The 2016 Colombian United Youth Summer Camp was held at the Hotel San Gil del Campo just outside the city of San Gil, Santander, Colombia, with a total of 19 campers, five staff from Colombia, and three staff from the United States—two of which were the Colombian pastor and his wife.
This centrally located city made travel to camp easier and less expensive for all who attended. Hotel San Gil del Campo is a former monastery and affords an absolutely peaceful and tranquil location with vistas of mountains and valleys.
Campers and staff stayed in hotel rooms that housed four to five people comfortably, and we all ate together in the dining hall that provided three meals each day. We started each day with a spiritual compass check and ended each day with a Christian living class or other Bible activity using the 2016 United Youth Camps theme of “Guided by God’s Word.” Building bonds of friendship with our spiritual family was also a huge part of camp. Plenty of time for fellowship and relaxing is an integral part of this camp, allowing time for bonding and renewing friendships.
Returning again this year was the Bible skit activity. Campers were randomly divided into three groups. Each group selected a Bible story to turn into a skit based on the camp theme. They were entertaining, well done and enjoyed by all.
Another favorite activity was swimming. The most requested activity, the amazing race, was organized by Courtney Horvath.
On Sabbath morning, Vicky the hotel manager led the campers on a nature walk. Campers were able to view 500-year-old tombs of the indigenous people from this area, and many varied trees, vegetation, and fruits. During Sabbath services, Ronaldo Medina led songs and camper David Sierra gave a sermonette explaining that each of us is an example for those that come in contact with the Church. Jaime Salek gave a sermon titled “Choose the Blessings of God,” one of the daily focuses from this year’s theme.
After the Sabbath, everyone participated in a dance. A collection of songs from Colombia and the United States, with the chicken dance being a favorite.
Once again, we made a bus trip to the National Park of Chicamocha. Half of the campers had never visited the park before. Everyone also had the opportunity to experience the 450 meter long cable-vuelo (zipline) while at the park.
On the last day, all campers shared what they learned at camp in short two-to-three-minute speeches, and camp director Scott Hoefker encouraged everyone to “remember the themes that were discussed during camp and to put them into practice in our daily lives between now and next year’s camp.” Campers were challenged to see who could recite the most memory scriptures from the Christian living classes. Both Abrahan Martinez and Cristian Martinez recited all eight memory scriptures.
The entire camp was blessed with peace, cooperation and a spirit of camaraderie. A hearty thank-you to brethren who gave generous donations to allow our youth to attend and experience an uplifting atmosphere and growth opportunity with others that would be difficult without such help.