“I can’t! I can’t do it!” cried extreme camper Josh. He had just leaned over the edge to begin repelling only secured by a thin strand of rope, but with the desire to prove something to himself. However, at this moment, he had the striking mental clarity to realize his two feet belonged on the ground, not where he currently dangled.
Camp MiVoden, nestled on the eastern shore of Hayden Lake in Idaho, has an extensive selection of camps during the summer months. Basic youth camps occur at the main camp, where campers participate in all activities available around camp.
Ultimate camps include a variety of outpost camps for a specific area of interest. These camps include extreme, wakeboard, equestrian, survival, Disciple-Trek, Abba’s Child and — brand new this summer — art camp. Each of these camps offers unique experiences unlike anything else. Extreme camp allows campers to participate in rock climbing, repelling, mountain biking and white-water rafting.
“Hey! Josh, look at me,” said a Camp MiVoden staff member. “I want you to take a deep breath and slowly let the rope slide through your hand.” The extreme camper hesitantly took his eyes off the ground, off the foreboding cliff in front of him and met the confident gaze of the MiVoden staff member standing above.
Josh realized the staff member was watching out for him and hesitantly began to follow his directions. As he did, Josh found himself starting to lower closer to the ever-welcoming ground. Right as Josh started getting comfortable, the staff member told Josh, “I want you to try something new now that you’re getting the hang of it. I want you to let go of the rope.”
Josh looked up at him in disbelief as he gripped the rope even tighter, “What!?”
Camp MiVoden’s ministry is a positive and encouraging atmosphere to grow in. It is a window of time in which many experience the love of Christ in a way they have never had before. Camp MiVoden passionately believes that Matt. 18:5 is why camp has the impact it does, “Whoever welcomes one such child in My name welcomes Me.”
“Trust me,” the MiVoden staff member said in answer to the question in Josh’s eyes. While Josh had been distracted processing the severe implications of letting go, Summer Neil, extreme camp director who was holding the other end of the rope, explained she had control and could stop or lower him even if he let go.
Once Josh understood, he slowly released his grip and instead of falling, as he had imagined, he didn’t move. After the exercise, the staff handed control back over to Josh and he lowered himself the rest of the way down. The moment his feet hit the ground, the staff asked him how it went, a big smile spread across his face as he said, “Great! Can I do it again?”
At the end of the day, extreme camp staff debriefs the experiences of the day, talking through with the campers the challenges they faced, the victories made and most importantly how the experiences of the day related to their individual spiritual journeys.
It is without question the most important part of the day; it is the time when each person realizes that their experiences are representative of their walks with God. Campers get to experience growth and realize there are ups and downs in life. Josh grew not only in his confidence, life experience and how to be a team player, but also in his trust in God.
If you want to be a part of the ministry of Camp MiVoden, we welcome your participation in person as a staff member, as a volunteer, as a camper and/or financially at mivoden.com/summer-camps.