It was a Fourth-of-July week with an international flavor at Camp Hye Sierra this summer. Campers and staff from all parts of the United States, along with those from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Barbados, gathered in the majestic mountains of California's Sierra Nevada range for a week together in "the Zone.'
With over 200 campers and staff, it was the largest camp yet in our five-year history at Hye Sierra. And with God's evident blessings, it was also one of our best.
Our United Youth Camps theme this year was "Diving Into God's Word!' Morning Compass Checks and evening Christian Living classes focused on deepening our appreciation and understanding of different aspects of God's Word, from the authority and reliability of the Bible, to a better understanding of prophecy (complete with the prophecies of Daniel reenacted before our eyes around the campfire circle Friday night!).
With God's Word being our clear foundation for life at camp and beyond, our motto for the week became "Learn It, Live It—Love It!'—which we certainly did at camp.
God's blessings were evident in many ways. With a very low snowpack in the mountains over the winter, the Kings River was running well below normal, and with less than a week to go before camp, we got a call from the river outfitters informing us our rafting trip had to be cancelled.
This forced a change in our overnight camping activity for the older campers, but because of good precamp scouting for another activity by Randy and Kay Schreiber (pastor from the Phoenix, Arizona, Northwest congregation) we were able to plan a day hike in its place up Big Baldy, a granite summit topping out at 8,211 feet and offering beautiful views.
For our hikes among the big trees in the national parks and to the summit of Big Baldy, the Schreibers arranged team-building challenges and asked the campers to remember how God provided for the Israelites during their wandering in the wilderness—albeit a different kind of wilderness than one covered with giant sequoias!
With temperatures threatening to rise uncomfortably later in the week, Mr. Schreiber started the hike up Baldy by pointing out some clouds in the distance and reminding us how God provided a cloud by day for the Israelites, and maybe He would do the same for us.
By the time we reached the summit, our cloud cover had come! Temperatures for the rest of camp were much more comfortable, and quite a bit lower than weather forecasters had predicted.
Full Slate of Fun
Other activities during the week included kayaking, archery, basketball, volleyball, speedaway, crafts, orienteering, rock climbing and rappelling, swimming, dancing, a Ping-Pong tournament, fishing, novelty Olympics, campfire skits and talent, our camp-end banquet and dance and our popular camper-staff football and basketball games.
During Sabbath services, campers Gregory Zajac and Jedd Cole gave sermonettes. Others participated in camper speeches and presentations later in the day. We were also fortunate to have visits from Larry Greider, national director of United Youth Camps; David Register, director of Education Programs for the Church; and President Clyde Kilough during portions of camp this year.
It was a full week of fellowship and fun, with many wonderful memories and lessons. UN