Articles from the September 1997 Unification News
Youth Explosion at Camp Sunrise
by: Dr. Kathy Winings, Education Consultant, Curriculum Developer
Ah-h-h-h. . . the signs of summer. The smell of hamburgers on an outdoor grill. Mr. Softees distinctive song. Mom and Dad running back and forth from baseball practice to soccer games, dance lessons, gymnastics, the neighborhood pool, and Timbuktu-or so it seems. Higher electric bills-from the use of air conditioners and fans. And of course the all-American favorite-summer camp!
This year, the hills of Harriman State Park rang loud and clear with the sound of over 200 young voices at Camp Sunrise. With the support of Jin Hun Nim, Rev. Joong Hyun Pak and Rev. Eric Holt in New York, Camp Sunrise was destined to be a success. Created and directed by Brian Sabourin and myself, two different programs were held from July 19th to August 10th.
The first program was the one week 9-11 year old program. The theme this year was: "Becoming Heroes for God." We had 116 campers that were divided into 12 teams. The vision of the program this year was for the children to not only experience God in the beauty of creation and to develop some sense of how they could become heroes in Gods eyes, but we wanted the children to have fun and make new friends. In other words-to learn how fun and exciting camp can be!
Our standard for becoming heroes for God was taken from True Parents teachings: having a God-centered vision and purpose, becoming filial sons and daughters, patriots for the nation, saints for the world, and divine sons and daughters. A great deal of time was spent on learning to listen to God as well as discovering how these young boys and girls could live like Gods heroes everyday.
Besides the teaching sessions in the morning, the campers enjoyed sports, hiking, arts and crafts, fishing, camp fires and some new and different activities. What were some of these "special activities?" This year, we introduced a service scavenger hunt which encouraged the children to think about living for the sake of others. African night, taught by UTS student Henry Kiryowa from Uganda, introduced the children to the beauty and richness of the African culture. The "body balloon burst" taught a powerful lesson in what it means to be the body of God and unity. And of course, how could you have camp without the ever-popular campfire.
By the end of the week, it seemed that the campers not only learned some powerful lessons, but they gained many new friends and-HAD FUN! Of course, one of the reasons the campers had such a good experience was due to the tremendous staff of counselors and support aides. Parents, UTS students and older second generation gave of themselves generously and taught the campers the real meaning of Gods heroes by their example.
The second camp for ages 12-16 began on the heels of the first program-July 26th. Holding the registration at 88 teens, we were ready to begin our 2 week program. Again, the theme was similar to Program I with a slight addition: "Becoming Heroes for God-Going the Distance."
Because we had two weeks, there was more time to focus on key characteristics and challenges the our teens face in todays culture. The morning teaching sessions focused on such topics as: Experiencing the Heart of God, What are the Qualities of a Hero for God, The Vital Aspects of Spiritual Growth, Strengthening our Conscience, Recognizing Fallen Nature and Original Nature, and Discovering True Parents Life as Heroes for God.
The program this year did not rely on long lectures and the traditional workshop style of learning. Rather, we challenged the campers through interactive learning, profound discussions, activities, and presentations. The vision of the camp was to guide and encourage the teens to become mature young men and women of God.
New to the program this year was an all day challenge hike led by Keith McMurty and an all day service project. The project served a neighboring camp that was sponsored by Homes for the Homeless. For the first week, the camp was involved in a "color war"-a program in which the whole camp of teens and staff are divided into one of 2 colors. Various activities and events then were designated as part of the color war program and points were earned by the color side who won the designated event. It was a great spirit builder and skill challenger. The teens also got to participate in one of the New York City Pure Love Alliance rally which was a tremendous experience for them. And, lets not forget that this year, Camp Sunrise won another trophy in the "Group Camp Regatta."
Besides the exciting activities and projects, the teenagers heard inspiring messages and testimonies from our Continental Director, Rev. Joong Hyun Pak, older second generation and counselors, as well as Dr. Hugh Spurgin of New Eden Academy.
The concluding Sunday Service, with friends and parents invited, featured the top 3 winners of our Heroes for God speech contest. Rebecca Makin (3rd), Leo Soai-Van (2nd), and Gilo Fleisher (1st) gave truly inspired and moving speeches. What a way to end the program! Again, none of this would have been possible without the loving support and dedication of the counselors. God worked amazing miracles through each of them. And, let us not forget the dedication of Bruce and Debbie Grodner and the Camp Sunrise team of miracle workers! They were simply amazing.
Heavenly Father truly blessed both camps with not only a beautiful park, awesome weather, a program free of physical disasters, and an amazing staff but He blessed us with His very presence! The power of the Holy Spirit was with the camp from beginning to end. All of which only goes to show how much our Heavenly Father loves our children and how deeply He wishes to guide them and touch their hearts so that they can truly become the hope of the future.
What does the future hold? Plans are now under way for our Christmas/New Year Retreat. We also hope to make plans for next summers camp program before December. If you would like information on how to develop any type of education program or youth ministry please contact me in New York: Kathy Winings. 4 West 43rd Street, NY NY 10036.
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