I had the pleasure of leading the Leaders in Training (LIT) and Advanced Camper Experience (ACE) programs at Hidden Acres last summer. Both programs offer youth a chance to further develop leadership skills, study the Bible, build community, spend time outdoors, and learn the ins and outs of serving at camp.
Taking on the role of facilitating these programs was daunting to me at first, but I am so glad that I stepped out in faith. God had so much growth, opportunity and incredible moments in store for everyone involved in these programs.
I got to watch as young leaders stepped out of their comfort zones and into the gifts and talents that God has given them. I got to see barriers of fear broken by love, and friendships blossom out of a simple “hello.” I got to see people look at faith, prayer and God in a new way, and hear of the unique journeys that God has brought each person on.
All of this was incredible, but I think that one of my favourite things about last summer was the community that was built. The staff, LITs and ACEs were composed of small but very mighty groups of people. Although having fewer numbers in each of these groups than in some years could have been discouraging, I think a lot of us realized that it was actually an intentional blessing. Instead of hiding behind others, or always allowing other people to take on tasks, each person was called to step out into relationships, into their gifts and into leadership. This also called for close, supportive community, and reliance on each other as a team.
Another one of my favourite parts, naturally, was that we got to spend so much time outdoors. The ACEs got to have an extended camp-out, accompanied by a long hike, and the LITs got to experience a three-night out-trip at a nearby Scouts camp. Both of these experiences were highlights because each of us got to unplug, marvel at creation, and share quality time and laughter together.
I did those programs 25 years ago, and I still use what I learned there all the time. Hidden Acres is an amazing place filled with the best people!
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