The sound of the soul shifting

February 25, 2015 | Focus on camping | Volume 19 Issue 5
Camps with Meaning
Archery practice is popular with Camps with Meaning campers in Manitoba. (Camps with Meaning photo)

To feed our mind we go to school, to fix our body we go to the doctor, to feel our hearts we go home, and for our soul to flourish—that is when we go to camp!

Camps with Meaning is a space where we leave the ordinary routine of life and take a week or a summer to be intentional about our soul—being in complete awe of creation; feeling the freedom to worship at the top of our lungs; and smiling and laughing with friends as we eat, sleep, fellowship, live, and love each other together. This is the sound of the soul shifting, this is what camp does best!

Two short stories from last summer

“Possibly the most meaningful part of my summer was a conversation I had with a camper after fireside one evening. I’ll call him Steve. Like many of our campers, Steve did not grow up in a Christian household. Quite unexpectedly, Steve told me that he would like to become a Mennonite. This was, of course, really exciting. I asked Steve what it was about the Mennonites that really appealed to him. He said that we seem to place such a big emphasis on relationships with others and being like a family, and that he thought that was really important. . . . He reminded me of why we do what we do. We spend so much effort teaching campers, but I find every year that I have learned more than I have taught. Thanks be to God.”

—By Shawn Koop, Camp Assiniboia’s summer program director

“One specific moment that I felt God’s presence was during the last fireside when we walk out to Eagle’s Nest, a special fire pit in the woods, for some songs, sharing and conversation. For our last evening I invited the Grade 2 to 5 campers and staff to share moments where they felt close to God during the week and then to throw a stick in the fire. After a pause, a steady stream of at least half the campers came up to share their highlights. I was impressed by how deeply the campers were experiencing God in their week with us. It was a reminder to me that something extraordinary and memorable happens when all of our efforts come together in a week at camp.”

—By Sarah Janzen, Camp Moose Lake’s Bible instructor

Camps with Meaning operates three camping sites: Camp Assiniboia, Camp Koinonia and Camp Moose Lake. It is the camping ministry of Mennonite Church Manitoba.

For other stories in our Focus on Camping series, see:

Fertile environment
Peace is possible
Making ripples
‘Raise the peace’
Looking back and looking up
Transformed in the wilderness
Moments like these
Lend Bible camp your helping hand 

Archery practice is popular with Camps with Meaning campers in Manitoba. (Camps with Meaning photo)

Roasting bannock around a campfire is a time-honoured tradition at summer camp, including Camp Assiniboia. (Camps with Meaning photo)

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