What happens when you gather 48 youth, 2 youth leaders and their families, 2 deans and 1 fantastic speaker at a camp immersed in God’s creation?
You get a mountain top moment. These moments can be described as a time of joy, reflection and close connection with God.
Two weeks ago, youth from all over our synod gathered at beautiful Glen Mhor Camp, part of the Cairn Family of camps, to experience a time away from technology and be fully immersed in creation.
Friday night we started with big games as we introduced ourselves to new friends and learned more about each other. After learning each other’s names and playing in these games, we went right into introductions and worship. From the very beginning, there was this incredible wide-spread feeling of acceptance and enthusiasm to grow with each other. The group connected early on and we truly knew that we were called together at Glen Mhor to be exactly who we are.
An interesting game of tag where the person who was “it” had to act like an animal or do a certain dance move while everyone had to follow while trying to not get caught!
After worship and a delicious fruit nacho snack, we went straight into campfire. It was so wonderful to see everyone loosen up and be able to sing at the top of their lungs! After a devotion, we went straight to bed for a big day on Saturday.
Sometimes people get a bit too into campfire songs (and cause others to hide in fear)
Saturday morning we started off with a quick pump-up to get us excited for the day! After sharing breakfast together, we helped do a number of work projects around the campsite to give back to the community. From painting to chucking logs in the woods, we channeled our inner Survivorman while facing the misty rain!
It’s work project time, and this team is rocking it!
After our work project, we went straight into worship. We sang, prayed and laughed together. Our wonderful speaker, Rev. Kristine O’Brien helped us understand our connection with God through creation. After Kristine’s theme speak, we split up into discussion groups where we talked about our interaction with creation, listened to each other, and formed new friendships in our tight-knit groups.
Kristine speaking about our relationship with creation.
After lunch, we had a giant activity rotation between Glen Mhor’s new high ropes, swimming in Echo Lake, canoeing on Echo lake, tie dye and playing sports around the campsite. Participants had a great time floating to whatever activity they liked the best!
Teamwork at High Ropes!
After our wide activity, we had another worship, theme speak and discussion group time. We had a hearty dinner of chicken pot pie, and went straight into a PYPS-wide capture the flag version of the Hunger Games! Needless to say, participants got REALLY into it!
After our intense outside game, we went straight into “extreme crafting” where participants tried to create nearly impossible crafts from Pinterest.
In our evening campfire, we enjoyed our fellowship together as many participants shared their musical gifts. We ended our evening with a devotion talking about youth’s unique place in the church, knowing that we are needed here and have so much to contribute.
Right before the singing started (and I mean seconds before!), the wind blew the lodge’s doors open. Jokingly saying “God? Is that you??,” everyone laughed and we knew we were surrounded by the Spirit.
Saturday morning we awoke to the sound of a bagpipe and saxophone duet (yes, that’s right)! When participants least expected it, “Cat Man” ran out of the bushes and led us in a morning Zumba session!
Cat Man in all his glory!
We had a fantastic breakfast, started to pack up our things and celebrated communion in our last worship, theme speak and discussion group time. In Kristine’s final theme speak, she helped us see that sometimes, we just need to come back and reconnect.
“Almost everything will work again you unplug it for a few minutes…even you.” – Anne Lamott
We had such an incredible weekend together. I am continually reminded that God is doing wonderful things at PYPS and is working through all of our participants as we enjoy our fellowship together, try new things and further develop our faith with like-minded peers.
This weekend would not have been possible without Camp Cairn’s dedicated staff who went above and beyond to welcome us not only to their site, but into their community. For all of the youth leaders, parents, Ministers and mentors who suggested PYPS to new Participants, thank you. Thank you to Rev. Alex and Rev. Emily Bisset who tirelessly supported youth throughout the weekend, and for their ongoing support for participants and executive members. Thank you to Rev. Kristine O’Brien for sharing your moving words with us as we re-thought our relationship with creation. Your theme speaks inspired us and taught us a new way of thinking about creation.
Last of all thank you to all of the youth who attend this event! YOU are the heart and soul of PYPS, the future of the church, and light of the world. As we come down this mountain together, let’s remember the joy we shared and closeness to God we experienced as a community of faith.
Thanks for the great weekend everyone!