By Paul Carter
Each year after careful consideration and discussion, a theme is chosen for the COGWA Youth Camps program. The camp team has developed a dedicated approach to not only developing a theme each year, but also implementing the theme into the camp program itself.
The theme each year becomes a part of the decorations, including a banner that goes to each camp as a reminder of the theme. It is talked about in the activities and in lessons learned each day. In the dorms the theme is talked about with the counselors, and in all of the camps it is discussed in the Compass Checks and Christian Living classes as part of the spiritual education that camp provides.
Campers have the opportunity to ask questions, to hear different speakers, and to take the lesson from that year and add it to the knowledge that they gained from previous years’ themes. Many campers can remember the themes from camp after camp, going back seven to 10 years, which is a credit both to the campers and to how well the themes have been implemented.
The theme chosen each year is not just applicable to preteens and teens, it is also applicable to staff and, in many cases, to the general membership of the Church. The theme is always chosen as a part of the Word of God and is backed up scripturally to support the principle that is being taught.
For 2019 the theme is “Discernment: Training Your Heart.” Discernment is a trait that all Christians need and is a trait that is lacking in this world. Discernment is the ability to judge well. Merriam-Webster.com defines it as “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure.”
Paul called God’s truth a “mystery” that was hidden from the world, but revealed to those who are called. For people of God, living in a world that is blinded and confused, discernment is a foundational tool for knowing the difference between good and evil—and knowing how to choose what is good.
The second part of the theme—“Training Your Heart”—adds an additional aspect. It shows that there is action involved, and it goes far beyond just being a part of our mind and our thinking, but all the way into the core of an individual and his or her character. We have to exercise the senses and train our hearts and minds to become more like God’s.
We look forward to this year’s theme and to another wonderful year of fun and education at all of our CYC locations.