Cincinnati, Ohio—With United Youth Camps canceled due to local gathering restrictions in various states, our Cincinnati teens felt isolated and needed to get together. So in just three weeks we put together a camping trip and spent a week at the New River Gorge in West Virginia. This was initially a mistake; we had planned to go to a different gorge! But it ended up being a blessing because there were many activities available to us at the New River Gorge.
We organized our trip much like a regular teen camp—starting with Compass Check every day, followed by field games, team challenges, Christian living, campfire and discussions. The boys and girls were divided into two different cabins with multiple ages.
We stayed at Adventures on the Gorge, which was an amazing facility. The week was spent overcoming and doing things together. One activity onsite was a high ropes course that was color-coded: yellow, green, blue and black, with each color becoming more difficult to climb. It was quite a challenging experience high above the ground!
We were also able to white water raft down the New River. Listening and quick action were things we had to put into practice. Initially they walked us over to our rafts where our guides gave us instructions. Some of our teens were surprised that we were not actually getting “in” the boats, but rather sitting on the side! With great guides on each of the boats, none of the teens fell out into the rapids. The river had some big “class 5” rapids—large, complex rapids that twisted and churned. It gave plenty of excitement and an adrenaline rush as our guide was able to steer us through the heart of it. At other times, we could relax, get out of our rafts and float down the swimming rapids.
Our theme for camp was “Better Together,” a topic that had been strong on the teens’ minds. We discussed how we are better together—with God, family, friends, church and others. We talked about those things every day. With multiple ages in attendance, it was like a family working together as everyone had to pitch in to prepare and serve meals for each other. Some of the other activities were zip lining, kayaking, hiking, an amazing race and team building. Our goal was to tire out the teens before they tired us out!
Through this outdoor trip, the teens in our local congregation grew closer together as a group and our adults built special relationships with the teens, leaving all with memorable experiences.