Even if for a moment


At the beginning of the year, just as we saw things turning a corner, Omicron came at us fast and we shut down the office and worked from home all through January.  However, during this time, a youth home reached out and asked if we could plan a 4-day camp for their students because they’ve been cooped up in their youth home for so long.  Many of the students weren’t able to return home to their families for a quick break because of the recent Covid outbreak.  So instead, we agreed to put on a camp for them and drove the two hours south to their mountain camp-site.   

This camp was also the first opportunity to have our new staff join us for a camp experience, especially since last year’s big annual camp had to be canceled.  It was encouraging to see our new staff engage with the students through sports and also step up and volunteer to teach the older students.  In addition to our new staff members, we also invited some older students from our God First transitional group to help us out.  

Seeing these kids who grew up at a youth home now investing back into kids living at a youth home felt like an incredible milestone of the ministry that we’ve built here. 

Many of the high schoolers still living at this youth home are eager for anything that would bring a change in their circumstances.  They want to leave their youth home and quit school. Some want to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, since they are not allowed to be in a relationship while at their youth home.  At camp, during free time, our God First students and our staff were able to talk to students about college and what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives.  

Even if it was for just a moment, having others in their lives who went through the same experience made it a little easier to move forward and stay committed to school and themselves.

Because of knowing these students and everything that they’re going through, our staff purposefully centered the whole week around our identity in Christ and how we experience our feelings with God.   On the first day, the older kids described their favorite feelings to one another.  One of the boys said he likes to feel lonely because then he can’t ever be disappointed.  

But on the last day, all of the older students were instructed to draw pictures of how they were feeling.  The same boy who initially said he liked to feel lonely added a little caption under his picture.  It said, “Today is good.  I’m not lonely.” 

An added bonus from this camp was that half of the youth home staff were able to take a break.  These staff have scarcely gotten a break during Covid because most of them are teachers on site at the youth home.  But thankfully, the camp gave these staff an opportunity to find rest, while the other half got a break after camp. 

We hope, as everyone returns to their normal routines after camp, that we all would continue to reflect on our identity in Christ and how that gives meaning to each day.