By Fel Cao
Director of Camping and Retreat Ministries and Young People’s Ministry
I have said several times, “I am a product of camping.” I had my faith conversion experience through youth camping. Camping and retreat led me to become an agent and advocate of justice and peace.
I believe Jesus lived a life of camping as he moved from one town to another with his followers! It is really interesting how Jesus encamped with the disciples and engaged them in prayer – and how, as much as Peter and John wanted to stay in camp, Jesus told them that once they been empowered by the Holy Spirit, they needed to go to the world and become the voice for those who are voiceless.
Camping ministry has provided a means for connection and belonging. For some members of our Cal-Nevada Annual Conference family, camping has become a way of life. Camp Directors, counselors, and other members of staff used to be young campers themselves. I met some faithful members of the Family Camp who have been coming consistently to Silver Spur Camp in Tuolumne, California since 1980. It was remarkable.
Summer is the busiest season of the year in camping. Having served as pastor of several churches in our conference and being accustomed to going from house to house to visit members of the congregation, I was convinced that being present at our camps would allow me to connect with children, youth, young adults, and men and women in our connection in a similar way. Although I must admit that I didn’t have the chance to visit every single camp, I did make it to several of them.
For the next several weeks, Instant Connection will feature an article about one of our summer camps, and I will add my reflections about the ones I was able to visit. We begin with a focus on Lodestar.