The Words of the Yakawich Family

Young Unificationists Find Adventure and Faith at Camp Tongil

Mike Yakawich
July 27, 2010
Pastor of the Unification Church in Billings, MT

Unificationist youth from 8 to 13 years of age stretched their muscles and their faith from July 11th to July 17th at Camp Tongil in Cornet Bay State Park in Washington State. By all accounts, it was an awesome experience for the so-called second generation youth from the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Montana, Canada, and as far away as Washington D.C., Boston and California, who participated in this educational and fun-filled camp. This year's theme was, "Living as True Brothers and True Sisters."

The camp, directed by Mrs. Jane Bowman, provided amazing Divine Principle lectures, great activities, fantastic food and wonderful fellowship. The 55 campers, suited up in colored tee shirts, which denoted their teams, were mentored all week by 15 second-generation teen counselors and assistant counselors. Additional support was provided by Counselors-in-Training (CITs). The camp also was staffed by 15 parent volunteers.

The District Leader of the Unification Church in the Northwest, Rev. Larry Krishnek, brought to the camp a message about "opportunity." In his opening words, he spoke on the value of opportunities provided by the Camp: opportunities for parents, teens and children alike to make new friends, to find God more deeply, and to form deeper bonds of heart as a community.

Entertaining lectures were provided by Ms. Chun Mi Araki from Seattle, Washington, Pastor Mike Yakawich of Montana, and Ms. Mina Pollmann of Vancouver, Washington. Skits, power points, and experiential education conveyed the inspirational content of the Divine Principle. Two lectures were provided each morning, followed by afternoons filled with arts and crafts, canoeing, swimming, hiking, sports and beach combing. Each team worked together throughout the week to present a skit on Thursday night. Every skit they improvised was funny, entertaining and educational.

Two-Day Mountain Challenge

Each year the oldest group of campers (eighth graders) goes out on a Mountain Challenge hike for two days. Under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. David and Mitsue Wolfenberger, they slept under the stars at a state campground near Hamilton, WA . The next day, they hiked 12 miles on trails and through mountain wilderness, and in the evening gathered around an open fire for food and internal guidance . The following day, after morning service, they got filled up with another internal-guidance lecture, ate breakfast and went swimming in Baker Lake.

The camp concluded on Friday evening, July 16, 2010, with an awards night. Rev. Krishnek and Mrs. Bowman presented certificates and accolades to all the campers, counselors, and staff. The evening closed with a candle-lit circle under the stars, with young and old alike singing, offering prayers and three cheers of gratitude to God. For the final morning service on Saturday, we offered a burning ceremony with prayers of repentance, forgiveness, and joy God to conclude our week together.

Some comments we heard from the counselors included, "I really felt God working with my younger brothers and sisters!" One camper told me that "It was so wonderful to be with my friends and making new friends." Another camper told me: "Over camp, taking care of my team, I learned so much, but most of all, the heart of a parent. Everyone felt the love of Heavenly Father and our True Parents. As Rev. Krishnek commented in his final words to the campers, "You all look so much different after just one week at camp. It looks like you have True-Love cosmetics on!"

Special thanks is due to Mrs. Keiko Pisano, who led the kitchen volunteers; AV specialist and musician Mr. Brian Granstrom; Mr. Kenny Wolfenberger, and Ms. Michiko Araki who led many of the exciting activities, including the CIT program, and to Mrs. Nancy Belot and Ms. Shinuen Dehen for leading arts and crafts. We are grateful to all those who participated and volunteered their time and efforts to create such a joyful and memorable experience for the Blessed Children of our region, and especially to God, who's ever present guidance and protection ensured a safe, uplifting and unforgettable camp. 

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