This post was submitted by our Sr. High Camp Dean, Justin Raymer.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20
Camp Ithiel holds a special place in my heart. At the end of camp, I immediately arrange to come back again the following year. Before we get into this summer’s activities, let me tell you a little about myself.
My name is Justin, and I am from the Jacksonville Church of the Brethren. I am married to the love of my life Patricia (who is also a camp counselor and dean), and have two sons, one of whom just attended his first year of Kids Camp! I have been coming to camp in one form or another for the past 33 years of my life, and was even married there. As a camper, a counselor, a Dorm Dad, and a dean, I have seen the camp grow into what it is today. Camp Ithiel is a major part of my life, and nothing makes me happier than sharing it with others. I’m so glad I was able to spend this week with the young adults that came.
This year’s Senior Camp was really special. I have always viewed camp as a safe space, and I think the campers recognized that. We (and especially our youth) are bombarded with so much today. Internet, TV, Radio, and Social Media pump news and info to us 24/7. We hardly have time to process what we see and hear. This break from the rest of the world really allowed the campers to reset and be themselves, their true selves. It was interesting to see them open up over the week. Friendships were formed, topics and issues were discussed, and thoughts and opinions were shared.
If you are a parent of guardian of one of the campers that attended Senior Camp this year, I encourage you to ask them questions. I know that’s sometimes easier said than done (I remember my parents asking me questions at their age, and being… resistant). Ask them questions about camp, ask them questions about their thoughts and opinions on religion, God, spirituality. I can assure you they have questions, sometimes it’s just hard to ask. Don’t worry if you don’t have the answer! Use that as a chance to find out together. Open a Bible, ask your Pastor, find a Pastor. Our children are sponges. They are influenced by so much. Help be the good that shapes them into the adults they need to be.
I hope this year’s campers had fun (I’m sure they did). The camp games and activities were really fun. Gunk Ball, Color Skirmish, and other camp games really keep us going. I also hope to see you all again next year! If you haven’t already, go like Camp Ithiel on Facebook! There are many more activities that take place at camp and it’s a good way to keep in touch throughout the year. “Family Peace Camp” is coming up, and all can attend!
In closing, I want to thank you for coming to Camp Ithiel. Thank you for allowing me to share this very special place with you and yours. I hope to see you again!
“Two roads diverged under all seeing skies. I took the one less traveled by.
Out of the box and over the fence, that’s what makes… all the difference.”