A front-row seat

Pictured from left to right: Katie Wiebe, Curtis Wiens and Kristy Hosler. (Shekinah Retreat Centre photo)

A highlight of each summer at the Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim, Sask., is the coffee house during our senior-teen camp for ages 15 to 18. Campers come out of their shell and display talents that we didn’t know they had. It is a special time of vulnerability.

Making a Mennonite

‘Not going back to camp will be tough,’ says Andrew Brown of his experiences at MC Manitoba’s Camp Moose Lake. (Photo courtesy of MC Manitoba)

‘At camp, I got learn what it means to follow Jesus.’ (Photo courtesy of MC Manitoba)

‘I made great friends at camp,’ says Andrew Brown. (Photo courtesy of MC Manitoba)

‘I wanted to give campers the same great experience I had.’(Photo courtesy of MC Manitoba)

‘I returned to camp every summer because I loved everything about it.’ (Photo courtesy of MC Manitoba)

I did not grow up attending a Mennonite church. Growing up two hours southeast of Winnipeg in Piney, Man., I attended International Christian Fellowship, a small congregation that includes an interesting mix of people and theological backgrounds. It is an international amalgamation of American and Canadian churches on the U.S.

It takes three villages to send 18 kids to camp

Nyantut Pal, left, Christina Chany and Balat Pal are ready for three-and-a-half-hour drive from Edmonton to Camp Valaqua in Water Valley, Alta., with their driver, Barry Andres. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

What does it look like when two churches and Camp Valaqua partner toward a common goal? It looks like 18 enthusiastic campers!

This past summer, the Service and Outreach branch of Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church learned that a number of young people from the city’s South Sudanese Mennonite Church were interested in going to Camp Valaqua in Water Valley, Alta., for the first time.

The sound of the soul shifting

Archery practice is popular with Camps with Meaning campers in Manitoba. (Camps with Meaning photo)

Roasting bannock around a campfire is a time-honoured tradition at summer camp, including Camp Assiniboia. (Camps with Meaning photo)

To feed our mind we go to school, to fix our body we go to the doctor, to feel our hearts we go home, and for our soul to flourish—that is when we go to camp!

Transformed in the wilderness

By spending nearly all day, every day outdoors, campers unconsciously relinquish their fears and open themselves to the wonder of God. (Photo by Rebecca Seiling)

This year marks 60 years since Fraser Lake Camp began in a farmer’s field northeast of Bancroft, Ont. Since then, the camp has evolved and now covers 105 hectares of forest, field and lakefront.

Moments like these

Counsellor Shelby Goertzen helps a camper with her archery skills. (Youth Farm Bible Camp photos)

Counsellor Mike Unger plays a game with campers during the second week of children’s camp last summer. (Youth Farm Bible Camp photos)

Youth Farm Bible Camp is just that: Bible camp in a farm atmosphere.

Located outside of Rosthern, Sask., we have wide open spaces holding pastures for horses, goats and sheep, and the many paths of our corn maze. Although some things around the yard have changed over the past 74 years, we still hold the same mission: to share Jesus and provide a place to serve.

Stereotypes Written Over with Faces

Last summer, we were camping at Crabtree Falls in North Carolina. It was a new experience for us. We'd been through the state before, but had never spent a night and had never tented in that area before.

One night, after a relaxing evening around the campfire, I was peacefully dreaming, curled up in my sleeping bag. Suddenly, a strange sound broke the stillness and woke me from sleep. In half-conscious confusion, I tried to identify the source of the sound. An animal? But I couldn't tell what kind.

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