By: Joy Lester
Why The Impact of 2-Weeks Will Last a Lifetime
I had a good feeling about what I was about to experience because, in my 10 years as a camper, I never had a bad experience at camp. Camp has always been a place I could call home and some of my best memories happened there. I also felt like this year would be my last year at Cho-Yeh because I had to start focusing on what I wanted to do in college and really be dedicated to the sports I play. Little did I know, CLT would change that.
The first few days at camp, we didn’t know what to expect. We were never told where we were going or what we were doing. We were told to do random tasks and did team building activities to prepare us for what we were about to do. We all loaded up on a bus fairly early one morning and headed for Camp Eagle. I remember that in order to live in the moment and, “embrace the suck,” we weren’t allowed to wear a watch. Every guy in our group just wanted to get on the trail and became impatient as we didn’t hit the trail until the next afternoon. Nonetheless, we still had a great attitude going into the trip.
We told jokes and stories and honestly I never even noticed how much we walked. When we got to our campsite every day, we would sit down and just talk.
We talked about home, about food (I don’t recommend doing that), about sports, about anything that we could think of. But as I said earlier, you never knew what was going to happen. Pretty much as soon as we got settled, our guide would tell us to leave our stuff where it was and follow him. The unknown activity always made us curious and, at times, pushed us out of our comfort zones (if backpacking for six days wasn’t already out of our comfort zone).
Every day, there was something new. While we questioned what was happening at first, we realized that a big part of this was being able to trust the people around you. We trusted that what our guide and counselor were doing for us was beneficial and that just made the experience that much better. What was even better than your daily surprise of an activity was our Bible studies. The Bible studies you take part in on CLT are designed to help you find an identity in YOUR beliefs – not your parents’ beliefs, not your friends’ beliefs.
These Bible studies asked the questions that really are difficult to talk about or what non-believers bring up about Christianity. I grew up in a strong Christian home. I thought I knew what I needed to know. But these questions we were asked changed my perspective. They led me to realize why I believed what I believe. They showed me the proof of God’s existence, even in difficult times. They helped me realize, through scripture, why things happen.
It put my struggles and my life into perspective. The questions we were faced with allowed us to really be open with each other.
I remember one evening, our campsite was located at the edge of a cliff. That night after dinner, we all sat on the edge of that cliff looking down into the valley below. To our right, a storm rolled in and we saw the lightning in the distance. But what was so great about this memory wasn’t the scenery. It was the conversation. We continued to ask each other questions about our faith, we asked about each other, we genuinely had conversation. It was an incredible feeling to sit in the midst of God’s creation and have a genuine conversation with a group of 16-year-olds. It was amazing to know that a group of guys from a generation that everyone believes is losing touch with one another was able to sit down and just be real with each other. That’s something that I will always remember from this trip.
I want to share what I took away from this trip. First, I realized how much of an impact camp had on my life over the past 11 years. I realized all the things camp had done for me spiritually and all the people I had met. I realized that without camp, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. Upon realizing this, I immediately decided that CLT would not be my last experience at Cho-Yeh. As a result, I will be on Work Crew in Summer 2018.
Second, I realized that having a strong Christian community is one of the most important parts of being a Christian. Having people around you with this kind of background allows you to build each other up and be better people for it. It allows you to have people to confide in when you need someone to talk to. I realized that God loves when His people get together and blesses that time. I realized that your Walk with Christ is not an individual experience. There should be people that help you along the way.
It’s perfectly fine to ask questions. Someone else may be wondering the same thing.
Last, I realized why I believe in the Christian faith. The questions that we were asked, I had asked myself. I had asked those questions to others, but until I sat down for myself and found the answer I needed, not the one I wanted, I was never satisfied. That week, I found out who God really is. Hopefully, you will find Him too.
— Hudson Brown, 11-year camper