Unification News for November 2000

Pennsylvania Summer Camp 2000

Rob Sayre
New Tripoli, Pa.

Forty families and around 200 people from several states attended the 2000 PA Family Camp at Laurel Hill State Park. Laurel Hill is located approximately 1 hour east of Pittsburgh. This was a complex job, as we had never used Laurel Hill before and we had to haul the Camp kitchen and other stuff 5 hours and setup. Our thanks to everyone and most of all to Heavenly Father for making this Camp the best ever! The testimonies tell the story better than anything I would write.

Testimonies

What was the best experience you had at camp this year and why?

Mine was the singing and praying at the candlelight prayer. When we were singing it was so joyful. Then I remembered that was the meaning of this camp. So I think this camp was very successful. And at the candlelight prayer everything was quiet and peaceful, so you could get a deep prayer. My prayer I thought was very deep. Then I opened my eyes and wiped my tears and saw all the candles. I thought god and all our ancestors were really opened and very joyful like me.

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I really enjoyed being an assistant group leader. I felt that my heart really grew. I also really enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with other BCís and the chance to meet new ones.

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The prayer candle was my best experience. When we went out to pray I couldnít help but break out in repentance. I never prayed like that before.

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The best experience was talking with my brothers and sisters one night. We stayed up till 1am talking about god and life. It was really nice. Being with other BCís is encouraging.

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What is the most important thing you learned in the workshop classes and why do you think so?

I think it was the fall of man lecture before I really didnít understand what happened. But our great lecturer was very good at explaining I had no idea that Lucifer and Eve had a relationship. And then she knew she did things wrong. I didnít know she didnít say anything to God about it. Then she took Adam down with her. I didnít know any of that happened. But now I understand.

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I think the most important thing I learned was the history and how it repeats itself in different forms and how we must improve ourselves or it will never change.

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The four position foundation, because itís through that you can reach God and establish an ideal world.

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Well, it wasnít so much what I learned but what I relearned. I remembered that love is powerful and can control the world.

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What new goals or determinations do you have for the future?

One of my goals was to share and give my heart through the week at camp. Another one was to be joyful and have a fun time. Another one was to make a lot of friends. In this week I have accomplished all of my goals. And I plan to keep going in the future.

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I want to become a great onni. I really feel like a lot of the younger 2nd Generation kids would love to have us there supporting them.

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What parts of camp worked the best? What could be better?

I think the lecturing was the best because we had a very good teacher. He explained it so everyone could understand it. It think the sports could be more organized.

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The only thing I can think of to make the camp better would be to make it longer, but I also realize how much work everyone puts into it and I want you to know I really appreciate it.

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You should make camp longer. It seemed to fly by. I donít know if itís me but it seems shorter ever year.

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I liked having free time. It really helped me to bond with other 2nd generation kids. I donít know if it was my imagination, but the lecturers seemed more personal. It was difficult for me this year because I had boys (the writer was a group leader for a group of 6th-8th grade boys). But it wasnít that bad. I just didnít feel like I had anything to offer or give them. I felt more comfortable last year. But it was challenge and it wasnít all that bad. Also, it (camp) most definitely needs to be longer. Please, please, please, please make it longer. I think itís cruelly short because you just get to know people and then itís over.

Parental Testimony

By David Caprara

This was the best experience Iíve had to date in our movement with my son, at a Family Federation camp nestled in the western Pennsylvania Allegheny mountains. As Kyle Toffey observed, "God has been waiting a long time to experience the joy of family camp" (experiencing joy as the purpose of life is the theme of the camp week). The emphasis was upon an entire family experience, one of parental engagement in raising our kids in the faith (it is not a "kidís drop-off" camp, where in some other cases there have been reports of problems or a "gap" of communication experienced when the child returns after 1 week away from home). Linda Howell (who just returned from Jardim) & I agreed afterwards, it may be a "touch of Jardim."

Divine Principle and Prayer Experiences: The Pennsylvania Camp experience is rooted in solid Divine Principle education. There are several age groups and youths experience a "conventional" DP experience in a fun-filled natural setting, with lectures and spirited songs, discussion groups, reflections and skits. Noah Ross (along with Sally Sayre and the entire lecture staff) did an outstanding job, pouring out their hearts to the kids (and parents alike who were reborn!). The daily 3-hour lecture/discussion period is wrapped around abundant arts & crafts, sports/hiking, & family free-time which includes lake swimming or fishing, and evening programs around the campfire that reinforce the spiritual message and overall theme of joyful family experience with God and brothers and sisters. The Principle content and experience of being a part of the Family Federation at this camp is one that the kids embraced enthusiastically. Many new friendships were formed by both the kids with each other, and among the parents who had many small discussions in the kitchen & around the fire all week.

One evening campfire was devoted to a testimonial by Mrs. Betsy Bonini about life of faith, prayer and internal guidance. This was followed by the lighting of prayer candles, and each child was encouraged to fan out a short distance from the fire for personal prayer time (with scores of lights brightening the forest!). This was very moving, and Mrs. Boniniís testimony along with my explanations to my son helped to explain the many ways God provides signs and answers prayers.

2nd Generation Experiences and the PLA: Eleven 2nd generation teens provided strong role model examples throughout the camp experience, as group assistants, guitar "choir" & cheering section, etc. Their many roles and skits provided great inspiration for the younger kids, and showed them it is "cool" being part of a Unificationist family.

Pure Love Alliance was in strong form throughout the week, with six of the kids (including 2 Sayre daughters) having just come off the PLA summer tour. Rachel Bonini testified powerfully of her desire to join the STF as a result of PLA. My 11-year old son "caught the bug" & expressed a strong desire to join the PLA when he is of age.

There was also a special "PLA tour report" session and other testimonials by the youth throughout the week.

Low Cost and Team Leadership: The PA Camp is very economical ($100 per person including food & lodging for the week). This is attributable to the incredible "bargain" of the low state park group rental fee ($90), and more so to the 100% volunteer, cooperative spirit of the many family members who have taken on all of the roles in the camp for the past several years (housing and kitchen coordinators, lecture coordinators, etc. all the way to songbooks, lecture material, and laminated name tags that were color-coded for each group). All participating families join in to contribute their time & many gifts as conference staff.

The joy and reliability of this camp experience is buttressed by an incredible attention to detail, hard work, and advance planning that went into it by the organizers. This includes attendance (by those who can make it) at fall and spring weekend planning weekends that include added family camping fun.

Families from Several Regions Joined Together: This camp included (my unofficial count was around 200 participants) families from Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and probably 1-2 other states. Included in the group were city leaders and ACC activists, many "home town providence" members, church business members, etc.

A key strength of this camp is that it is entirely organized by blessed families on a committed basis, with the strong blessing & encouragement of regional director Reverend Hong and the state leader, Rev. Norris Izumi from Philadelphia. True Children have stated to a couple of camp participants, "you donít need permission to take responsibility in forming a camp education experience for your children." This spirit of empowerment & responsibility taken on by families for the spiritual upbringing of our children is even more serious in view of reports that Camp Sunrise in New York may be closed next year.

Overall Reflection: My summation is that the PA Summer Camp is a strong model for the nation, and that it is the very beginning point of a parent-inspired movement to save the second generation whose attrition rate is so tragically high. God was powerfully present throughout the week, evidencing His desire to renew our blessed family relationships in the upbringing of our children, and America. I had a deep experience of True Parentsí presence during prayer at the camp.

Achieving this degree of success was not rocket science Ė but solid, parental investment along with Principle and prayer, and lots of joy Ė an investment that must be made on a consistent, annualized basis throughout our childrenísí upbringing.

PA Camp was founded in a "pup tent" experience 6 years ago by 10 blessed families, who grew their vision and system of education each year. At the center of it was the incredible offering and hard work of Rob and Sally Sayre, along with the Kyle & Cynthia Toffee and the Pickellís. A number of families wore baseball caps with "PA Summer Camp Ė 5 year anniversary" on them.

With the help of participating families and new ones from our region(s), it can be multiplied into 2 camps next year at Laurel Hill (western PA) & Shehaqua (Poconos), and other "seed camps" that are springing up elsewhere. Washington, D.C. area families may wish to join in providing leadership and organizational support to other PA Camp organizers gravitating to the Laurel Hill, PA location, just 3 hours from the Beltway. I believe building on this present momentum may be far easier than "starting from scratch" elsewhere.

I welcome additional expressions of interest for a Virginia-Maryland-DC organizing committee to support this camp experience for next year, and you may also wish to contact Patsy Casino in Virginia or the Wilkeningís in Maryland about their experiences.

Plans for the Future

Fall Weekend at Shehaqua: Approximately 70 Summer Camp regulars (including kids) met at Shehaqua the weekend of Sept. 22-24, 2000. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss strategies to turn over the overall management of the Camp to a larger group, how to implement a Camp at both Laurel Hill and Shehaqua next year and to generally discuss how to improve the Camp and move forward.

A 2nd Gen. Workshop was held with 20 kids in attendance. This was led by Liz Bonini and Laurel Sayre. See article below. Here is a summary of the discussions and decisions we made.

Notes from the Fall Planning Session

To facilitate two Camps and the evolving nature of the Summer Camp, we decided to spread out the management of the Camp itself and the pre-Camp planning and communications.

Rob & Sally Sayre will still be responsible for submitting the applications to the State of Pennsylvania, recruiting the key members of the management group, determining the overall budget, and sending out the first mailing for the Camp, on or around April 15. They will also actively support the establishment of Laurel Hill as a regular Summer Camp site, primarily to be used by folks in the Washington, DC and surrounding areas. They are also working on organizing a pre-Camp adventure experience for older kids and a post camp Community Service experience as a way to "make camp longer." We will need help to pull this off. This was the overwhelming request by the kids this year. They want more! See my thoughts on this below.

Responses, deposits and all payments for Shehaqua will be sent to Chris Ching. Chris is assuming the role of registrar for the Shehaqua Camp, housing assignments and maintaining the mailing list. Change of address information should be sent to him.

Bruce Bonini will serve as the Treasurer. Chris will send the checks to Bruce who will maintain the account, balance the checking account and disburse funds as per the budget we establish each year.

Robert Pickell will act as the Camp Director and be responsible for all the practical and physical aspects for Shehaqua.

The Educational Group, those who will plan the lectures and core content of the Camp at Shehaqua will be Noah Ross, Sally Sayre, Jeannie Carroll, Hedwig Ching and Sarah Ribble. If you are interested in serving in this capacity, contact one of these very able people.

Rod Cameron asked to head up the Crafts next year, so we already have a solid group.

We also discussed using the Spring Planning Meeting for two purposes. One is for the management group named above and others to make decisions on where to place parents in their respective roles and also on the groups. Rob and Sally will no longer make those decisions. We also decided to provide a training session on "How to be an Effective Group Leader." This session will include group dynamics and other tools to teach adults and 2nd generation kids how to lead groups. This will be lead by Ann Hoover and Nina Magnin. For more information, stay tuned and contact them.

Two Camps

Shehaqua is located in Eastern, PA, approximately two hours west of NYC. This will be used primarily for those living in New York, New Jersey and Eastern, PA. Laurel Hill is located approximately 1 hour east of Pittsburgh and approximately 3 hours from Washington, DC and Cleveland, Ohio. Each Camp will occur at different times, so it will be possible to attend either. With the blessing of Rev. In-Hoi Lee in Washington, the Camp at Laurel Hill will be known as the Mid-Atlantic Region Family Camp. The intention is to keep the same schedule, format and spirit that has been established. We will also share our kitchen, sports and other equipment we have purchased over the years. Under the leadership of David Caprara and Loretta Schauffler, we will actively support this new initiative. We would also encourage those experienced campers in MD, VA, OH, WV and Western PA to get involved with this Camp. In the long run, this will be a wise investment of your time. Details on this will be forthcoming.

For those interested in helping establish a regular Summer Camp at Laurel Hill, contact David Caprara at 540-891-4186 or DavidCap@aol.com or Loretta Schauffler at 301-794-3514 or HGSchauff@aol.com

The overwhelming response from the kids was, "make camp longer, we want to spend more time together!" A nice problem to have. Since it is almost impossible to book Shehaqua or Laurel Hill for consecutive weeks, the only solution I have come up with is to organize a pre-Camp adventure type activity for older kids and adventurous families. After this, they would join their families and everyone else at Shehaqua or Laurel Hill. These would probably be a tent camping experience or a longer and more exciting outdoor adventure.

For a post Camp experience, I would like to organize a meaningful community service experience in Philadelphia, Allentown or other inner city area. I would like to give the kids and families a taste of how "in need" some people are both physically and spiritually. I know we are often ignorant about how blessed we really are. If you interested in helping with this or would like to participate, contact Rob Sayre. I believe this can be as meaningful and important as the Summer Camp itself.

The 2nd generation kids want to organize several activities in the coming year. This could include using Shehaqua or Laurel Hill for a 2nd generation organized workshop or event. If you would like to participate in this or are interested, contact Liz Bonini at 570-595-7844 or Laurel Sayre at 610-298-2919 or dove314@yahoo.com. We also need parents to serve as Advisors for these functions. Call Rob or Sally if you would like to be an Advisor.

Help Wanted

Kitchen Planning and Cooking is the toughest job at Camp, no question. In four years we have had three cooks. All were very different and all did a great job. We would like to recruit at least two people per Camp to handle all the work as well as one for the Spring Planning and Fall Workshop. We also would like to have a team of people who can help out with the kitchen in a variety of ways. If you feel called to do this or would at least like to talk about the possibility, call Rob or Sally Sayre.

A Word of Thanks

People at the Summer Camp who worked heroically with little recognition were: Geoffrey Hinkle organized the kitchen. I had never seen a "food sculpture" before! Was that amazing or what? Claire Hinkle organized the Il-Shim ceremony. Nina and Michel Magnin worked with the Comets and Sports and always bring their bright spirits and warm hearts. Kevin Convery and Robert Pickell lead the hikes and made this a wonderful experience. Cynthia Toffey and Rod Cameron organized the crafts. Kyle led the Adult Discussions, led songs and so much more. Bruce Bonini, Chris Ching, Robert Pickell and Michel Magnin lugged mattresses. Our teachers were Noah Ross, Sally Sayre, Jeannie Carroll, Sarah Ribble and Heddy Ching. They all did a great job. The McKnights brought their beautiful music and children. I would come just to hear them. Joel Lindstrum brought his bass guitar and led some jam sessions. Kathy Ross was "on-call" during camp as the nurse. Chad and Ann Hoover were the advisors for the High School group. All the 2nd Generation kids who served as Group Leaders. We really have raised up our own kids into leadership roles.

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