Thirty-four campers and 30 staff enjoyed a wonderful camp at the southern end of the Sequoia National Forest from July 19 to 26.

Saturday night and Sunday during staff training we endured thunderstorms and rain, which is very unusual for California. But when the campers arrived on Sunday, the rain subsided and we had beautiful temperatures throughout the remainder of camp. God’s Spirit was an obvious part of the camp and in the attitudes of all those who attended. It was an uplifting week, and some campers even claimed it was their best yet.

Several new additions were added to camp including “clincher ball,” which is similar to softball but has a larger ball and no gloves are used. It is still a popular sport in the U.S. and was a hit at camp. We also had a new slip and slide that was longer and faster than before and turned out to be a great addition.

Team building this year was survival skills. The first class was shelter, and the second class was fire building. Campers had to build a shelter for their entire dorm using only a wire saw and two emergency blankets. Dorms worked together and used the elements around them and then the dorm was photographed in their shelter. Each individual had to build a fire using a fire rod and were also able to use dryer lint, steel wool, and other methods, including the hand-drill method.

The theme of “The Pearl of Great Price: Find It and Keep It” was used in decor, Compass Checks and Christian Living, as well as in the dorms by counselors. It was truly a great theme to focus on, and the campers gained a great deal from this parable.

After the regular camp session, six campers and three staff headed off to Extended Session. This year was a four-day excursion on Catalina Island. It began with a boat shuttle to the island and included hiking some of the unseen parts of Catalina.

The first day the group hiked from Avalon to Black Jack Campground, which was 15 miles. Day two was around a 10-mile hike from Black Jack to Little Harbor, where we enjoyed the beautiful surf and sand, and then on to Two Harbors, where we settled in for the night, camping right on the coastline. We saw bison, eagles, fox and deer, and enjoyed fresh-cooked fish from the ocean. Day three was in Two Harbors, fishing, swimming and sea kayaking.

Each night staff gave a brief recap of the day and spiritual principles relating to the theme of camp. The group returned on Thursday tired and suntanned, but with memories of an experience they will not soon forget.

We are already looking forward to next year!

Paul Carter, director