By Cameron Harro
Crack! … Crack! … Crack!
As I scrambled to find my watch in a disarrayed tent on this first morning of our trip, my mind raced through possible sources of the noise that had awakened us. Had tree branches fallen on a rented van? Had a tent collapsed on our students? Had our neighbors in the campground decided to set off firecrackers in the slowly-brightening, post-dawn light?
No, gentle reader, none of these. Instead, as my eyes adjusted to the dim light of my watch and as my mind grudgingly accommodated the fact that it was only 5:15am, I realized that the noise was simply:
- Our kids
- In the field next to our campsite
- Playing wiffleball.
“Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.”
– Psalm 19:4
I’ve spent many summers doing outdoor youth ministry, but this trip reminded me just how fun camping can be. Whether we were playing spikeball or analyzing chess, cooking Hobo Packets or munching ice cream, the whole group had a grand old time.
A highlight was our time at Devil’s Lake. The views from the top of the surrounding bluffs were astonishingly good, given the relatively minimal time and effort we spent hiking them. Jumping into the water afterward was immensely refreshing, and we all enjoyed a long, unstructured beach time of food, games, naps, and some moderate roughhousing. Our aloe lotion got some real use that evening, because:
“[The sun’s] rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”
– Psalm 19:6
Throughout the weekend, we studied Psalm 19 and its dual focus on the glory of God in Creation and the delightful – desirable, even! – surety of his commandments. I think we all got a crash course in both elements, just by changing scenery. We didn’t have any screens to distract us. We lived close together and outside, which always brings opportunity for negotiation and service. We gathered at regular times to worship the Lord with singing and hear teachings from his Word. We could see the stars.
One moment that sticks with me: at the end of the second night, our campfire session ended with a drizzling rain and the sound of distant thunder.
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
– Psalm 19:1
After intense events like these, it’s not uncommon for youth leaders to think to themselves, “Wow, I’m ready to sleep for a week, and then I’d like to have some adult conversation.” This time, settling back into the comfort of home, I realized, “Huh. I miss the kids.”
You’ve got a good group growing up, Resurrection.
Read “RezYouth: Of hiking trails and pool noodles” by Livy Walker, with original artwork by Grace Cedeno
Cameron Harro began attending Rez as a student at Wheaton College. He and his wife Karina serve on various volunteer teams. Cameron learned everything that he knows about youth ministry at Deerfoot Lodge.