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The Zone: A Gathering of Friends

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The Zone: A Gathering of Friends

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I distinctly remember the color gray. The sky, the overall mood­ of hesitation had been draped over the trees like a massive blanket of morosity. Not a soul wanted to leave the campground, and more than a few tears were already being shed between friends and family. My first year of the Zone had come to a close, and it was time to depart and head for home.

The United Youth Camps program represents something different for each and every person who experiences it. It happens to be for me seven straight years of vivid and delicate memories: a breathtaking excitement and a somber late-night talks with friends of many years. It is a beacon on my map of life, one that, when the time comes, whispers, “It’s time to step outside of your comfort zone.” Camp Hye Sierra has been such a shaping experience for me as a young man: The staff is unforgettable and the friendships that are built within the walls of the Zone are unbreakable. To be in such an environment where God’s will and Word are both present and active is an extremely moving sensation. It’s one that I would most certainly wish on everyone I have ever known.

Camp is for those who want life more abundantly. It is for those who live by the ideal that there is more to life than just our present condition. The utter inspiration that overcomes me each year when I return is unlike anything else I have ever experienced. I relish the feeling I get as I get my first glance at my various friends and family whom I have not seen in months or even years. Camp is a place where campers and staff are not just tolerant of each other—they are loving and full of affection for one another. This is such a special place!

If I had never experienced seven years of the UYC program, I’m sure I wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilled in life today as I am. I have made multiple lifelong relationships at Hye Sierra, and I feel connected to the very campground itself. This annual gathering is so special to both campers and staff alike. I hope you will be able to attend at one of the summer camps to experience this special time for yourself!