Unification News for September 1998

Blessed Children's' Summer Camp í98 Boulder, Colorado

by Steven Hale-Lakewood CO

After many meetings with our summer camp committee, we could finally make it happen! Our Blessed Childrenís Workshop was underway. Nestled at the foot of the Colorado Rockies, we began a very short but intense summer camp which involved over 30 blessed children and six staff-parents from Colorado and Wyoming.

The Boulder center, home of World CARP and now used by the Pure Love Alliance (PLA), is an ideal facility for workshops. Our challenge was to engage the hearts and minds of children whose ages range from eight to fifteen years old. As parents we face the passage of our offspring from children into teenagers and adolescents. There is often a tension between allowing creativity and freedom and yet retaining boundaries and discipline. A tension which increases exponentially as they grow older.

We began our program with a well-appreciated pizza party. This was followed by an evening of charades, in which we got to know each other very quickly. Getting the group to bed later was another matter entirely! The next morning began bright and early at 6am with the quest for our vertical connection, literally, to God. We hiked up to the Holy Ground high above Boulder, accessed only by a stony path made more treacherous by recent rains. After a short Hoon Dok Hae from the Way of the True Child volume, we carefully descended from the mountainside, a little more enlightened and a lot hungrier than when we started. I was surprised by the willingness of each person to make the climb and the excitement of reaching the holy rock.

Following a hearty breakfast, our first presentation by Mrs. Alice Fleisher attempted to give our children an understanding of the Last Days. Many of the children were excited by this topic, especially by Bill Cosbyís rendition of Noah talking to God about the Ark! Giving a lecture to an audience whose inert nature seems to be that of bouncing off walls is no easy task, as I was to discover after the break.

In my presentation I wanted to emphasize to each person that this is a time of preparation in their lives. Father talks about combining this preparation with ability in order to make a foundation. It is upon our foundation that we bring result. Without these elements there is no result, and it is result that history remembers. We then watched a short video of Fatherís life which clearly demonstrates these points in action. Seeing Fatherís accomplishments flash before me caused a well of emotion to emerge from within and I was left sobbing in front of the class trying to pray to end the talk. I felt that these children are some of the fruits of a lifelong struggle by True Parents to bring about Godís will.

Following lunch it was time to be more physically oriented. Some of the group were involved in making crafts. My fate was to join the older boys in a game of soccer. What started as a drizzle that afternoon turned into a downpour. The experience of running around in the rain took me back to my boarding school days in England. At the age of 13 we often played rugby in "mud fields" during the rain. I love soccer but Iím not 18 anymore. Even so I played my heart out and so did all the boys. Rain? What rain?

Being so wet, we were ready for the trip to the local recreation center swimming pool. There were other activities than swimming, but the water slide was probably the most thrilling for everyone. I appreciated the hot tub as my 42-year-old body was experiencing a kind of rigor mortis effect after two hours of soccer! Dinner was received by ravenous mouths and still the boys had energy to play pingpong.

We were now all preoccupied with preparing our skits, for each group had to prepare their own. Six groups performed, acting out various messages from being drug-free to surveying peopleís view of the last days. One of the funniest skits was for one person to try and feed another person without being able to see their mouth.

The morning came quickly and we were off to the holy ground again. The pace was a little sluggish compared to the day before, but enthusiasm abounded. We returned for a bountiful breakfast, after which Mrs. Cynthia Hiromitsu gave the third presentation on Life of Faith. Morning activity took some of us to Boulder Falls, a short drive up the canyon from Boulder. As we sat watching the powerful falls above, I realized it had been 10 years since I had been there with my wife one moonlit evening. A great deal has passed under the bridge since then, including the birth of many of the children in our care, who were now stepping carefully over the craggy rocks.

Rev. Shin, our regional director, gave the closing presentation, focusing much of his effort toward the older children. He pointed out that each of the children will eventually marry one day, so they should prepare themselves to be the best men and best women with much prayer and study.

I am grateful to the parents who worked to make this camp possible, as well as the PLA who allowed us to use the center. My thanks also go to the children who participated. With the Rocky Mountains on our doorstep, we hope to be able to offer many experiences together in the future.

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