Our Community Life – Junior Youth Camp

Junior Youth Camp reflectionOver the weekend of February 14 – 16, 2015, twelve junior youth, two animators and one assisting youth gathered at a home in Gig Harbor for a three-day junior youth camp. The camp focused on studying and completing the  junior youth text Glimmerings of Hope, which over the course of twelve readings tells the story of Kibomi, a twelve-year-old from a small village in Africa who sets out to find his sister in another city after their parents fall victim to violent civil strife. Throughout his journey, Kibomi is presented with a number of opportunities to analyze prevailing social tides and begins to see the implications of the choices he makes. Every reading is followed by a few exercises designed to strengthen language skills, and help junior youth from every background think about how the understanding gained by Kibomi on his journey pertains to their own lives. This includes understanding and memorizing prayers, which the camp participants especially enjoyed putting to music together. To help reflect on and put into practice the concepts in the story, the junior youth engaged in a number of complimentary activities including taking a sailing lesson together, beachcombing and creating art from their findings, rising early together for dawn prayers, teaching a class to six children about preferring their brother, visiting a farm and doing a service project to help prepare vegetable beds, making candles, and creating skits about the story and unity. At the end of the camp, they hosted a celebration for parents and community members were they shared devotions, songs, art, skits, and thoughts about their experience.

The following are reflections from some of the junior youth who participated:

“It’s easy to get caught up, like the soldiers inJunior Youth Camp service project the story. But it’s possible to reflect on our actions. Despair is easier, but it brings more challenges.”

“God is the source (of strength and protection). In the analogy, humans made the boat, but God created the wood for the boat and the wind for the sail.”

“We can rely on Him and pray to Him and He might grant it if it helps make the world a better place.”

“God may illumine our hearts. Our hearts are made of glass, so it can be lit like a candle.”

“It was fun to see the children learn, to see them fully engaged.”

“It felt good to help people with their work. We also got to talk and socialize during it. It felt good doing good for other people, giving up our own desires.”

Junior Yout Camp Sailing 12At the end of our studies, some wrote the following:

“I am hopeful that this junior youth group can change the world in many different ways. I am hopeful for my family. I am hopeful that this world to be a more peaceful place, example no more wars, murders, robbers, bullies, and disrespectful people.”

“Hopeful means to me that you remain hopeful even when it is difficult. Hope is contagious it shouldn’t be hard to pass on. Hope is light and despair is the absence of hope, despair is not a thing in itself. I am hopeful that we will stay close to nature. I am hopeful that the arts and science be taught, be learned, be appreciated, and I am hopeful that we will never loose hope in the darksome night of despair.”

“I think hope means to me is not to stress about not having the little things in life. What I mean by that is that some people always complain about not having everything in life happen to them, they always give up, they loose hope.”

“Hope is knowledge, helping people. For example, being of service.”

“You have to trust God to have hope. Kibomi didn’t have faith or hope at first when his parents died. He needed to trust in God when his parents first died he should have prayer to God to make things better. Kibomi thought that he was not going to be happy again but he was wrong.”

“Hopeful for getting a good education so I can go help people understand the purpose of material and spiritual intellect. Hope is being of service and striving through difficulties to be radiant. Through the hardest of times people think despair is easier so they lead a hard life, when you have hope you find/receive confirmation in difficulties.”

Reported by Stephanie Christy

Photos by George Dannells

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