Articles From the July 1995 Unification News


Ninth Annual Family Camp a "Shimjeung Success"!

by Kristina Seher-Berkeley, CA

With the blessings and leadership of the Rev. Sung San Lee, the Northern California Unification community conducted the ninth annual Family Camp at the historic Aetna Springs Resort in Napa, California from June 27 to July 2. One hundred twenty five children ages 2-12 participated, along with their parents. Families came from Arizona, Alaska and Seattle, as well as southern and northern California. Special thanks go to Aetna Springs Directors Casey and Robin Cox, who prepared the camp and made everyone feel so welcome!

Each morning, campers studied Principle Life Education, Art, and Science. This year the Principle Life Education themes were Respect, Courage, Forgiveness, Faith and Sacrifice. Campers wrote about how they grew spiritually. One girl wrote, "I enjoyed the morning service when Uncle Ray (Martin) talked about life giving you a lemon and making it into lemonade, because when I'm upset and I don't want anyone near me, I miss out on fun things. So I learned to try and participate in things." Superb programs in Science were taught by Poppy Richie and Gerrie Linek, and in Art by Robin Cox and Carol Clive. All the parents who participated were very impressed by the professional level of teaching that went on in all the classes for children aged 2-12.

Evening program activities included a wild and exciting game of Capture the Flag, led by Steve Tidwell and Rutherford Smith; dancing the Virginia Reel with Sheri Reuter as caller and Casey Cox and myself as country musicians; a carnival with 10 different games at which campers won tickets redeemable for prizes; a treasure hunt with clues hidden all over the camp; and a heartwarming production of the Lion King directed by Beth Morrison and Susan Munsell. During all these whole-camp activities, older campers were encouraged to take care of young ones, and young ones to respect elders. One older camper wrote: "I grew spiritually when I helped the little kids at the carnival. That night I had a dream that I could fly."

Senior campers (age 9 and up) enjoyed a special wilderness overnight, at which they dug their own latrines, built a fire and cooked their dinner over it, and slept under the shooting stars. Early the next morning they headed to the American River for a thrilling day of river rafting with 11 dads and three moms. The water was crystal clear and very, very cold, as the Sierra snow pack is at the peak of its melting after an extraordinarily snowy winter. Every single river rafter mentioned the trip in his/her evaluation. "I liked the whitewater rafting because it was a good experience to learn how to work as a team," wrote one camper. Another wrote, "River rafting was my favorite activity because it involved good battle planning and you never knew what would happen next!" (The battle planning is how your raft can sneak up on another raft and squirt them with your water cannons before they get you wet.)

The high points for me personally were praying with other brothers and sisters each day at the Holy Ground in the pristine early morning; and precious conversations with other staff members and parents, whether over a meal, floating lazily in the perfect temperature of the swimming lake (not too cold, but not too warm), sitting in the spa, or watching toddlers in the preschool play area. We talked for hours about how to fulfill our Tribal Messiahships, about our collective responsibility to raise blessed children to be faithful to True Parents, and about how to create more of a Shimjeung community, a community of heart, in our everyday lives. I think our unity and happiness with Heavenly Father and each other permeated the camp. One child wrote, "The best part about camp for me is having aunts and uncles and elders for parents." A 6th-grade boy wrote: "I felt like I was very close to God at this camp." It truly was a Shimjeung experience for everyone. Thank you, Heavenly Father and True Parents!


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