This summer, Ontario Mennonite Music Camp is once again happening at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, from Aug. 14 to 26. The camp provides an exciting adventure for 12- to 17-year-olds that helps to build friendships, strengthen leadership skills, celebrate their love of music and explore their faith.
Natan Hastings-Fuhr and Hanan Kaekiza, first-time campers in 2021, enjoyed their experience.
“A normal day at camp is filled with many fun activities that include choir, small groups, various recreational activities, chapel, ensemble, practice hour, and free time,” says Hanan, who attends Ottawa Mennonite Church. “In the two weeks you are at camp, you can see all the bonds you have made through the music you make together.”
“It is amazing to have a place where you can play any and all music, and people will appreciate it, no matter what,” says Natan from Mannheim Mennonite Church in Petersburg, Ont. “I was a part of a band, and it was super cool to be able to play music with many talented people. We played lots of cool songs, and in two weeks we learned three songs that we played for everyone.”
The camp is also an encouraging place for youth to explore their faith, since it is “not only an amazing camp, but it’s also Christian-faith based,” says Hanan. “Every morning we have chapel. The chapel service includes hymn singing, Bible verse readings, a brief talk about the Bible verse and a benediction. In our small group we would read and talk about Scripture. There are about five to six people in each group, and one counsellor leading each group,” she says.
After two years of virtual and hybrid activities, the music camp is a safe place for youth to make meaningful connections as well as learn more about their faith.
Going to music camp “was one of the best things that could have happened,” says Natan. “It is a place where you can let yourself be you, and no one will judge you no matter how weird you think you might be.”
The two-week summer program is for students who finished grades 6 to 12, with a leader-in-training program available for students who finished grades 11 and 12.