trip. The summer camp theme was “All Pau!” which means “It is finished!” in Hawaiian.
Lisa Garmon, OCC Mentoring Program Coordinator, says summer camp is the best part of the year for students from OCC. “At Lake Geneva Youth Camp, campers go on adventures, play outside, hang out with friends and counselors and hear about God’s love and His plan for them,” she says.
Speakers emphasized the “It is finished!” theme by focusing on God’s work through Jesus on the cross and sharing how Jesus finished that work once and for all. Chapel services and meaningful times of worship allowed kids to connect with God and build their spiritual life.
According to Garmon, students reported that building relationships with their counselors was among their most memorable experiences from camp. Students also enjoyed learning about God, spending time with friends and making new friends, and attending chapel.
One student reported, “My favorite thing about camp was learning to get along with people.”
“They can’t stop talking about camp,” says Quest junior high teacher Karis Wadsack. “Favorite parts included making friends and playing outdoor games like paintball.”
One student in particular found camp to be a place of refuge during a time of hardship at home. “Bobby* tragically lost his cousin about a year ago,” says Leslee Ferguson, Quest social worker. “Bobby’s family moved into a two-bedroom apartment with the grieving relatives to offer emotional and financial support, but the family was evicted in June.”
After working with a WYFS case manager, the family has leased a new apartment in a neighboring community. Bobby’s mom and Quest staff agreed that camp would serve as a great distraction as his family resettled — but it was more than just a distraction. It was a life-changing trip.
“Bobby told me he kneeled at a cross and took steps toward Jesus,” said Karis. “He was amazed at all the things he learned. He told me about the Trinity, that Jesus is God, and how powerful he was to walk on water and feed 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. He said they did devotions each morning in which they would read from their Bibles and write down what they learned.”
While Bobby had already been attending youth group, he now says he wants to find a church and start attending Sunday services.