Articles From the August 1995 Unification News
Camp Harmony is the Hottest Ever!
by June Orland Kiburz-Westchester, IL
Little did we know how hot our 7-day Principle workshop was going to be. Without thermometer, TV or newspaper we couldn't know exactly, but we later discovered that we were participating in a heatwave with record-breaking highs of upwards of 106 degrees. Regardless of that, campers and staff found many creative ways in nature to beat the heat and we all grew closer through the shared experience.
This year we sponsored a 7-day Principle experience at Camp Harmony, Illinois, from July 9th through July 15th for those children between the ages of 10 and 14. Though we missed the younger age children, we realized we could teach inner content to this age group that is not usually received by the little ones. We invited all the children from both Region 5 and Region 6 and had a very good response of children attending. Our difficulty was that we could not find enough adult staff this year. We had to limit the number of children, since the child to staff ratio was not acceptable to allow for the personal attention the children need for a high quality and safe camp experience.
My parents, Drs. Frank and Phyllis Orland, extended their help with the preparations for the camp, as Camp Harmony was held at our family farm in northwestern Illinois on a bluff overlooking beautiful Lost Lake. Mrs. Kathleen Sometani, along with my husband and myself, coordinated the camp program. We are so grateful to the five adult staff members for all their fine help.
We received 29 children this year, ranging in age from 10 to 14, with a team of younger age children (the younger children of the staff members). We feel that the internal unity of heart of the staff provided a clear spiritual foundation for the camp experience where all the three kingships could be represented: grandparents, parents and children.
Children attended from six states: Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Kathleen and I team-taught the Divine Principle lessons and together with the staff of five we all helped with team leading, morning exercises, craft instruction, kitchen work and water safety. Alanna Kim and my mother gave their hearts in food preparation; John and Claudine Wojtiewicz led the boys' team; and Kathleen Sometani, assisted by Susan Edwards, led one of the two girls' teams while I led the other.
We creatively adapted our formal teaching styles to this mixed age group by using objects from the creation, flannelboard pictures, illustrations and stories from various books, the markerboard, and videotapes on aspects of the Principle. With the expertise of two Montessori teachers and two Sunday School teachers, we had a wide range of teachings styles and experience to rely upon. This 7-day camp allowed us the time to teach more in-depth on the Principle of Creation, the Fall, the Mission of Jesus, the Principles of Restoration, the courses of Jacob, Joseph and Moses, True Parents' lives, and projects of the Unification Movement, enhanced by staff members sharing their personal experiences in the movement.
Morning service was always a fresh and vital time with several unique and creative approaches to offering our day to God. Kathleen Sometani nearly lost her voice by the end of camp because she gave so enthusiastically with her talents in instruction, singing and guitar playing. My mother, Dr. Phyllis Orland, enjoyed teaching the children a nature lesson on the native plants and animals, including poison ivy and deer and wood ticks. She's wonderful to have on hand, not only because she's my mom and a physician, but because she lovingly cares for each child's scrapes, slivers and homesick or hurt feelings that do come up.
To help encourage building heavenly relationships, we developed two fresh, new teaching aids. The first was the "validation board" and the second was "secret pals," which some campers who attended Camp Sunrise last year highly recommended. The validation board consists of a poster board with a business envelope attached for each person, including the staff. Each person decorated their envelopes in their own unique way. Then we filled out special slips of paper telling another person how we appreciate and love them, such as "I cherish you because..." or "I applaud you because..." and placed these in another's envelope. What a boost at the end of a day to check our envelopes and receive admiration and support. Sometimes it's so rare that we affirm one another directly, adults included! The children and staff particularly enjoyed picking a "secret pal" and serving that person for two days. I heard many campers received meals and drinks served to them without my asking, along with special notes and treats in their envelopes. Then came the excitement of revealing the secret identities. It was tough work for most of us to figure out our secret pals-we all did a great job of serving secretly.
This year we involved the teams in the set-up and take-down of the meals and overall cleanup. This helped immensely and allowed our youngsters the opportunity to participate in taking responsibility. Other activities included swimming every day and more unique outings such as hiking in Clear Creek, climbing Castle Rock (which overlooks the Rock River), nature trails, T-shirt painting, various crafts with yarn and popsicle sticks, still-life painting, bead loom work, volleyball and berry-picking. Two raccoon families even visited us! One set of raccoon babies was so unafraid that we could get very close to them. They were very sweet!
We had a great time getting to know one another. Shared experiences such as creative ways to beat the heat during lessons (lots of fans, freeze-pops-so sweet-and face splashes with cold well-water along with daily swims cooling off in Lost Lake) allowed us to feel close, like a family. One evening closed with a songfest around a roaring campfire at which we indulged in the melted chocolate-marshmallow-graham cracker stickiness of s'mores, a favorite American camp treat. Too sweet!
Our graduation ceremony with parents attending was highlighted by delightful skits that each team presented. The boys' play was called "The Battle of the Thoughts," where armies of "good thoughts" and "bad thoughts" battled it out on stage. The boys began to understand the inner conflict as well as their control over it. The older girls' team produced two plays: "Praying" which taught that prayer is a conversation with God, and "I'm Nice to Everybody" which showed us that what we learn about kindness must be practiced before it becomes real. My team of girls performed "Hilda the Good-for-Nothing Bunny" which illustrated that differences in looks and abilities are positive and part of what makes everyone special. It also taught how damaging put-downs are. Watching the performances and the ways the children creatively expressed their roles with costumes and props was everything from charming to hilarious!
Camp Harmony 1995 was organized through the combined foundations of Kathleen Sometani's Sunday School program and the Kiburz's Tribal Messiah work, and offered to all church members and families of Regions 5 and 6 and their guests. In many ways, the summer camp was truly a Family Federation event, with parents working together and with my family (the Orlands) participating. The parents paid all the fees to cover the expenses of the camp, and staff members stayed free of charge.
I marvel each year at how the children change and grow and develop their relationships with one another. Many maintain pen-pals to keep the friendships alive from camp. I believe these relationships will sustain them as they meet their challenges during the year.
Through this summer camp experience offered to the children, I could understand that now is the time for us to take creative initiative to support one another in relationship. Our True Parents have given a great vision, and now our heavenly desires, expressed with strong, clear intention, can manifest in a world of pure love. The key principle learned from the children is the building of reciprocal relationships with God and with one another.
My husband and I have made a videotape of Camp Harmony 1995. The tape contains selected, memorable scenes from the lessons, crafts and outings. If you would like to receive a copy, send $12.00 (includes shipping and handling). Likewise, at your request, we can send you camp materials to help prepare a camp in your local area. Make checks payable to: Jack Kiburz, 1801 Buckingham Ave., Westchester, IL 60154.
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