Campers and staff from Alaska to Florida, Pennsylvania to California and Minnesota to Texas—24 states in all—swarmed into camp June 9 and 10 to begin our 13th year at Pinecrest. Over 60 staff and 139 campers were attracted to this utopian setting nestled along the boundary of Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri.
This year was an exceptional year. We were very thankful that God protected us from injury. In years past, a trip or two to the hospital in Fredericktown was normal. This year we had only a couple minor bruises.
One of the main reasons our campers come to United camps is because they feel safe. Mostly, they feel safe from this world's evil environment. Most campers want to be with teens who believe the same as they do. God's Spirit is with them just as it is at home. They are challenged. They are kept busy. They have boundaries. The food is excellent. They are fed with continual instruction from God's Word. Their dorms are air-conditioned. And the staff members show great concern for them.
This year, as with all camps, our theme was "Diving Into the Word of God." Every Compass Check, Bible study, seminar and Sabbath message directed our campers and staff to immerse themselves into God's Word. We want our campers to gain biblical knowledge, take it to heart and live by it.
We were privileged to have UCG President Clyde Kilough and our director of education, David Register, visit Pinecrest. Mr. Kilough emphasized seeking God's Kingdom first, explaining that the Church is the future of our campers. Mr. Register spoke to renewal and restoration by God and the importance of allowing God's Word to restore us.
This year for the first time eight female and eight male campers were able to participate in a wilderness survival course. Several classes were held to initiate interested campers in the basics of wilderness survival skills. On successive nights, eight girls and then eight boys who rated highest on a survival test had the opportunity to participate in a one-night survival campout several miles from Camp Pinecrest. Given only sheets of plastic, two matches each and a tin cup, they made camp for the night, started a fire and ate edible plants, such as sassafras, berries and cattails, found in the area.
The uniqueness of all United camps is God pouring His blessing on our children. Each camp mutually excels the others in several ways. But our same wonderful, peaceful, loving Father performs marvels too wondrous to understand in all our camps.
Fred Yates, who manages the Pinecrest facilities all year for the Nazarene church, was again impressed by the UCG campers and program. He said, "You're not running a camp; you're running a training program!"
One of our camper's parents summarized the importance of camp to our teens in a survey she sent to us after camp, "I feel these camps are one of the most important things we do for youth. They give the teens hope in a world that seems hopeless much of the time." UN