This past weekend, sixty junior and senior high students gathered at Delanco Camp for the 2015 spring retreat, and were challenged to “get up” and stand firm in their faith.
Friday night, after the campers arrived, the retreat kicked off with a service in the Tabernacle. After a message by our speaker, Dave Hallahan, about needing to get up off our spiritual mats, the campers were fed the classic first snack at Delanco Camp: grease night. The first night game followed the story of Robots that took over the grounds of Delanco, and campers had to find devices (multi-colored glow-sticks) in order to disarm the robots (staff members) and bring them back to the dining hall for points.
After a pancake breakfast, Dave spoke in chapel about how social media is affecting us in our daily lives: as we attempt to create a certain image in order to get people to like us on social media, it starts to change who we are. Following time in chapel, campers were sent to classes that they had the options of choosing during registration.
For the first planned rec of the 2015 camp season, a couple of round of British Bulldog, a version of red rover, were played out on the soccer field. Afterwards, campers were treated with a favorite lunch: chicken patty sandwiches.
During free-time, the camp was bustling with various activities. There were basketball, volleyball and ga-ga games, campers fishing out at the gazebo, relaxing in hammocks in front of the motel, and chipwiches being bought at the snack-shop.
At service on Saturday night, Dave looked at the popular verse 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Dave stressed that it was important for the world to see a difference in us as Christians, especially in the way we speak, act, think, and live.
After service, campers were treated with a game of Pirates- but a version that was brand new to Delanco Camp. The night-game involved students going around camp to find areas where staff members (acting as pirates) were stationed. Once at these stations, campers were asked to work in their teams to solve a different kind of activity, such as scrabble, tangrams, or even more physical activities. Once the teams completed the challenge, they were given a clue to solve which would lead them to the next station. In the end, the winning team would put together each of the clues to form a map that lead them to a treasure chest filled with candy.
The night ended with worship around the campfire, where Rich Dugan, one of the weekend’s deans, gave the campers some wonderful post-retreat insights. The main point that Rich was stressing to the campers (and the staff) was how easy it is for a weekend like this one to become an emotional mountain top in our spiritual lives, and that it is even easier for us to slump back into the valley. The tools needed to remain on that mountaintop include dwelling in God’s word, surrounding ourselves with like-minded people, and joining a youth group.
In the final chapel of the weekend, Dave spoke about the healing of the blind man from John. In this message, he focused on John 9:25, where the healed man states “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Dave remarked that even though we did not see Jesus crucified on the cross, or heal the blind man, we still believe. Our faith does not grow based upon what we see, but upon the experiences that God unfolds in our daily lives. We can testify about our faith, like the blind man, because of how God works through us every day. Then, each of the campers were asked to spread out around camp and take twenty minutes to spend alone with God and reflect about the weekend and messages.
From there, campers and staff enjoyed about an hour playing Steal the Bacon for planned rec, and were then treated with the camp classic for lunch: Pretzel Roll sandwiches.
Ultimately, the weekend’s theme “Get Up” challenged campers and staff members to take a good look at themselves and their relationship with God to see that we all need to remember to get up off of our mats, and that once there, God works so deeply within us that our faith can only be strengthened.