Camp Win Johnson

Camp Win Johnson
Again, our mission in making new Disciples of Christ during our camp was at its best – before I go any further - camp wouldn't happen without all of the big and small sharing of your prayers, donations, participation – all of it! I thank each and every one of you for your contribution to camp no matter how tiny or large it was – it all helps! Thank you all so very much!

I was reminded the importance of camp and the making of new Disciples of Christ in a passage in the Upper Room Disciplines: We need spiritual community and spiritual mentors to redirect us and bring us back on course. Christian community and spiritual mentors are God's gift. A sense of belonging grounds us and gives us focus. When we are sidetracked from our beliefs, the community brings us back to the center. (Upper Room Disciplines/Bo Presser 07/25/19)

The following list is the folks that participated directly during camp this year - a very warn thank you to all of you: Dana Tofoya, Maria Wolf, Heather Bromberg, Clyde Lantz, Tami Robertson, Hillary Milne, Jackie Lee, Susan Wilson, Beth Tomsick, Grace Griffin, Monica Castello, Mike Martin, Cyndi McCarthy, Pastor Allison, Barbara Taormina, Ralph Seeley, Flo Seeley, Kathy Ronay, Gussie Kidd, Pat Fithian, Greg Milne, Sue Doane, John Tomsick, Tom Gibbons, Loretta Milne, Joy Kagawa, Grace Tafoya
*(Deepest apologies if anyone was omitted)

Two very special thank you's: The first to Gussie Kidd for putting all of the curriculum together for all of the teachers. This was a very time consuming job. Our camp curriculum this year was titled "Peace Works" published by Inside Out Christian Ministries for Outdoor Ministries. The other special thank you is to Monica Castello from the Le Grand UMC for being my Assistant Camp Director and youth teacher – she uses her vacation time from work to come to camp – she is a very special woman and we are very fortunate to have her on our team.

As I said to the congregation during my report during worship on July 7th: we had another exciting Camp Win Johnson that started on Sun-day, June 30th and ended Wednesday, July 3rd – with 32 enrolled and ultimately 31 campers showing up and participating the whole time! Wow! Our youth totaled 19 campers which is well over half of the attendees (last year was the same way and some of those older ones weren't able to come this year). We had a fantastic staff this year with some new additional volunteers with a camp staff that totaled 17. This really added to our goal of making new Disciples of Christ.

For the first time ever – the Youth (grades 6 through 12th) did something at camp that they have never done (at least that I am aware of) before in the history of Camp Win Johnson. They took on the challenge of the Upper Ropes Course at Camp Oakhurst. For the past 3 years they have done the lower ropes course – the lower ropes usually involve the whole group to make decisions on how they maneuver the tasks in front of them. The upper ropes course is more of an individual feat.

So this year was time to take the ultimate test. The first challenge is a web of thick (over an inch or so) rope – like cargo netting - to climb in the center of it to a height of 30 feet (I am just guessing all these figures). If you make an incorrect move – foot placement and so on – you can fall, get tangled up and even get stuck until you figure how to get out of it. All the while - there is a Camp Oakhurst staff member holding the remainder of the rope web that has been passed by successfully – this helps the climber to be able to continue to climb farther up the web – getting help and sup-port. Before I go any farther - does this remind you of anything?

The next section is a tight rope that you balance yourself on while moving forward with a drop of around 30 feet – you connect yourself to support cables – you can't fall – you are also being guided and support-ed by a staff member on the surface of the ground.

The third section is a group of tires that are connected together with about a 3 feet gap – this is really hard – again you are attached to a support cable – but balancing is almost impossible, but they get through it. Vocal support is still coming from the surface of the ground.

The second to the last part is a flat rope ladder with wood sides – you have to juggle yourself across on the side supports. Again, not so easy.

The last part is the ultimate fun part – the surprise – the pot of gold - the zip line – like the one they have here in Mariposa. You hook up your safety line and there you go – zip through the sky with a really big smile – when you get to the end – it zips you back to a spot about 30 feet that you just passed and have land-ed to a secure spot. It's the reward at the end of the tunnel!

Does this remind you of anything … I'm sure you each have your own thoughts of what this reminds you of … What the ropes course reminds me of … is simply - our journey of life – the choices we make and how it can affect us in a split second – the ups and downs of everyday decisions and mainly the ultimate one - to have Jesus as your guide or not to have Jesus as your guide. It was amazing to watch the youth learn from this learning tool.

The last part of my report – I had my usual teary moment - an encounter with one of the youth – when this particular camper was dropped off by her parent on Monday morning – I could tell she was very reluctant about staying. After she said goodbye to her mom – she walked away and went to her mom's truck to talk to her – after the third time she did this – her mom was able to drive away. As the day worn on – I did see this young lady and noticed that her stress level was decreasing – especially after they did the ropes course. On the second day - Tuesday morning – before lunch – this young lady stopped me while she was sitting with a group of campers working on her lanyard – she asked me point blank – is camp over tomorrow morning – I answered "yes, it is" – she said "I don't want it to be – I don't want to leave" – it was very hard for me to not burst into tears standing right there. I had to walk away. It was over whelming!

As you can see – our Camp Win Johnson - our church Mariposa UMC became a life preserver - just like last year. Again, our mission in making new Disciples of Christ was at its best – again I thank each and every one of you for your contribution to camp no matter how small or large it was – it all helps! Amen!

Thanks to all of you in Christ, Patrick McCarthy, Camp Director
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Thanks to all of you for your ongoing support for our mission of Camp Win Johnson – in
making new Disciples of Christ.

Patrick McCarthy, Director and the Camp Committee

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