Many youth coming to camps want to learn about social justice issues
At N-Sid-Sen Camp and Conference Center on Lake Coeur d'Alene, managing director Mark Boyd sees an increased desire among youth coming to camps to be connected to social justice issues.
"While they may be stepping away from the world for a chance to breathe and relax, issues are important and are the focus of discussions," he said.
"Peace Works" is the 2019 theme campers will reflect on in five weeks of UCC camps—two weeks of youth camps and three weeks of family camps.
Summer staff includes three from Turkey, one from Poland and one from England, coming through Camp America to be part of the hospitality team providing food service and housekeeping.
"We do not distinguish between guests and the hospitality team/staff. All are partners and connect with each other in the setting," said Mark, who came to N-Sid-sen in 2012 after being on the staff of Pilgrim Firs, the other camp of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ.
He has seen a slight growth in numbers overall, with family camps growing quickly.
The United Church of Christ Conference's outdoor ministries program is now holding all the traditional, age-based youth camps at N-Sid-Sen so Pilgrim Firs in Port Orchard, Wash., could establish "Common Fire," a service camp in the Kitsap Community.
Last year, one youth group came. This summer, two youth groups are coming, one from Minneapolis and one from a conference church.
"Both of our camps are encouraging churches to 'come home' to our camps by coming to weekend retreats, often sharing the facilities with other churches as opportunities for members to become better acquainted," said Mark.
About 45 percent of camp use is by other faith groups—including Catholics, Unity, Unitarians, Buddhists, Sufis and evangelical churches—as well as nonprofits, schools and other groups.
"We consider all who use the camp as partners," Mark said.
For many years, the East Side Coeur d'Alene Fire Department held a dinner at N-Sid-Sen. Now it has a deeper partnership. This year it built a new dock for the camp and has a boathouse at the end for one of its fireboats that serve people on and along the lake.
For information, call 208-689-3489 or visit n-sid-sen.org.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June, 2019