Dates: 4pm Sunday July 11 – 4pm Wednesday July 14
Scholarships: Available upon request in registration
Ages: Entering Grades 6-12
Location: Log Cabin Resort (on the Namekagon River in Trego, WI)
Note: We will be following all of the other COVID-19 prevention best practices outlined at www.ecmnyouth.org/covid-19. These include wellness checks, fully outdoor programs, no group indoor activities, mask use, and social distancing at all times. Additionally, our capacity is limited to 14 cabins (one family each).
For Summer 2021 we are offering the Canoe Trip from Camp Agape again. We will canoe a new section of the Namekagon River, launching from the place we ended our trip last year. This will be another incredible time together on a beautiful and peaceful river. We will stay the first night at outfitter, sorting gear and letting friends from farther away in MN arrive. Then we will spend two days canoeing the river staying at free public group campsites. Pick-up on Wednesday will be from where we started, after we take a shuttle back. Group transportation can be coordinated with other young people from your area.
Pictures and Stories
“I have discovered that I am not alone in my listening; that almost everyone is listening for something, that the search for the places where the singing may be heard goes on everywhere.”
“The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness and of a freedom almost forgotten. It is an antidote to insecurity, the open door to waterways of ages past and a way of life with profound and abiding satisfactions. When a person is part of their canoe, they are part of all that canoes have ever known.”
The Singing Wilderness by Sigurd Olson
Campfire Talk by Carolyn Patterson
I have always known, or had an idea that God is always beside me. It is what I was taught and something I have come to realize on my own throughout the years. At first, I felt God mostly in church. Sitting in the wooden pews, looking up at the stained glass windows, listening to the message of the day. That is when I felt God most strongly beside me.
However, as I have gotten older, I have realized that God comes in many forms and shows up in many places, I just have to be paying attention.
One of the things I often do when I am mad or upset is go for a run outside. I will throw on whatever workout clothes I have near me, lace up my shoes and go. Sometimes I remember my music, sometimes I don’t. I remember many, many times at all different points in my life when I would need to get up and go for a run, after a screaming match with my parents, after a frustrating day in college, after a fight with a friend. I would drop everything and go.
And it doesn’t seem like this would be a very likely time to experience God. But over time I have noticed that God is there when I am running, sprinting almost, away from my parent’s house, angry tears streaming down my cheeks.
God is there with me as my feet hit the pavement, as my breath heaves in and out of my chest, crying because something painful has stung my heart once again. The wind whistles across my face and the sun makes me sweat. At times when I am so angry and upset the only thing I can focus on is running and not tripping, yes, God is there with me in those moments.
God is there because God is the outdoors. God is the trees and the plants and the birds and the grass. God is the wind across my face and the sun making me sweat. I have noticed God is present even when I am getting my 15th mosquito bite of a camping trip and even when it rains on a day that was supposed to be perfect. God is here.
I find I am most at peace when I am outdoors now, in my, as it was called in a poem someone gave me, “dirt church”. Whether I am hiking, skiing, camping, running or just walking outside near my apartment. God is there with me, rustling the leaves, moving the water, dancing the sunlight off everything in sight.
Last August I went to the boundary waters with my 2 younger brothers and my 3 cousins, one of the first real trips I had gone on since COVID started. 6 of us paddled our way through rivers and lakes, hiked our way over rocks and through narrow dirt paths, the weight of canoes and camping gear on our backs.
On one of our last nights a storm was starting to roll in. I looked across the water at the sky and saw the ginormous menacing dark storm clouds in the distance and faintly heard the thunder begin to echo across the black water.
We all gathered on the rocky edge of our campsite together and watched the storm in front of us, taking in the power and beauty on display. And I remember noticing once again that God is here, beside all of us.
Sitting there, taking in the storm, after everything that the 6 of us had experienced over the past many, many months during COVID, was a powerful reminder of how alive we still were. A reminder of how much beauty there is in the world that we had missed for so long. And it was a reminder that God is still here too, out here, in nature, rumbling the sky, dropping the rain and whipping a cool wind every which way.
And so, I have found church is not the only place I find God. God is not always in the pews or the organ or the familiar alter draped with cloth. In fact, God is often found where I least expect, on a sandy beach, in the forest on a camping trip, in the mountains on a hike – outside, in the dirt, in the air, in the water. God is beside me and all around me, I just have to pay attention.