Why do United Methodist Camps think teaching “gratitude” is so important? Because psychological research finds that being grateful, having gratitude, is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness!
ow, I am trying to welcome the energy of the earth into my spirit each morning. I try to smile to the ocean when I see it each afternoon. I am being changed by the gratitude I am offering more generously and frequently to the universe, that it may cultivate wisdom and perspective within me.
Beyond the gift itself and our feeling of appreciation, there is the knowledge that something other than ourselves, greater than ourselves, gifted us.
For sixty years Crook County has had Outdoor School, fifty-four at Suttle Lake. The big yellow buses still depart full of exhausted sixth graders. Each camper takes with them a most important gift, memories. Camp is creating memories which encourage our children to care of themselves and others in community. Within the United Methodist Camp Association, we are always working to be people of grace, accepting all who come. We collectively become communities of grace, accomplishing great things we could not have done on our own.
I believe camp can be an experience to help others open the door to Jesus Christ. Now there is the real, community in the world, and in fact the universe!
So, when I answer people about what it will be like if I leave camp, I often reference my hope for building this community out there, too. I see intentional community building as a counter-cultural act that is a form of resistance. I see community as a way to change the world we live in. To live in community, we may have to opt for something less convenient, or at the very least less conventional, but the payoff of experiencing deeper and significantly fulfilling relationships is much more rewarding.
Today, we live in a world that lets us connect to more people and over greater distances than ever before. But those connections may be more superficial due to both the number of relationships and the limits of technology. We encourage people to take time away to form deep community, steady community, shaped by spending more time physically present with one another.
Because community is essential well-being, we understand that the cost of getting there is worth it. We may not like the experience in the midst of the chaos but the stories that we get to tell later of meeting the challenge says something that we like about ourselves and the community of which we are a part: together with one another we are strong and better off.
My hope and dream for Camp Latgawa, and Camp and Retreat Ministries as a whole, is that we may offer acceptance to each of our guests, freeing them from the stress or anxiety of not feeling welcome. I believe that our camps and programs have been set aside as a holy place, for ALL people, regardless of where they are in life.
Acceptance, understood as an embodiment of compassionate curiosity towards ourselves and others, makes space for others to be seen and valued as they are regardless of how in-line it is with our own understandings.
United Methodist Camp and Retreat Centers are a sacred place of acceptance!
Creating accepting and loving communities at camp is a powerful vehicle for God's spirit to work.
"What are the key factors of the camp experience that lead to growth in outcomes like Christian belief, faith relevance, and self-confidence? We know camp makes a difference, but why? Researcher Dr. Jake Sorenson of the Effective Camp Project breaks it down. Check out the research analysis and consider ways to emphasize these factors in your camp program."
This grace of acceptance offered to me by the church, through camp and retreat ministry, continues to inspire me in my work and life. Through these next few weeks as we focus on Acceptance, I hope that you are encouraged to offer and/or receive this wonderful gift
Like "Camp & Retreat Ministries" on Facebook! Reflections on values with Camp & Retreat Ministries Find Joy in your Mountaintop Experience Value 3: Joy By Tanner Morton, Communications Associate for Camp and Retreat Ministries The summer after...
Our journey at 1000 Hours Outside is to provide insight into a different way to do family life, where nature time is often chosen before other activities. Through highlighting the litany of benefits that accompany breathing in outdoor air we hope to encourage and motivate your family to make nature time a priority.
I would like to invite you to join us this summer at the camp you call home and experience the joy that abounds at camp!
We encourage you, dear reader, to look for joy in one of the simplest of things, food. To care for yourself in new and engaging ways as you prepare food for yourself and for others, remembering that how we share with others and consider their needs is one of the most holy acts, for together we can experience joy around the table so that our lives may be abundant.
One of the many ways we experience such profound happiness at camp, is through the beauty of nature and the time we are blessed to spend enjoying it. Here is an article published on April 10th, speaking of the benefits in spending time outdoors.
We should seek lives filled with JOY! The JOY of knowing God is in control and will never abandon us. We are called to share that JOY with a struggling world! People need the JOY of God’s promise of eternal life; the JOY of knowing that even in our darkest times, God is always with us!
Reflections on values with Camp & Retreat Ministries Giving Joy a Place in All of Our Daily Practices Value 3: Joy By Troy Taylor, Director at Camp Magruder If you have never poured your whole self into a game of dizzy bat, you may not know what ...
We imagine a faith where joy has a place in all of our practices. We want to feel joy as we sing, while we pray together, when we hear a message that feels inspired by the Lord, when we are accepted as we are, when we treat each other with love that defies understanding.
For me, joy is a gift that is available to us each day. I believe that, for most of us, the experience of joy is a matter of choice. While I am aware that joy can come from a spontaneous surprise in our lives, the choice remains as to whether or not we will accept these gifts, even on days that seem joyless.
Each week, in 3-4 pages, McLaren invites us to revisit biblical principles for living. You’ll receive blog posts to expand your study, with reflections and prayers and a place for comments and conversation. As we journey together, we’ll add opportunities for conversation, further study and action."
The blog post for this week, titled We Make the Road by Walking, was written by Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries, Todd Bartlett.
United Methodist camps are a sanctuary of hope. Feelings of hopefulness are contagious at camp whether you are there as a guest, a leader, a volunteer or a paid staff person. In these sacred spaces, hope is abundant and visible! It gives you the feeling that there is something more, much bigger, something greater!
It is my pleasure to announce that Larry Haley has been selected as the next director at Sawtooth Camp.
Camp is one place where we practice hope: We struggle together on the challenge course and celebrate the gifts shared to allow us to overcome the task we’ve been given. We pause and look for God’s presence in the nature that surrounds us. We gather around the campfire to pray, giving thanks for the many ways we’ve experienced God’s light through the day. We begin to recognize the goodness in us and all around us. We live, work, and play together in an intentional way that embraces the integrity of being a Christian community, practicing shining light into the world. That light, along with hope, gets a little bit brighter the more we practice.
In their weekly e-news, the National United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministry includes a blessings report. This report gives readers the opportunity to share the blessings that they experience at camp. We are happy to provide a similar report in our weekly publication!
The 7 Foundations of Camp & Retreat Ministry include "Partner with UM Churches & Agencies" and "Extend Christian Hospitality & Community." Camp in the Community, based in the Holston Conference, has demonstrated these foundations in a beautiful way through their involvement with a "Fresh Expression" church start in their area.
From the first moment of camp, we are working to release our campers and guests from their “cool,” chains, because this version of cool is certainly a safe way to go, but it also results in less connection, less challenge and growth, and less hope in anything bigger than protecting yourself. The transformations you can see in just a few days are amazing. You go from seeing a timid, frankly boring version of a person to someone excited about something, trying things, accomplishing things.
In their weekly e-news, the National United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministry includes a blessings report. This report gives readers the opportunity to share the blessings that they experience at camp. We are happy to start providing a similar report in our weekly publication!
Awe is the emotion we feel in response to something vast that defies our existing frame of reference. It leads us to expand our perception and humbly reorient our understanding of ourselves. Scientists suggest that experiencing awe can help us engage and connect with others, improve our health, and increase personal and social wellness.
Scripture tells us that God has prepared a future of hope for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Our youth campers are that future, and they spread Hope throughout camp, and the world.
The second Winter Youth Retreat at Suttle Lake was a fun and meaningful gathering of 55 youth and leaders over President's Day Weekend.
When it becomes natural for campers to face the difficult challenges in their lives, they are able to develop a sense of what it means live out their Christian faith. These elements are sign posts to guide them in their relationship with God and with all of humanity; and because they endured, persisted, and built character along the way, they can live with hope that this moment of difficulty is not all that there is.
Camp Leadership and Counselor Training will be held at Camp Magruder April 5-7.
How do our camps encourage “wonder?” How do we remind people to be in awe, to marvel, and to be amazed and astonished? We offer safe spaces to slow down, focus and relax; to be in nature and contemplate.
Whether those coming to our facilities are United Methodists, from other denominations and faiths, local schools or family groups, our mission is to bring them together, at the table, figuratively and literally, and share our stories of Jesus, the Bible, and nature, and to send them back into the world hopefully a little bit better than when they arrived. Spending a week in Florida re-affirmed that our programs have the people who can make this happen, and for that, I am grateful to them all.
This sense of wonder is possible any time we step away from our everyday routine and noise, willingly opening ourselves to a greater mystery. I’ve learned that having an awe filled experience is less about location and more about a willingness to be open and look beyond our immediate needs or desires, to something deeper.
We want to worship in such a way that campers are left in awe by what they see, hear, touch, taste, smell, experience. These moments worshiping under the stars, singing with our hearts, feeling a deep closeness with each other--this is turning over the log to look at worms with students of spiritual life. If we can create an environment that fosters a sense of wonder, they will fall in love. They will do all of this themselves, just like those before them did when they fell in love; and that will help us to fall in love all over again.
Enjoy snow, fellowship, and fun at Suttle Lake's Winter Youth Retreats!
The time is fast approaching, when music will ring through the air at Camp Magruder! This year's Choir Camp, "Sing the Sacred Rhythm," will feature music selected by Director Luanne Hardy, accompanied by Sara Pope & Sarah Shay, and we look forward to the many blessings the we will receive throughout our time in fellowship
I have witnessed many people experience a bit of wonder in a variety of ways, here at Camp Latgawa. One of the easiest ways to identify such an occurrence is through the look of pure excitement on an individual's face, perhaps when they find a crawfish in the creek for the first time. New and thrilling experiences like this may stick with guests for a lifetime
I have witnessed wonder in all of these forms, among others, here at Alton L Collins Retreat Center and at many other camp and retreat ministries. I think we have these experiences of wonder because camp and retreat ministries can help us slow down and connect more deeply.
The time is fast approaching, when music will ring through the air at Camp Magruder!
This week we begin our year-long journey on values by exploring Wonder. Part of what I believe the directors and I sensed is that there is so much that has been explained about our world that there is little space left to encounter wonder. Another element of wonder is to get lost in connecting with something outside of, or bigger than, ourselves while at the same time we experience a deep connection to it.
For 2019 the directors and I will be writing about values. Each director looked at a list of values and were asked to select seven that guide their work.
There is Still Time to Make Your Year-End Gift to Camp and Retreat Ministries!
Camps strive to inspire and equip all of our guests to do love and service by providing a place of love, safety, community, joy and peace.