Philippine Campers Strengthen Their Faith by "Laying a Sure Foundation"
For the fifth consecutive year, the four "dorms" (groups of eight campers and two counselors) slept in tents and cooked their own food. It was a rainy week, but with God's protection and help, the camp proved to be an exciting and a challenging adventure. Here are three of the highlights: Christian Living Class Expanded and Improved The carefully chosen theme for this year's camp was "Laying a Sure Foundation." We decided to dedicate the whole morning after breakfast exclusively for the Christian Living class. After briefly introducing the topic for the day, camp director Ed Macaraeg would get all the campers and staff involved in discussing the prepared questions on the selected topic. The topics covered the basics such as the existence of God, the authority of the Bible and finding the true Church. In addition, common issues like digital addiction, sexual immorality, Sabbath compromise, dating outside the Church and fashion and lifestyle were discussed as well. After the discussion, the dorms would present their findings and conclusions before the entire group, backed up by Scriptures. Not to be outdone, the staff came up with a series of comical skits on the fly to illustrate the specific points of the Christian Living topics. It was educational as well as highly entertaining. Wilderness Skills and Confidence Course Made More Challenging There are three reasons the confidence course and wilderness skills activities this year were more challenging. The first was the heavy rains. The second was the cover of darkness. The third was the raw egg that each camper was supposed to carry uncracked until he or she crossed all four "obstacles" eight hours later. The first obstacle was the wall climb. Each camper had to climb a 40-foot high vertical wall by grabbing onto holds fastened to the wall. These holds became slippery due to the rain and mud. Climbers, of course, had helmets and safety harnesses (as they had for all the other obstacles). After that, they had to descend 40-feet down by rappelling. As they hiked to the next obstacle, they were overtaken by darkness. It was pitch black (except for the flashlights), it was raining hard, and it was getting cold—since practically everyone was soaking wet. The second obstacle was the 50-meter pulley slide across a deep ravine. They had to cross this chasm carrying their food, water, firewood and other supplies—and the raw egg! When they reached the other side, they assigned one person or two to start the fire. They needed to prepare their food without regular conveniences and utensils; they cooked their rice using bamboo tubes and baked their bread without ovens. But since it was raining hard, the food didn't cook that fast. The third obstacle was to cross a 25-meter monkey bridge across another deep ravine. Then, finally, the food was ready. The fourth obstacle was arguably the toughest one—the mud tunnel. Due to the heavy downpour, the tunnel was as slippery as oil. The tunnel gradually sloped upward, and it got narrower and steeper as you went. Finally, the campers entered a small horizontal concrete tube about 18 inches in diameter and had to squeeze their tired bodies through the length of it, about 20 or 30 feet. The wonderful thing is, nobody was complaining. Everyone was excited, upbeat and enthusiastic. We were cheering each other on. Nobody wanted to quit. And every single camper passed through that confidence course. It was an accomplishment when we finally arrived at the campsite at around 10 or 11 p.m. By the way, all the girls arrived with their raw eggs uncracked. As for the guys, about 50 percent of their eggs were cracked, broken…or eaten! Lest one think this was nothing but a senseless torture, the objective was to help them develop the confidence to face challenges and difficulties in life. Safety was always a priority. Youth Corps Volunteers and Ultimate Frisbee This year, we were privileged to have three United Youth Corps volunteers: Luke and Kristina Crane from Spokane, Washington, and Bobby Ouellette, from Dallas, Texas. Luke and Kristina helped in the wall climbing and also introduced a new sport that was really exciting for everyone—ultimate Frisbee. We also played that under the pouring rain—it was a lot of fun. Kristina and Luke also taught volleyball, while Bobby helped out in soccer and basketball. We really appreciate their taking the time to travel to the Philippines to volunteer and help us. They made a lot of friends and left a lot of positive memories. Other Activities Other activities were dance, first aid, inline skating, riflery and swimming. We also had workshops to pass on a marketable or useful skill. Each camper could choose to attend up to two workshops: art illustration, baking, basic electronics, beading accessories, calligraphy, conversational English, envelope production, journalism, LPG/home fire safety, organic fertilizer production, public address system and rubber slipper making. For the other evenings we had orientation night, novelty games, fellowship time, a Bible study open forum and a talent show and dance night. For the Sabbath, we had Bible bowl and Sabbath services. We thank God for a very successful camp, with many valuable lessons learned.