SEP So Cal
This report is from SEP So Cal camp directors Anne and Mark Stapleton.
This summer SEP So Cal had 158 campers and 87 staff. We celebrated our 14th year as a GenMin camp, our fifth year meeting at Pine Valley Bible Conference Center (near San Diego), and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP camp in Orr, Minnesota.
In keeping with the EPIC Story theme of GenMin’s 2015 camp curriculum, we used the idea of “story” to tell the story of SEP, using a timeline that stretched around the room (see below). As part of an opening celebration we pointed beyond the camp story and made sure that every camper and staff member knew they were part of the EPIC Story of God. To symbolize that inclusion, we had each person get up during a worship segment and place a colored dot on the timeline near the year they were born.
As in years past, this summer SEP So Cal was wonderfully diverse. We had participants age 18 months to early 70s; and participants who are African-American, Asian, Filipino, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Caucasian. Sixteen states were represented at camp.
This year we added a horse program and rappelling for junior campers. For the senior campers we continued our equipping tracks where each chose a track to further their skills, education and ministry. The goal of these tracks is equipping youth to return to their home church, community and other places of influence so they can contribute to the growth of others, participate in church life, and simply help make the world a better place.
Pathways Camp, Ohio
This report is from Pathways camp director Aaron Frim.
In keeping with the EPIC Story theme, Pathways camp was once again an amazing experience. We had 49 senior campers, 27 junior campers and 8 mini-campers served by 54 staff members. About 20% of the staff members were first-timers. Pastor Jeff Broadnax served as camp chaplain, giving most of the chapel messages. There was much positive feedback from campers regarding the EPIC Story curriculum. That curriculum was adapted for use with the junior campers with Gary Weldon serving as story-teller.
Camp activities included archery, swimming, team-building, laser tag, woodworking, and dodge-ball. This summer we added bubble-ball (see picture at left). Once again we had life-equipping tracks for senior campers in photography, video, self-defense, worship, and missions. The missions track, led by Pastor Terry McDonald, was enhanced by the presence of two staffers and one camper from Colombia who came to Pathways to learn about running a camp in their own country.
In keeping with the missions theme, senior campers teamed up with 37 disadvantaged children from the local county who came to Pathways for an afternoon. Pastor Carrie Smith spearheaded this outreach, which has been going on at Pathways for several years. Carrie also led our inaugural CREW—a program in which we equip senior campers to become future staff members.
One day during camp we encountered a medical emergency and a torrential rainstorm. The combination reminded us that we are blessed to have on staff a registered nurse and three EMT/firefighters. One of our campers became ill and had to be transported to the hospital. Though he had to spend the night there, he was fine. That same night a storm flooded all roads in and out of camp and part of the camp grounds. We were left considering the reason behind these events. What was God’s plan, how did it fit into his EPIC Story? Perhaps it was the conversations that occurred between people later. Perhaps it was to prepare us to better face similar situations in the future. It definitely helped Pathways financially. The managers at the facility we use for camp decided to deduct one day’s rent, savings Pathways several thousands of dollars. In any event, we were reminded of God’s love and protection.