“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6
In many ways, our theme verse from this summer sums up a lot about the nature of outdoor ministry – a group of congregations from different communities that unite as one body to provide a place for youth and adults to go to, a group of campers that come from different communities and backgrounds to unite as one body for a week of camp, and a group of young adults who come from different places in life to form a summer staff that shares a common goal. This is Luther Point – and it’s held together by the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst, who calls us together to for the purpose of being a part of God’s mission in the world.
United as one, we were able to carry out another wonderful year of ministry through this camp. Once again we were able to provide a memorable and transformational summer camp experience. The stories about camp experiences never get old – kids who arrive at camp wanting to be anywhere else but by the end of the week don’t want to leave, kids who come to camp alone who by the end of the week are exchanging phone numbers with all their new friends, and kids who came to camp not really sure what faith means in their lives, only to be deeply impacted by experiencing Christ at camp.
Numbers for all three of our “traditional” camps – 3/4th Grade, 5/6th Grade, and Jr. High – were up this year. Year after year the result of the evaluations of these camps remains the same – the campers favorite thing were the relationships they formed with the Summer Staff and their fellow campers. We also had another good year of Specialty Camps. GoFishN’ Camp, now in its third year, gets better each year thanks to the hard work of our leader Jeff Butler. Fine Arts Camp was also blessed with some great leaders, including Pastor Paul Oman who shared his painting ministry with us. Horse Camp, Drama Camp, and Guitar Camp all went as expected. Grandparent/Grandchild camp continued to as a popular program with our second year in a row of over 100 participants. The biggest disappointments were our Outpost and Canoe programs – participation was way down and we had to cancel several weeks. On the positive side, this was our first year of offering canoe and kayaking trips to youth groups, and we had two groups participate. We are looking forward to growing this program more in coming years.
We also kept busy the rest of the year through our retreating ministry. For two years now an Adult Retreat Committee has been planning joint retreats between Luther Point and Luther Park. This has allowed us to share resources, as well as to share constituencies in order to reach more people with the retreats. Many thanks go out to that committee for their hard work.
We have also maintained a commitment to establishing more of a year-round presence in the lives of congregations and families. We recognize the impact that camp has the lives of youth, and we know that we can use that to help strengthen our congregations. Our Impact365 team was able to be a youth ministry and worship resource to many congregations. Now in its second year, the team is also focusing on equipping senior high leadership in the congregations. We launched our LutherPoint365 webpage, which is a resource for families to learn and grow together as they do activities centered on our theme at camp for the summer.
United together as one body, we can create a camp experience that isn’t just about a kid coming to camp, but that is also about camp and congregation working together to strengthen each other for the sake of God’s mission in the world. As we look around a changing Lutheran landscape, there is hope to be found in the gifts that both camp and congregation hold. If we partner to share these gifts, then we can look forward to knowing that the next generations will grow up with a meaningful life of faith.
Grace and Peace,
Jesse Weiss – Program Director