Recap: Why Fall Retreat is One of Our Favorite Times of the Year

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October is one of our favorite times here at Lake Agape. The leaves are changing, it’s getting chilly outside, and the grounds are quiet after a long summer. But that’s not our favorite part. Over Columbus Day weekend, we get the chance to host a Fall Retreat every year for Junior and Senior High students! That is our favorite part of October, and here are a few reasons why:

  1. It’s a little taste of camp in the off season! Who says camp is only made for the summer? Fall Retreat packs all the fun of a full week of camp into a single weekend. From pretzel sandwiches, to night games, and even a round or two of Wawa-Man, you get the camp experience in October!
  2. Camp just looks beautiful. Fall is definitely my favorite season. From the cool air to the changing leaves, fall is easily one of the most beautiful seasons. But especially here at Lake Agape! During Fall Retreat, the air is cooler, and the leaves are changing to shades of reds and oranges. It’s definitely a sight to see! On the plus side, camp isn’t as hot as it is during the summer, and that’s a win in our books!
  3. You don’t need to wait a full year to see your favorite camp friends. What is so cool about Fall Retreat is that so many different people come together to serve on staff or come as campers, so you’ll see so many people you met during the summer! It’s an awesome chance to see friends that you don’t normally get to see.
  4. It’s a nice break from school. By October, the summer feels like a lifetime ago. You start to get busy with schoolwork, and after school activities that sometimes, it’s nice to get away for a little while. And what better to place to spend it than at Lake Agape?
  5. You get the chance to re-light your fire for Christ. When fall hits, you’re back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and it’s all too easy to slip back into your old routines and habits and forget what you learned at camp. Fall Retreat is the chance to recharge your faith, connect more deeply with God, and remember the promises and prayers you made in August.

This year, we had over 80 students come out to Fall Retreat, and what an awesome weekend it was! The theme this year was “Worth It!.” During the 48 hours the students and staff joined together here, we heard an important message. We’re worth it. 

It seems like such a simple thought, doesn’t it? But in our media driven world, this message is convoluted. We are constantly bombarded with the idea that our value comes from things, like the clothes we wear, the friends we have, our awards and accolades, our grades, or even your position on your sports team. We are being told that our value comes from things or people. But that’s a lie. In fact, that’s the biggest lie our world tells us.

But during Fall Retreat, we were reminded that our worth does not come from anything in this world. Our value comes from God. In fact, to Him, we’re priceless. He sent His son to die on a cross because you are worth it.

And what an important message for all of us, whether you’re a junior high student, on staff, or a parent. Sometimes, we all need a little reminder that we are worth it because we are created in the image of the God who loves us unconditionally and sent His Son to die for us.

Recap: Spring Retreat 2015

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The First of Many…

For the past couple of years, the game “gaga” has taken Delanco Camp by storm and become one of the most popular activities for both campers and staff during free-time.

Gaga is basically a version of dodgeball played in an octogonal shape. Campers must only hit the ball once and try to get those around them out by hitting their opponents below the knee with the ball.

Last weekend, Delanco Camp held a work retreat where over 60 volunteers came together to help prep the grounds for the start of the 2015 season. One of the groups in attendance was the youth group from First United Methodist Church in Millville. The project that they tackled was creating a sturdier “gaga pit” in the center of camp for all to enjoy.

This weekend, the inaugural game was played at Spring Retreat, where most of the campers (and a few staff) spent a part of their free-time.  Today’s game was the first of many that will be played this upcoming summer season.

The new gaga-pit is the first of many new additions coming to Delanco Camp this summer.