We have now completed five very enjoyable preteen camps. After one camp, we had a number of campers and staff members test positive. We are extremely grateful that most had no or only minor symptoms, and no one needed to be hospitalized. We are now well past the last camp, so it appears the outbreak after one was an anomaly.
However, out of a desire to do our best to encourage safety at our longer teen camps that are coming up soon, the camp team is making a few updates to our 2021 COVID-19 Protocols, in addition to making some procedural updates at our camps.
If you are planning to attend any of our camps in the remaining part of 2021, please go to camps.cogwa.org/covid/ and read the latest updated protocols.
U.S. National Camp Coordinator
Camp Lone Star started on Sunday, June 6, and concluded Wednesday, June 9. There were 49 boys and 43 girls present, for a total of 92 campers. We were thankful for weather that was much better than originally forecasted, with only a little rain and often a nice breeze. The lakefront activities proved a nice way to cool off. They included swimming a zip line, a blob and canoeing/kayaking. During the activities and Christian Living classes, campers learned more about how to be lights in a world of darkness.
Keeping campers and staff safe and, at the same time, running normal camps remain the twin goals of the camp team for 2021. We have said we would modify our safety protocols for COVID if things changed in the country, and today we’re making a number of changes. The virus is not gone, and a major part of our plan is to endeavor to keep anyone from bringing the virus to camp to spread to others. Based on recently posted updates and scientific studies, we are expanding the ways applicants can assure us they don’t have the virus when they arrive.
Here are the details of those changes, which will be incorporated into our full document. Please note that all other parts of that document are still valid and need to be followed, but these changes should make things easier.
Applicants can fulfill the Pre-Camp COVID-19 Testing requirement by a negative PCR test result or by any of the following three ways (all of which are now approved by the CDC):
If you do not have proof under points 2 or 3 and are concerned about the cost of a PCR or rapid antigen test, please note that in almost all areas there is some free testing available—either through one of the drugstore chains (Walgreens, CVS, etc.) or through your medical insurance company. You just have to search and be persistent in seeking them out. If you need help with ideas, please call the director of the camp you or your child want to attend for assistance.
 The CDC says most people are only infectious for 10 days, though adults with severe to critical illness are likely to be infectious no longer than 20 days, so a positive test well before camp should be sufficient—as long as the person is symptom-free by the time of camp. The NIH article says antibodies are still normally effective at up to 6-8 months.
We have great news for those interested in attending camp this year. The camp application system is now open!
This year we faced a number of challenges in opening the system for applications, including working around complications from COVID as well as a complete overhaul of our waiver documents by an outside expert attorney. The last of the waiver documentation is still not connected to the application system, but with just six weeks before our first preteen camp starts, we simply could not wait any longer. Go to the camp website (https://camps.cogwa.org/) click on the “Apply” tab on the navigation bar and follow the instructions on that page.
Please go ahead and register now, and the camp directors will send you a link later for the waiver, so be sure to complete that step when you receive that email with the link. The directors will need that electronically signed document before they can actually accept anyone, but having applications will allow them to start firming up their plans for a wonderful camp season this year!
COVID restrictions are beginning to change in a number of ways, and this week the camp team will be discussing changes to our COVID protocols as well. We will be sure to notify you when those protocol changes are finalized and posted on the camp website.
Greetings from the camp team! We are looking forward to running our camps as normal this year—with a few modifications. We have spent countless hours researching and discussing how we might be able to safely run our camps, and we have modeled our current thinking for requirements on how the American Camp Association described some camps running successfully in person. The approach basically involves testing everyone before camp, as well as adding some more screening and ongoing monitoring of campers and staff.
We have posted our conclusions on a new COVID page of the camp website. It is available by clicking this link (camps.cogwa.org/covid/) or by going to the camp website and selecting the “COVID” tab on the top navigation bar.
We would encourage everyone considering camp this summer to take a look at the page. As you do, keep in mind that the newer approach to PCR tests involves only running a swab around the nostrils, not the deep push up into the nasal cavity.
Additionally, we would remind everyone that this situation is fluid—meaning that if things in the areas around our camp locations either improve or get worse, we will modify our protocols. For example, the CDC has just released some new information about the antigen (rapid) tests being more accurate than in the past. We are currently evaluating that information, and if it is clear we should modify our protocols, we will be sure to post that information—so please be patient, but check the page regularly.
We also wanted to give you a quick update on the application system. It has been further delayed due to having our outside attorney do a complete review and modification of our waivers and releases. He’s an expert in his field, and you will find the new documents to be very different this year. The good news is twofold—we are getting close to having them finalized, and the documents will be initialed (digitally) on each page with a digital signature on the final page. We hope to open the application system soon and will make this year’s camp video available at the same time.
All aboard the S.S. Virtual Teen Camp Program! We are pleased to announce that we will start taking applications at 9 a.m. Central time on Sunday, July 5. The link to applications will be available from the top of the camp website home page: camps.cogwa.org/. We welcome applications from any teenager who is interested in embarking on a weeklong virtual expedition (beginning on Sunday, July 26) to learn what it means to be firmly anchored in God’s Word.
Please note: Since we will be collecting personal contact information for minors, we must also have the contact information for a parent or guardian to obtain a release for that information.
There will be four regions to select from during the application process: West, Central, Southeast and Northeast. Each camper should apply for a first and a second option since we are limited in the size for each group. The program will feature daily Compass Checks, Christian Living classes, a Bible Q&A, online activities and, of course, opportunities for fellowship.
Since we know some of our teens have summer jobs, a link to the Compass Checks will be sent each day over social media along with a daily Bible verse and a reminder of what’s coming that evening. Christian Living classes, the Bible Q&A and fellowship opportunities via Zoom breakout rooms will be available each evening at times that are convenient based on each group’s time zone. To cap off the week, we will be webcasting an “end of camp” Sabbath service on the Sabbath of Aug. 1, starting at 12 noon Eastern (9 a.m. Pacific).
“Deck hands” needed
Just as we would if we were hosting an in-person camp, we are asking for “all hands on deck!” We are particularly in need of experienced young adult camp staff members. If you are interested in assisting with the day-to-day operations of the virtual program—working with technology, acting as a breakout room moderator, assisting with social media postings, etc., we encourage you to submit a staff application and mark your area(s) of preference. We acknowledge the contributions camp personnel have made in the experiences of our campers, and we appreciate in advance your willingness to serve.
We look forward to “sail-ebrating” good times with all of you!
Anchors away! COGWA’s Virtual Preteen Camp is about to set sail! In place of our in-person preteen camps this summer, we are ready to launch our VPC—Virtual Preteen Camp. Interesting Christian Living classes; fun, do-at-home activities; video connections with friends; songs; dances; art; cooking and more will all be a part of this exciting camp program. On this voyage, which will officially begin on July 10, you will learn what it means to be firmly anchored to God and His way of life.
On three Fridays in July—July 10, 17 and 24—a Christian Living class and accompanying teaching tool will be released. You will be able to download these to use for a Sabbath activity. Then, each Sunday during this time five new activities will be unlocked for our preteens to participate in and enjoy at their convenience. Preteens will be able to post videos of themselves doing the activity or reporting to their friends about what they have accomplished! Full instructions will be emailed on July 6 to each family that registers.
VPC is specifically designed for our families who have preteens aged 6 to 12 in their household. There is no tuition fee, but you must register to participate! Registration will open on Sunday, June 21. Just click on the registration link below. Once registered, you will immediately receive a confirmation email. Be sure to check your spam folder if you don’t see the confirmation. Then on Monday, July 6, you will receive the instructional email, which will include the list of supplies you’ll want to have on hand as you sail into the camp program.
We look forward to seeing you on board!
Register here: COGWA’s VPC Registration
The COGWA administration has had ongoing discussions with our CYC camp directors for the last few months, striving to take into consideration all the factors that might affect our ability to effectively run our summer camps. As all are aware, we made the decision earlier to cancel our June camps due to the restrictions that came about from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the weeks that followed, the camp directors continued to study the situation and evaluate the protocols that would be required if we sponsored our camps. The camp team met again with the administration this past week, on June 3, to discuss our ability to run our camp programs in light of the current community standards and guidelines required of overnight (residential) camps.
Unfortunately, we find that the restrictions that caused us to cancel our June camps are still in place and will likely be so throughout the summer. As such, it seemed unreasonable to the administration and the camp directors to attempt to run our camps amid restrictions requiring social distancing, face coverings, disinfection protocols, transportation restrictions etc. Sadly, this realization necessitates the cancellation of our remaining summer camps.
While this is disappointing to us all—especially our campers—our camp directors will do their best to provide a virtual program that will help to fill the void left by cancellation of our summer camps. Listen for announcements on this as the summer progresses. We would add that we are still planning to host our CYC Winter Camp in late December and are looking forward to a dynamic and exciting camp program in the summer of 2021.
We have appreciated your prayers about this decision and feel that God has led us to the wisest choice at this time.
For the past several weeks, our camp directors have been monitoring the conditions that might affect our ability to hold our COGWA Youth Camps this summer. On Tuesday the camp directors and Ministerial Services met to evaluate our current situation. Many factors are affecting our ability to host camps this summer, including facility availability, social-distancing requirements, group-size restrictions and registration numbers—not to mention the safety and welfare of our children and staff members.
As a result of these considerations, we have determined that it will be necessary to cancel our five preteen camps that were scheduled to take place during the month of June—Camp Lone Star in Texas, Camp Sequoia (preteen) in California, Camp Chattahoochee in Georgia, Camp Cherokee in Arkansas and Camp Lebanon in Minnesota. While it is disappointing, we feel that this decision—made out of an abundance of caution—is best for these early camps. In lieu of the full camp experience, COGWA Youth Camps will develop online activities and classes (by early July) that will help fill the gap left by missing out on camp this summer.
At this juncture, we are still planning to hold all of our teen camps, which run from late July through mid-August. We also are still planning for our preteen Camp Arrowhead in Ohio, which is scheduled for August.
We hope that you will do your best to encourage the preteens and help them find positive outlets for their energy and enthusiasm this summer. We will continue to monitor the situation and inform you of any other changes with the remaining camps.
For the past several months, we have been working toward a new application system for COGWA Youth Camps that will integrate with our database system. We are now happy to announce that the system will open at 10 a.m. Central Daylight Time on Sunday, March 15, at which time you can start applying for our 2020 camps.
You will start at the same place you’ve always gone—the COGWA Portal. When you log into the account, you will see the CYC application notice at the bottom left of your screen. To this point, everything will look the same. However, when you click on the “Apply” button, you will notice things starting to change.
The instructions in the blue box above your list of household members will be much larger with a lot more detailed instructions. We encourage you to read everything in that blue box very carefully! You will note several important points, including the following highlights:
We understand this will take a little more time this year, but it will allow us to pull that data into our new system to be able to pre-populate additional applications. The system is new, and though we have tested it extensively, it is quite possible that we may need to make a minor tweak here or there. Once we have this year’s data and are comfortable with how the system is working, we will be able to address how much we can pre-populate forms for everyone next year.
We appreciate your patience in working with this new system. If you have any trouble or questions, you can contact us at email@example.com, and we’ll be happy to assist you.
We are off to a good start here in Montello, Wisconsin. When we arrived to set up, there was rain and several inches of mud in places. It snowed about 5-6 inches on Monday and Monday night. Campers are enjoying the snow. I know of one young man who had never seen snow in real life. He’s very excited!
Several campers opted out just before camp due to sickness, so we have 71 campers present.
The temperatures during camp are warmer than normal. Tonight’s low will be a toasty 32 degrees, so we have about 20 winter camping outside tonight—in tents instead of quinzhees. (There’s not enough snow to build these snow shelters.)
Most of the campers attended summer camp this year, so they are getting a second dose of the camp theme. They are saying this is a good thing.
Thankfully, we’re enjoying a “healthy” camp, with only a few coughs and sniffles. So far, we have no flu.
Thank you for your prayers,
Camp Heritage 2019 is underway. A total of 64 campers and 41 staff members are enjoying time in the mountains, away from the world. Weather has been good so far. A few showers today caused a schedule shift, but everyone is having a very good time.
Thanks to Ken Treybig for paying us a visit the first two days and giving the first Christian Living Class on Monday. Tomorrow, 50 campers and staff will be spending the day on the Lower Youghiogheny River.
You’re prayers for a successful camp are greatly appreciated.
Scott Lord, Director
We’re at the midweek mark at Texas Teen Camp in Athens, Texas. All 145 of us (89 campers and 56 staff) are enjoying the facilities, which include an indoor, air-conditioned gymnasium and excellent housing. Our kitchen staff is doing a wonderful job feeding us. We’ve experienced excellent messages on discernment in our Compass Checks and Christian Living classes and are anticipating the ones to come. Lake Athens, a three-minute drive, has served as an ideal spot for water-skiing and tubing. Camp is flying by.
Greetings from Camp Fort Bluff!
Camp began this past Saturday evening after sunset with our staff orientation. We have one of our smaller staffs this year, with just 37, but they’ve been one of our more lively groups. On Sunday afternoon 67 campers arrived with eager anticipation to get things started. After our camper orientation, Mr. Winner regaled us all with some mixer games that went over really well, and then we all gathered around the campfire by the pond for some tasty s’mores (kosher marshmallows, of course)!
This morning we all awoke to some beautiful weather, sunny and around 70 degrees—although by noon, the temperatures were in the mid-80s. The weather forecast is calling for some mid-week pop-up showers, but they shouldn’t be anything that will dampen our spirits.
The first Compass Check and Christian Living classes were very well received and got us all thinking about this year’s camp theme. All of us here thank you for your prayers for a safe, healthy and spiritual camp, and ask that you continue those prayers.
Greetings from Camp Chattahoochee in the beautiful North Georgia mountains.
The weather has been quite nice for June. There have been some scattered storms in the area—some quite severe, with high winds that have knocked out power—but they have not touched this camp! The partly cloudy skies have been a blessing. We’ve been right around the mid-80s for most of the camp, and it looks like that will continue through our Thursday morning departure.
This is our largest attendance ever, with 62 campers and 61 staff! Our numbers have caused some delays in a few areas, but we’re adapting and having FUN, learning more about God through the various aspects of our theme.
“Casualties” have been minimal, with a few bee stings and bruises, but they’re healing up quickly and have not affected participation.
The kitchen was entirely remodeled, and thankfully, through the blessing of the Boot Scoot fund-raiser, we were able to donate a commercial coffeemaker. We are grateful that the owner has allowed us to use this facility each year. It’s difficult to persuade him to let us do any work parties, but with the abundance of staff, I have added a campus improvement team, which has found a variety of ways to contribute.
Thanks for your continued prayers, and thanks to God and Jesus Christ for the blessings we have through our camp program!
I’m heading out to the novelty Olympics, so I’ll sign off here.
Greetings from Camp Cherokee!
We are now into our second day of activities, and things have been going extremely well! Things did start out really soggy—a few arrived late due to the intensity of the weather, and rain was to be the norm for the entirety of camp. But, after drenching rains Sunday night and storms early Monday morning, we awoke to sunny skies, mild temperatures and lower humidity. Our Father in heaven heard our prayers and has blessed us with absolutely beautiful weather! Now there is no real chance of rain in the forecast for the remainder of camp!
The theme has been thoroughly embraced by the staff. They are all working diligently to incorporate it, along with the Christian Living classes of the morning, into their daily activities. Many of the campers are truly capturing the vision of what is being relayed. It is really neat to see!
We are all encouraged and motivated to make this the best camp experience for these young people and are looking to the overall Camp Director, our Father in heaven, to help guide and inspire us for the remainder of camp.
Greetings from Camp Sequoia preteen camp.
We are off and running and into our second day of activities. The weather is beautiful, with temperatures in the 80s during the day and 59 at night. Very nice! The camp is much greener this year as well, because of early rains this year.
The campers are really taking in the theme of this year, and it is a well-received concept. They are absorbing it like sponges. They do understand and grasp the concept, and I am pleased that it will work well for both camp age groups.
Our staff is working the theme into their activities as well, and are doing a fabulous job.
We finally have a little Wi-Fi today, and I wanted to be sure to get you all an update.
Greetings from Camp Lone Star!
We are well into the flow of camp now, with 83 campers and 71 staff on site. Camp began on Sunday with some heavy rain during check-in, which later developed into a severe thunderstorm in the area. Around 9 p.m. the camp lost power, and because of the lack of power to the well pump, we soon also lost flowing water! Monday morning the power was still out, so the bucket brigade began, with our staff providing buckets of water from the lake to make flushing the toilets possible. A couple of staff members headed into town to rent generators—one to power the well pump and the other to keep the refrigeration working for the perishable food. Meanwhile, power lines in the area were being repaired by the electric company, with a vague answer as to when power would be restored. The administrative team had a plan in place to notify parents of the situation and end camp on Monday afternoon—just a little over 24 hours after we began. But thankfully, with the generators in place to keep food and sanitation available and to buy us some more time, power was restored, and we were able to continue camp as scheduled!
Camp director Ken Giese used this as a teaching opportunity with the campers, discussing how we have to use discernment when making choices. Our hearts may tell us one thing (stay at camp) and our heads may say another (end camp early to keep everyone safe). In the minds of the campers the second choice was not even an option! Their hearts said “stay,” and their heads said “pray.” What beautiful innocence and faith!
Thankfully, with much prayer and God’s mercy, the choice to end camp early did not have to be made, and campers and staff alike are appreciating being at camp—perhaps even more than usual. Activities have been in full swing with very few schedule changes needed. The weather has changed dramatically, and we’re now enjoying sunny skies and a warm sunny day.
Thanks for your continued prayers for the rest of camp. It’s an awesome privilege to be here together to have our hearts further trained to discern in a way that is pleasing to our great God.
All the best from Camp Lone Star!
Program Director, Camp Lone Star
Due to a number of factors, we were unable to produce the normal camp video following last year’s camps. So this year Mr. Horchak dedicated the April 3 In Accord to be primarily an update on COGWA Youth Camps for 2019. Here’s a link to the video on the COGWA Members website: https://members.cogwa.org/news/in-accord/cogwa-youth-camps-2019/.
The camp application system is open and active as of March 1 at 10 a.m. There was a slight makeover of the website, and the camp details for 2019 were made available on the site in mid-February. You may now start applying for the camp(s) of your choice by clicking the “Apply Now” button on that camp’s web page. Alternatively, you may also begin by logging into your Portal account (https://portal.cogwa.org/acct/login.php) and looking for the “Click Here to Apply” button on the bottom left of the home page.
Please note: The system was changed this year to require that a new photo (taken within the last three months) be uploaded and the date entered before you will be allowed to fill in an application for camp. Just click on the red camera icon to the left of the “Enter Applicant Details” to upload a new photo and enter the date it was taken.
National Camp Coordinator
With the beginning of January and the end of Winter Camp, our 2018 camp season came to a close. The last news update about a 2018 camp was posted on the website, and the site was put in “off-season mode.”
Last fall at the camp conference the camp team decided on the theme of “Discernment: Training Your Heart” for 2019. We are still working on a banner for the new theme, but the dates for our camps have been finalized and are now posted on the home page at https://camps.cogwa.org/.
More details will come later as we get official descriptions, pricing and deadlines posted, but the Texas teen camp is moving locations, and we have found a new location for a preteen/family camp in Minnesota in late June.
As we’ve done since getting our COGWA portal working for applications, we plan to begin taking 2019 camp applications in early March.
National Camp Coordinator
Today we finished another successful Winter Camp. We had 81 campers and 37 staff, coming from 25 different states.
We arrived at camp to find a thin covering of packed, icy snow. Then it rained all day Thursday, the first day of camp. This is very rare, and I don’t recall it happening before. Temperatures were around 40 degrees. It did snow more on Friday. Then on Monday, the last full day of activities, we had a beautiful afternoon of perfect snow—over 5 inches. Everyone was thrilled, and there were many snowballs thrown!
Other than a change of schedule for the first day, all went well. This was a very healthy year, with very few instances of sickness. Those few who did get sick got better quickly.
Spiritual messages all focused around the theme of walking with integrity and were well received by the campers.
Thank you all for your prayers. It was another good year.
Greetings from the mountains of southern Pennsylvania.
Camp Heritage is underway, and we’re sending cool mountain greetings. We’re 50 happy campers and 38 staff members learning about walking with integrity. Temps in the day are in the 80s, with cool nights.
Special thanks to Cody and Bobbi Kitts for bringing their expertise to the team. We’re excited to be adding rock climbing to our full list of activities this year. The list still includes white-water rafting.
We’re blessed to have four ministers and their wives here on the staff. We’re also enjoying having nine new staff members who were campers last year. So much energy and enthusiasm. (Wish we could bottle it.)
Monday was our first full day of activities at Camp Fort Bluff in the mountains east of Nashville, Tennessee. Staff training was Saturday night and Sunday morning. Campers arrived Sunday afternoon and after dinner enjoyed some mixer activities out on one of the manicured football fields in beautiful evening weather.
We have 83 campers from 18 states and four countries outside the United States—Canada, Barbados, England and South Africa. Our 41 staff members also include four staffers from Barbados, so even our staff has a bit of an international flair as we strive to provide the millennial atmosphere that is such a positive example of God’s way of life in action.
We had some overcast skies this morning and a short, light drizzle in the afternoon, but it didn’t dampen spirits at all. Staff members are attentive and eager to serve, and campers are having a great time, with the first of two dances taking place tonight. We would appreciate prayers for God’s continued blessings!
Camp is off and running with 67 campers and 59 staff present. We enjoyed an overcast (but dry!) day yesterday, making it possible to kick things off with an all-camp swim after orientation.
A bit of morning rain put a damper on our first activity period this morning, but the skies have cleared, and we’re back on schedule with activities as normal. A chance of rain and some thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next couple of days, but I’m confident the campers will have an enjoyable and meaningful camp nonetheless. Staff members have already shown their creativity and ingenuity in hosting an impromptu dance class this morning in lieu of some of the normally scheduled activities, and if more creativity is needed, they’ll be ready!
Thanks ahead of time for your prayers regarding the weather, safety and impact of the remainder of camp.
Greetings from Camp Sequoia,
We have started off camp with great weather, happy campers and excited staff. Campers arrived safely through Sunday afternoon and enjoyed an outdoor barbecue, followed by orientation and a barn dance. At points during the dance, everyone was out on the floor.
Today we are starting off the day with a Compass Check and the first full day of activities.
We are all so blessed to participate in this area of God’s Church and to work in and be a part of the lives of the young people God has called and is very evidently working with!
A total of 54 campers, 58 staff and nine apprentice staff arrived to camp yesterday. We finished our on-site staff training and got everyone checked in and fed. Camper orientation went well. After the camp song (“How I Love Thy Law, O Lord”), we sent them back to their dorms for their first dorm meeting and to get settled in.
We had the threat of severe weather overnight, but aside from thunder and a few sprinkles, nothing developed here, and most everyone got a good night’s sleep.
This morning everyone arrived for breakfast and the first Christian Living class of the day with smiles and bright eyes. The activities have all started well, and there is a wonderful atmosphere of excitement, anticipation and desire to do all things with integrity.
The forecast is for high temps, with heat indexes in the low 100s every day, so we are emphasizing water and sunscreen! But we have prayed for and fully expect God’s guiding hand and blessing on this camp. Thank you all for your prayers for the success of camp!
We finally got a window of Wi-Fi, so I wanted to send an update on the preteen camp!
Camp has been going very well, and the weather has been beautiful. A couple of weeks ago the forecast was for temperatures to be in the 90s. We arrived on Sunday to 66 degrees, with a low of 49 degrees Sunday night. The days have been in the 70s, with beautiful sunny weather. Campfire at night is welcomed by the campers, who were glad they brought their jackets.
We have 20 campers and 38 staff enjoying the mountains, the activities and the secluded environment that this camp provides. Besides the occasional mouse, we had a rattlesnake on one of the cabin porches, but unfortunately for it, it had seen better days!
Camp has truly been blessed. This has been another year of amazing staff and excited campers.
Camp Chattahoochee got off to another great start this year! We’re right at 112 (50 campers and 62 staff—11 of whom are “apprentices”).
One productive change we made this year was having the children go to the pool after Sunday check-in, in addition to the get-acquainted time. After many hours of driving, it helped the kids get to sleep more easily.
Temperatures on Monday, June 18, reached a high of 92, which is a bit high for June in the north Georgia mountains, but there were sunny skies and all of the activities ran smooth. The kids are having a movie night tonight as they enjoy some popcorn. It’s a nice break for the staff after a hot day!
We have a riflery (BB gun) class, team challenge, slip and slide, complete with score updates on the TV screen in the dining hall, swimming in an Olympic-size pool, canoeing on a beautiful lake, arts and crafts (making bluebird houses this year) and gaga ball.
The new owner has put a lot of money and work into the improvements of this camp. A beautiful pavilion was built for the lakefront, and in the kitchen we’re enjoying a new commercial ice maker, new freezer and new compressor unit for the walk-in freezer.
The apprentice program is going great. Without this program, we would not have been able to accept these 13- and 14-year-old staff members. They are helping with activities, campus improvement, custodial work, kitchen service and other areas. Lewis Bryant, our head chef, even gave them a class today, and they helped to make the banana pudding, which was excellent!
We have closed registration for STAFF applications at Camp Arrowhead, as we currently have 30 percent more applicants than we will be able to accept this year. Thank you for the overwhelming response from those who have shown interest in serving our campers!
Please contact Zach Smith at 330-685-0425 or firstname.lastname@example.org to check on availability for additional campers if not registered by the June 15 deadline.
COGWA's preteen Camp Lone Star got off to a great start on Sunday, June 10th. When parents arrived with their campers for check-in, our staff was ready to welcome them and escort the campers, ages 6-12, and their luggage to their dorms. A banner in the dining hall reminded everyone of this year's camp theme "Walking With Integrity".
Sunday afternoon was spent moving into dorms and measuring swimming proficiency and after a delicious dinner together, we enjoyed an evening of Novelty Olympics. Camp Lone Star is off to a great start!
We have closed registration for Camp Carter since we have reached camper capacity and have placed several boys and girls on the waiting list. Our other teen camps still have camper openings, and Camp Carter is still accepting STAFF applications through May 15.
Howdy, parents and preteen campers! GREAT NEWS! The Camp Lone Star application deadline has been extended to April 23. (Camp runs from June 10-13, 2018, and staff members arrive June 10.) You can submit your application online by going to www.camps.cogwa.org, navigating to the Camp Lone Star page and clicking the Apply button. We are looking forward to seeing y’all soon!
The camp application system is now open. Simply go to your COGWA portal account, look under the Events area on the bottom left of your account main page and click on the “Click Here to Apply.” If you do not already have a COGWA portal account, go to the “Apply” page of the camp website (http://camps.cogwa.org/apply/) and click the link in the second paragraph for instructions on how to set up your portal account. Details about each camp can be found on the individual camp pages of the camp website.
Please note that we need a NEW photo (taken within the three months before an application is submitted) of each person that applies for camp to use in case of a medical emergency. If you need to upload a new photo, go to your portal account home page, find the name of the person applying for camp at the top right of the page under the “Household Members” heading and click the camera icon. Follow the instructions to upload a new photo and make that the default profile image.
We would also like to remind everyone that we want all COGWA attendees who wish to attend camp to have that opportunity. To help ensure that, we offer scholarship help (generally a partial tuition scholarship) to those who need it to be sure they can attend one camp this year. Simply contact the camp director to request a scholarship to get the process started.
CYC Overall Coordinator
Unfortunately, our preteen camp in Wisconsin—Camp Woodlake—has had to be canceled for this summer. The group that was renting us the camp facility is unable to continue financially, so they have returned our deposit with their apologies. Our camp administrative staff will be exploring options that might be available for a replacement. We will notify you if and when another option becomes available.
Preteen Camp Coordinator
Each year around this time we receive a few inquiries about dates for our camps in the new year. We have the tentative dates set by fall, but often there are a few details that still need to be worked out with the facilities, so we like to wait until mid-January to post the dates on the Camp website and switch it to an “off-season mode.” The full details, prices and descriptions of the camps, as well as information about the year’s theme, are posted in early February. The application system is then updated and goes live around the first of March.
I hope this information about the timing of our camp website is helpful. If you have need of any information in advance of these dates, feel free to contact the individual camp directors or me.
National Camp Coordinator
The untimely death of Mr. Todd Carey leaves a hole in many people's lives, but his loving and powerful example of Christianity lives on in our memories. Mr. Carey was deeply committed to many things, including his service as director for one of our teen camps.
Several have asked where to send information concerning Camp Fort Bluff. Mrs. Gloria Carey will continue to handle the finances for this year, so checks should be sent to her at the address on the Fort Bluff page on our camp website.
Applications and related paperwork or questions (signatures and releases, health exams, etc.) should be sent to Mr. Ken Treybig, who will direct the camp this summer. His address in Gladewater, Texas is also on the Fort Bluff page of the camp website.
The COGWA Youth Camps team is happy to announce that on March 1 the application system opened to begin taking 2017 applications. We will once again be using the COGWA Portal system, but we encourage everyone to start the process by reading the article on the main page of the camp website (http://camps.cogwa.org) titled “Camp Application System.” There are some specific points we would like you to be aware of before you begin your application.
We think you will find that applying via this new system is faster and simpler. As mentioned in the article, much of your information is retained for subsequent years’ applications and needs only to be reviewed (and edited if changes are needed).
For your convenience, here is a direct link to the article with further explanation and additional information: “Camp Application System.”
We hope to see you at camp this year!
CYC Overall Coordinator
From Ken Treybig, CYC Overall Coordinator: With the ending of Winter Camp, our CYC program has finished another very successful camp year. The total number of attendees (campers and staff) at our preteen and teen camps in 2016 topped the 1,200 mark for the first time. Attendance has shown an increase each year since our beginning in 2011. Comparing the 2016 attendance to our first year shows an increase of 275, a 30 percent increase in attendance. We are very thankful for that and deeply appreciate your prayers and support for the program.
We have been busy planning for this year’s camps and have posted the camps and their dates on our camp website, http://camps.cogwa.org. All our preteen camps will be in the same locations as last year, as will all but one of our teen camps. Due to continuing price increases, we had to leave Camp Strong Rock. After a year and a half of searching and visiting camps in the general area, we have secured the use of Camp Fort Bluff as a replacement. It is located outside Dayton, Tennessee, which is about 45 miles northeast of Chattanooga.
The theme for 2017 will be “Vision: Seeing Clearly in a Clouded World.” We are currently updating all the individual camp pages, working on articles and new photos for the website and expect to have it ready to go around the first of February. Our goal is to have the application system updated and ready to go for the first of March. Watch for further announcements.
Here is a report from Winter Camp Director Gary Black.
Hello from Winter Camp in Montello, Wisconsin!
It’s a sunny 33 degrees as I write, and camp is off to a good start. We have 74 campers and 44 staff. This is the largest number of campers we’ve had since 2009, and we are above our 22-year historical average.
Between Sunday and Monday the temperature rose to 42 degrees, and we had almost a half-inch of rain. The snow had been quite deep, with two good snowfalls before camp, but we lost some due to the rain. We still have several inches, which we’re happy about.
The field where we play broomball is frozen, and we have enough snow and ice for tubing as well. But the ice on the pond is not yet thick enough for ice skating. Perhaps it will be soon.
We have a new human foosball court, and another new activity called “9 Square in the Air.” We also added “You Be the Judge,” where campers are presented with several scenarios and are charged with judging them based on God’s statutes and judgments.
There are only a few with colds, so it’s a fairly healthy camp so far. There have been a couple of falls due to very slippery conditions in places (caused by the rain). Both individuals were checked at the local clinic and are fine.
After today the temperatures should remain below freezing. Quinzhees are now being built for winter camping tonight and tomorrow night.
Thank you for your prayers for the safety and success of the camp. I’m including a couple of pictures below so you can see our snow!
Hope you’re staying warm,
In order to serve you better, we have created our own system for camp applications and registrations, and it is now open for applications. Please note there are two main steps to applying for camp with the new system.
Create a household account on the COGWA portal and add your spouse, if applicable, and any members of your household who wish to apply for camp.
When you log into your account, COGWA Youth Camps 2016 will show in the Upcoming Events section with a link to begin the application process.
Since the system is new, we have created a tutorial on how to use it, and we strongly encourage you to read it before you start your application. It is the “Applying for Camp—Start Here” article on the home page of the camp website, camps.cogwa.org. You can also find it by clicking on the Apply button on the navigation bar then clicking the link in the second sentence to read the article/tutorial. You can then go back to the Apply page to start the process.
We are pleased to announce that the 2016 dates for our preteen and teen camps are posted on the camp website. We have one change of location for a preteen camp and a few camps have had to change from the dates they originally were planning to use this year.
Thank you for your patience over the past years as we worked with a somewhat awkward application system. Now that a system is being developed internally for all our needs (Feast, Young Adult Leadership Weekend, Winter Family Weekend, etc.), we are working to include our camps in that system.
Our goal is to provide you with a much-easier-to-use application system for camps, including an integrated photo upload system. However, this will be the biggest and in many ways the most complicated part of the new system, so we wanted to give you advance notice that the start of registration might be delayed a little this year—depending on what complications might be encountered. While that might be a slight inconvenience, we believe you’ll agree that it will be worth it!
Overall Camp Coordinator
A “miracle snow” preceded Winter Camp, and the 68 campers thoroughly enjoyed it. In addition to friendly snowball fights, campers enjoyed a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. This year we introduced “Human Foosball,” which turned out to be a favorite. What is that? Imagine a giant snowy foosball table (the field), with campers along the rods trying to kick balls through the goals.
Three snow quinzhees were piled up and hollowed out for staff and campers to camp outside in the winter cold. Twenty-two campers and staff were accepted to participate in winter camping. The low temperature was pretty warm this year, around 20 degrees.
We thank God for another wonderful year!
We completed four very successful days of our fifth preteen camp at Woodlake Bible Camp from Aug. 9-12. For all four days, the campers and staff enjoyed nearly perfect Wisconsin summer weather—approximately 80 degrees, sunny and fairly dry. Though smaller this year, with just under 20 campers and 25 staff, the result was a very close family environment and the best camp here to date.
The highlights started with the kick-off to the activities on Sunday, Aug. 9, and a “minute to win it” game night for the whole camp Sunday evening. This was the first time this was done, and the campers absolutely loved it. Monday through Wednesday were filled with a full array of activities, including team challenge/climbing wall, field games, fishing, arts and crafts, nature and exploring, and our newest activity—golf. There were also many lakefront water activities, including swimming, canoeing, pontoon rides and the super-popular blob. Monday ended with the ever-popular novelty Olympics, and Tuesday ended with our annual treasure hunt.
The camp kept the theme of the Christian Living sessions very in line with the theme of camp, “The Pearl of Great Price: Find It and Keep It!” On the second day, the campers shared figurative pearls of great price that they had received from both staff and counselors related to their calling and experience in the Church. The spirit, attitude and mood of the camp were extremely high and positive, thanks to God’s tremendous blessings on the staff and campers!
Cory Erickson, director
The 20th year for Church of God regional youth camps at the Heritage Reservation is history! Thirty-four campers and 30 staff enjoyed a fine week Aug. 9-16 at this veteran location for COGWA youth camps.
This was one of the best years ever at Heritage in many ways. After two years of cool and rainy weather, the weather this year was sensational. We had a few pop-up storms Tuesday, but every other day was rain-free and mostly sunny with temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s. Overnight lows in the 60s made for pleasant sleeping conditions.
Monday’s activities introduced the week’s routine and included high ropes for the Challenge-level campers (aged 15-18). Other scheduled venues included softball, riflery, archery, volleyball, basketball, soccer, kayaking and swimming.
Wednesday the annual whitewater rafting trip down the Youghiogheny River saw 26 participants (17 campers and nine staff members) challenge 7.5 miles of class III and class IV rapids. Thursday all campers enjoyed “tubing” behind the Scouts’ powerful ski boat. The campers won the traditional Thursday night camper/staff softball game 15-10, their third victory in 19 games (the game was canceled one year due to wet and unplayable grounds).
Daily Christian Living classes amplified the theme of “The Pearl of Great Price: Find It and Keep It.” A special life skills class was presented Wednesday evening by camp director Doug Johnson and his wife, Janel. After the life skills class, 12 campers and two staff members headed out for overnight tent camping, while the rest of the camp enjoyed a rousing game of bunco.
Friday night saw various Bible games as campers and staff welcomed the Sabbath. The Sabbath had the usual brunch, hymn sing, opening of Sabbath notes, and services. The last scheduled activity was the Saturday night dance, with deejay Allen Holl keeping the camp hopping. A beautiful slide show of the highlights of Heritage 2015 was presented during the evening dance by camp videographer and photographer Kait Black.
The year 2015 was the 11th and last year for the Johnsons to serve as Camp Heritage director and wife. Scott Lord and his wife, Monica, will begin serving in that capacity in 2016. The Lords organized a beautiful slide show of the first 20 years for Camp Heritage and a presentation of tokens of appreciation to the Johnsons Friday evening. The thoughtful gifts included a lovely matted and custom-framed photograph (the original photo was taken by Mrs. Johnson!) of sunset over Lake Courage, a well-known and much-beloved spot for all who’ve attended Camp Heritage over the last 20 summers.
A Day in the Life at Camp Arrowhead 2015
By Rachelle Metzger
“Rise and shine, campers!”
It is 7 a.m. and time to begin our day at Camp Arrowhead! Counselors—loving substitutes for moms and dads—rouse sleepy-headed campers and march us all, or send us by twos, to the bathhouse to dress and get ready for an activity-packed day.
The fresh, cool air of the northeast Ohio farmland helps us wake up, and dew makes the grassy fields of the 40-acre camp sparkle in the morning sunlight. We gather in front of the dining hall porch by 8 a.m., and our camp director, Mr. Dave Myers, does a quick roll call:
“Where are the girls of G1?” (G1 screams and cheers.)
“Do we have the girls of G2?” (G2 screams and cheers.)
“Where are the girls of G3?” (G3 screams and cheers.)
“Where is B1?” (B1 screams and cheers.)
“Do we have the boys of B2?” (B2 screams and cheers.)
“Where are the MEN of B3?” (B3 hoots and yells as deep as 10- to 12-year-old boys can muster.)
Sixty-two campers and 46 staff members can make a lot of noise! After a few announcements and reminders, and a blessing asked on our meal, we’re treated to a delicious breakfast of eggs, turkey sausage, yogurt, granola, fruit and oatmeal. We’re energized and ready to start our day!
First things first: Each brother and sister dorm goes to one of three thoughtfully and carefully prepared Christian Living classes. We learn what the pearl of great price is, where to find it, how to keep it, that we ought to share it, and why it is so important as our own personal treasure. We also learn the importance of being humble, and all the positive attributes a humble person has. Each camper is given a pearl pouch and a pearl to keep as a reminder of these lessons.
Now that our minds are in the right place, we are off to enjoy what we preteens love best: running, playing, and—what our counselors love—burning energy! The soccer staff teaches us some fundamental skills, which we practice in a few drills. Then we are let loose in a scrimmage—boys versus girls!
Next we play gaga ball—a camp favorite—which is similar to dodgeball, but played in a specially-designed arena! We practice agility and good aim (knees and below!), as well as good sportsmanship.
Each of these activities lasts an hour, and now we’re hungry again. We march back to the dining hall by noon. Again we must do roll call to make sure all the dorms are here and excited for lunch! We ask a blessing, and then devour another tasty meal, everyone’s favorite: taco bar, with churros for dessert!
We then have 30 minutes of free time to get some rest, play a little luz ball (known to others as “carpet pool”) or practice our dorm’s skit, which will be performed at the farewell presentation for all the other campers, staff and parents.
By 1:30 we’re back in action. Bright sunshine all day has heated it up to a pleasant temperature in the low 80s, so we are ready for swimming. We play a couple of games such as sharks and minnows, bravely jump off the four-foot diving board and are given free time to play and go down the 18-foot waterslide!
Once we’ve cooled off in the pool, we are ready to run in the sun, playing field games like flag football and water balloon toss. We put all our effort and heart into each game.
By now we are ready for a snack. Orange slices and animal crackers give us a quick boost, and off we go again! Our counselors remind us to drink plenty of water.
After instruction in safety and basic skills, we take aim at the pearl (a.k.a. the bull’s-eye) in archery, and write our name on the archery poster if we succeed! The poster will be displayed in the dining hall for all to see.
Now we slow things down a bit, and we express our creativity in arts and crafts. We decorate a frame for our dorm photo, and we get to tie-dye our own white T-shirt—it will be so exciting to see how they all turn out!
Is it time for dinner already? At 6 p.m. we gather again in front of the dining hall porch for our third roll call of the day, and through our hoots and cheers, demonstrate just as much enthusiasm as ever. This time a camper has requested to ask the blessing on the meal, and another gets to ring the dinner bell. It seems like we eat all the time, yet we still scarf down our yummy dinner of beef tips, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, salad, and chocolate cake!
Just in case we are not tired yet, we have another opportunity to run, this time in novelty Olympics! Our team tries our best to carry cotton balls with drinking straws, pass a water balloon over our heads or under our legs to the next in line, carry popcorn in cups attached to our feet, and other silly games. At the final tally, G3 wins!
Immediately afterward, the G3 and B3 dorms rush to the woods where we are equipped with a harness and helmet so we can safely ride the zip line. We gaze up at the three-story wooden tower, which seems to get taller by the minute as our turn to climb it gets closer. Finally we scale up the ladders to the top, and now it seems so tall—well, we don’t look down. With the cheers of fellow campers and staff, we work up all our courage. We hear, “Zip line clear!” and we’re given the nod by staff, and, if necessary, some encouragement. Then we leap into the air and zip 500 feet through a clearing in the woods, and it is such a thrill that we can’t wait until it’s our turn again!
We also try our skill at traversing around a bouldering wall. After zip-lining, nothing scares us.
Finally, it is time for a shower, dorm meeting, another snack, and then lights out at 10 p.m. It’s been a terrific day, and there are more activities tomorrow that we didn’t get to yet: dodgeball; Bible games, which are new this year, customized for each dorm, and will be found on our new parent resource website; and cooking class. The rumor is we are making monkey toes and caterpillars—what could those be? After dinner tomorrow we will have our sing-along in the tabernacle. We’ll sing our favorite goofy songs, make it rain, and do the hamster dance! It’s going to be … zzzzzzzzz.
We are pleased to report another successful season at Strong Rock Camp!
On Aug. 2, 2015, 80 campers and 53 staff opened our session with excitement and enthusiasm! Campers from 14 states and three from the United Kingdom were presented with an activity schedule consisting of new unique challenges and old favorites.
By way of introduction, a camp mixer was held Sunday night to allow the campers to get acquainted with one another through a variety of fun and instructional activities. When asked what their favorite book of the Bible was, each camper shouted aloud the name of the book and went in search of other campers and staff who also favored the same book! Once you found a like-minded friend, you linked arms and continued your search for others. The mixer provided a wonderful opportunity to interact and meet new potential friends.
Each morning began with a Christian Living class that focused on our theme, “The Pearl of Great Price: Find It and Keep It!” Our ministers presented a wide variety of messages focusing upon the importance of not just obtaining the pearl but also protecting it and refraining from tarnishing this valuable treasure.
In the afternoon, the campers had a 15-minute Compass Check to help them refocus on the value of camp and the part they can play in creating an environment where all have opportunity for physical and spiritual growth.
To drive this point home, pearls were given to those campers who went beyond what was simply expected of them. Each day before meals, the camp met outside the dining hall for announcements, which included the handing out of pearls to those campers who excelled in an area or overcame a challenge. One camper received a pearl for overcoming her fear of the blob from a year ago. Having refused to leap onto the blob a year earlier, the camper, with encouragement from her peers, finally overcame her fears and leaped onto the blob surrounded by cheers and celebration from both campers and counselors!
The highly addictive game of gaga ball was officially introduced as an activity this year at Strong Rock, and the pit was rarely vacant. Even during fellowship time, the gaga ball was in motion with campers of all ages participating. Even the ministry got involved, and our very own Jim Haeffele, managed to defeat the campers in an exciting game!
Campers also enjoyed rock climbing, archery, flag football, volleyball, swimming and other exciting activities.
The weather this year was a little on the warm side, with temps getting into the mid-90s on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hydration was the word as our campers consumed water and Gatorade in order to keep themselves “liquidated” so they could participate in our outdoor activities.
We had our share of sprained ankles and sore muscles, but our campers kept moving forward. We only had one afternoon with rain, so we halted outdoor activities for two hours and went inside and played Bible trivia and “Name that Tune.” When the sun returned, we cranked up several of the outdoor activities again.
On Friday evening we welcomed the Sabbath with a group Bible study. Each dorm was given a Bible question to research and then assumed the role of writer for our Personal Correspondence Department and wrote a reply answering the question.
Like all weeks at camp, the time simply flew! Before we knew it, we were at the final dance Saturday night saying our goodbyes and asking people what Feast site they would be attending! In addition, the phrases Let’s do it again next year and I’ll be back were being echoed by campers and staff.
We asked our campers to be like the merchant of Matthew 13 and seek the ultimate pearl. While they searched for the pearl of great price, God also provided them with other pearls in the form of new friends who have the same goal in mind.
With tearful good-byes and hopes to return next year, we rejoice over a successful year at Strong Rock.
Todd Carey, director
Fifty-nine campers and 47 staff came together in the beauty of the North Georgia mountains for the fifth year of Camp Chattahoochee!
Besides our regular activities—such as arts and crafts, swimming in an Olympic-size pool, canoeing in a beautiful stream-fed lake, and “slip-and-sliding” away on a brand-new and longer version of the slip and slide—the campers enjoyed three new activities this year: gaga ball, riflery and team building.
While slip and slide is a regular activity, Camp Chattahoochee has now incorporated a “slip-and-slide-off” competition, where the best of each dorm competes in front of the entire camp after lunch on the final day. This year’s winners were Sara DeGagne from the girls’ dorms, Aaron LaMagna from the boys’ dorms, and Billy Hicks from the staff. Each winner received a special trophy made from the dishwashing soap bottles used to “slip” the slide, which were attached to a tree limb base.
In previous years, gaga ball was more of a special one-time activity. But its popularity increased to the point where it made sense to incorporate this extremely fun game into the regular schedule. One of our Church members in Jefferson, Georgia, was able to build the arena at a relatively low cost; and as expected, it was one of the highlights of camp.
Riflery was introduced, not only to provide the opportunity for some fun target practice, but with the intention of teaching gun safety and respect. The campers were thoroughly educated by one of our staff members with over 20 years of teaching and certification in this field.
Team building brought a new aspect to our campers this year—that of working together to solve clues and ultimately find the special treasure, The Pearl of Great Price (which ended up being taped under the chair of the camp director)!
For the first time, Camp Chattahoochee had the oversight of the entire kitchen, led by Chef Lewis Bryant and his wife, Annette, of the Nashville, Tennessee, congregation. It was a nice change to be able to plan our own menus and purchase our own food. And the food was delicious. Certainly no one left the dining hall hungry!
The Christian Living classes were led by ministers Dave Evans (the “other Mr. Evans”), Ron Kelley and camp director Eric Evans. It was truly a delight to have the opportunity to teach such a young group of children about something so precious. To remind them of this year’s theme, the children and staff were all given a special gift of a single pearl in a zippered pouch with the CYC emblem and the words “The Pearl of Great Price … Find It and Keep It!”
There were a few afternoon thunderstorms (normal for the area), but only one of the activities was cancelled in the three-day schedule—a true blessing! God provided His safety and protection to all of our campers and staff, something that we never want to take for granted.
An evening presentation for the parents concluded the camp program, with most of the dorms contributing songs, skits and dance presentations. The staff gave the final presentation with a short version of “Happy Trails,” as we wished these wonderful campers God’s blessings throughout the coming year ’til we meet again!
Eric Evans, director
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
One hundred campers from all over the U.S. (three from Canada) and 45 staff gathered at YMCA Camp Carter July 5-12. I thought it was one of our best years yet. We enjoyed a great group of campers and staff. It’s always heartening to witness the positive example of God’s young people as they engage fully in camp for a week. It speaks to the dedication of the parents of our teens in the Church. It’s difficult to explain what it’s like to be in such an uplifting environment for a week without experiencing it. It’s a week of nonstop activity, fun and fellowship.
The weather turned out to be a bit cooler than expected; and we received rain Tuesday morning, which kept the dust down the rest of the week. By that afternoon, we were able to get back to our activity schedule. The lake conditions that day ended up being perfect for tubing, skiing and wakeboarding for our four speedboats as they ripped around Lake Worth.
This year we introduced an orienteering/survival skills class, where campers worked in teams to build fires without matches, build shelters and use compasses for navigation. Dance class was reinstated; and a cookie decorating class was offered, where the decorators were permitted to devour their creations.
Of course, we continued to offer our activity classes: archery, basketball, volleyball, gaga ball, speedaway, disc golf, and strength/fitness/agility training. This year one of our campers set a new Camp Carter record for pull-ups (military-style and in perfect form): 31—quite a feat! One camper from Colorado set a new climbing tower record by scaling it in a time of 3:01.
The staff and campers mixed in various activities throughout the week in the evenings, as they played against one another and mixed in together at times in basketball, speedaway, capture the flag, kickball, gaga ball, dance and volleyball.
The staff enjoyed their get-togethers as well at nights from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m., as we hung out, ate popcorn and snacks, laughed, talked and played various speed card games, such as spoons and peanuts/nertz.
Compass Checks and Christian Living classes centered on aspects of the pearl of great price our young people have been given. Britton Taylor, COGWA treasurer, gave the sermon Sabbath.
Consider joining us at Camp Carter next year on staff or as a camper. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll establish some lifelong friendships in the process!
Andy Burnett, director
Camp Sequoia (preteen) completed its fifth year at the current location in the southern end of the Sequoia National Forest. We had 31 campers and 30 staff members come together for a wonderful and inspiring camp this year. Fifteen of our staff members were teens aged 13-17. That is half of our staff, and it was encouraging to see these teens serving and giving back to the next generation of campers—especially since we have seen many of these volunteers come through the preteen program over the last eight years. We see a generation of leaders emerging as we look to years ahead in the camp program.
There were many first-time campers attending this year, and all of the dorms came together and worked in very positive way to create a camp environment that was rewarding and fun! One dorm was so inspired to achieve their goals in archery that they ALL worked together to encourage and inspire one another. They even came to archery at 6 a.m. the last day of classes to help a camper reach his goal. Every camper in that dorm hit an apple at 20 yards! Quite an achievement for preteen camp!
This year the slip and slide was greatly improved and looked much like a waterpark slide. The camp manager stated that it was the best addition to the camp that he had seen since he had been there.
The weather was hot before camp, but temperatures dropped a few degrees and provided a wonderful camp environment, even getting down to 60 degrees at night. Leaving camp and heading back into the valley, the temperatures rose to a HOT 104 degrees.
Overall, Camp Sequoia (preteen) was a GREAT success!
Paul Carter, director
We returned Thursday evening from Camp Bob White in central Missouri. Camp is always busy, but even more so this year, since we had about 30 percent more campers and staff than we’ve ever had before! The 133 campers and staff came from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota (I don’t think I left anyone out …). It is very encouraging to me to see the level of interest and enthusiasm these campers and staff have for our COGWA Youth Camps program!
Mary and I have been pretty heavily involved in the camp program for 20 years—since 1995. We continue to do so because of the powerful impact we’ve seen these camps have on the children and teens who attend. Once again this year, we had campers who are the children of campers we had just a few years back. In fact, this was the second or perhaps third year that we’ve had staff members who are the children of campers we have served at one of our camps! Perhaps it is, as one man said, a fact that shows our age—but far more importantly, it is a wonderful legacy that is being built year by year, and camper by camper! Our camp program provides something these campers can’t find anyplace else!
We ask for and rely on God’s involvement and blessing on the camp, and His blessings were certainly evident again this year. Upon arrival at the camp, I have to do a check-in walk-through with the state park manager. This year, because the local gas company had to put in a new gas line parallel to the highway and right through the camp, we were the first group to use the camp since last October. They had heavy equipment parked in the Bob White group campgrounds; and they had quite a bit torn up, including a large ditch right across the access road to the camp. The manager told me they had to cancel reservations for six groups who were to meet before we did. And Bob White was only opened up on the Friday before we arrived!
Because the buildings had all been shut up tight and likely because of all the rain the area has received, on our walk-through we were shocked to discover black mold in two of the cabins. There was no way we could use these cabins for our campers or staff! After just a minute or two inside, my nose and throat were burning, and I realized this could be a real problem! Each cabin sleeps 24, and we were at the point of needing almost every bed.
The park has another group camp called Shawnee. It is on the other side of the highway, perhaps a mile or so away from Bob White. There was a group in there last week, but no one was scheduled to use it while we were there, so the park manager offered to allow us to use some of those cabins. They aren’t as nice and are much older and more “rustic” (read that as old and somewhat dilapidated), but it was our only viable option. So we shuffled campers around in the remaining Bob White cabins and had most of our staff bunk away in the other group camp.
It was inconvenient, and we had to arrange shuttles back and forth for everyone every day, but our staff proved flexible. Had there been another group on the Shawnee campground, I don’t have any idea what we could have done. But God opened a door and provided a way for us to continue with the camp, and our dedicated staff made it work!
Another way we saw the blessing of God’s hand is with the weather. It was forecast to be pretty hot (low 90s) with very high humidity all of camp. There was also a strong chance of rain on Sunday afternoon—just at the time we’d be arriving, unloading everything and getting settled in. And as we were driving up, getting closer to camp, the sky to the north and west was very black and threatening. One staff member called to let me know she was going to be a little late because of the heavy storms she was going through not very far from camp!
Mary and I were a good half-hour late arriving, because, unknown to us, our planned route was blocked by a bridge that was out. So we had to backtrack and then detour around to find our way out and back on our route. So, by the time we arrived, quite a few staff members were already there. Everyone jumped in immediately and began unloading the trailer and truck to beat the rain, but it never rained on camp. Somehow it all stayed just north of us, so we had no problems with rain. We were also able to have staff orientation, counselor meetings and later the camper orientation outside under the trees, which was much more comfortable than inside the dining hall.
On Monday (our first full day of activities) the weather remained overcast the entire day with a pretty good breeze. It was still fairly warm, but the clouds and the breeze made it so much more comfortable than it could have been!
Then Monday night another strong storm moved in, heading right toward us. When it began thundering and lightning, we pulled everyone out of the water activities and brought them up to the dining hall. One staff member pulled up the weather radar, and it showed something very curious: As the greens, yellows and reds of the storm headed toward us, a clear line emerged along the southern edge of the storm. It came down to a point a short distance north of us and then slid along that line until it was past us. We had a few individual drops, but nothing more. The biggest impact of the storm for us was the nice drop in temperatures. It was only 68 degrees when we got up Tuesday morning, and it remained cooler throughout the day!
Wednesday was the last activity day, and it was pretty warm. But it is a summer camp, and we expect some of that! Overall, God’s blessing was evident.
The theme for this year is “Pearl of Great Price: Find It and Keep It.” With children this age, something physical helps cement a concept in their minds. So we handed out little zippered pouches to each camper, with one plastic pearl in it. We told them that pearl represented God’s calling, and they needed to work hard to keep it safe, as something very valuable.
We also explained there were ways they could earn other pearls, such as naming all of the 10 Commandments, saying all of the holy days in order, listing all of the fruit of the Spirit, all the books of the Old Testament and all the books of the New Testament. According to the list I kept (and I may have missed a few), the 66 campers combined earned an additional 105 pearls for completing one or more of those tasks—adding other valuable pearls of knowledge and understanding!
It was impressive to see even some of the smallest and youngest campers rattling off what we had asked of them, including all 39 books of the Old Testament and then the 27 books of the New Testament! It makes me wonder how many of us can recall from memory what these small children were able to do. And it certainly shows how much their parents have worked with them to know and understand some of these most basic and fundamental elements of the Bible and faith.
By noon on Thursday, the campers and staff, tired but with smiles, loaded into cars and headed back out toward wherever home is for each. I’m sure all were exhausted, but we left knowing we had tried to do our very best, and we each took home some powerful lessons, good friends and very fond memories.
Tom Clark, director
Camp Lone Star is over [ended June 17], and I wanted to let all of you know that we had a great time at a very successful camp down here in soggy south Texas this year. A very enthusiastic staff of 74 guided the 93 campers that had very high levels of energy each and every day.
The rain couldn’t dampen our spirits as we worked around Tropical Storm Bill on several occasions. And when it did rain, we just moved inside for a while. The radar would show heavy bands of rain, and although we did get rain, it was never that bad. One major band on the radar showed the storm spitting in half and going around our camp, sparing us the heavy downpour going on all around us.
It seems as if camp was focused around water, as we kept the lake in use almost constantly with fishing, canoeing, zip line and swimming. Canoeing was split from fishing this year, and the campers loved more time in the boats. I also heard very good things about the water safety class that the older dorms participated in. It was taught by one of our camp nurses, Bonnie Turner, as well as our own overall camp coordinator, Ken Treybig. I think one of the canoe classes enjoyed giving Mr. Treybig some stress by trying to sink a canoe! (They came pretty close!)
Archery was interrupted by rain on a few occasions as we didn’t want to get the equipment wet. But for riflery, the crew put EZ-UPs over everything and tried to keep the interruptions from the weather to a minimum.
The camp theme was a great hit with campers and staff alike, as there were so many ways to use it throughout camp. We started each day off with great Compass Checks given by some of the younger men in the Church, and everyone felt they were written just for them!
One way we used the camp theme this year was on the first evening of camp. While all of the dorms were settling in for their first night, our teen activity staff got together for a quick Bible study. It was really a panel discussion with several of the adult activity staff members discussing when the “pearl” became their own. Then we opened the discussion up for questions. We do this every year, but this was the first time it was in the format of a panel discussion.
With 10 dorms this year, up from eight in all the years past, our schedule was very busy. Each dorm participated in 22 classes or activities over a 3½-day time frame. These were not 22 different activities, as each dorm went twice to each activity. But we were very busy! Thankfully, we had minimal trips to the nurse’s office, which is always great!
One thing we do each year is have teen night at camp one evening where all of the teen staff gets time together at the end of the day to just hang, be with each other and have snacks. For the teens, this is a highlight of camp. We also do the same for the adults, as they all get off for a few hours one evening (after campers have gone to bed). We’re all together getting to know each other and spend a few hours together while the teens are keeping an eye on the dorms. It runs very smoothly and this year we were spoiled by a very elegant spread of treats that a few of our ladies on staff put on for us. We had a very elegant evening with champagne glasses filled with sparkling grape juice, a s’more station complete with chocolate fountain, printed napkins with the camp theme on them and so much more. It was a very special treat for a wonderful staff that everyone thoroughly enjoyed!
Elisa Hees, Director
As we move through the month of May, we want to remind everyone that each teen and preteen camp has set their own deadline for receiving online applications. Several of them have passed and others are coming up soon. The deadline for Camp Strong Rock has just been extended a couple of weeks to allow more time for applications. If you’d like to attend camp this summer—as a camper or as a staff member—please visit the Camp website (http://camps.cogwa.org/) and register soon. The application deadline for each camp can be found by clicking on the camp of interest and looking at the details on the right sidebar. We hope to see many of you at camp!
Overall Camp Coordinator
We are happy to say that the online application system is now active for all COGWA Youth Camps, and the website has been updated to reflect this year’s camp season. We made some more changes that we hope will be helpful to everyone. Just to name a few: We’ve added short introductory videos (narrated by the directors) about each camp location. We’ve modified the online questions asked and added an online digital photo upload system. And our CYC Honor Code, along with the Mission Statement, is now available on the bottom of the main page.
This year’s theme, “The Pearl of Great Price: Find It and Keep It,” should be a valuable one to help fulfill our mission of helping youth recognize and reach their God-given potential by living God’s way of life. Apply now at camps.cogwa.org!
It is usually around this time of year that the camp website is updated and we announce the online application process opening. We are making some updates and adding some more enhancements to the site this year. Watch for an announcement soon about it being ready for this year’s camp season!
The dates are set for COGWA Youth Camps in 2015. We will post the dates here in the news feed and begin working on revising the camp website over the next month to get all the camp descriptions and the online registration system updated. Our goal is to have the site ready for registrations by mid- to late February.
However, we are adding some enhancements this year. For instance, we hope to have a digital photo upload system for campers and staff members, and we are working with our online payment vendor to see if it would be viable for us to begin offering an online payment system for camp. Therefore, we might need a little extra time to finish all the enhancements and appreciate your patience.
Meanwhile, here are the 2015 camp dates. Keep in mind that these are the dates for campers. Staff members are often asked to arrive a day or two ahead of campers.
Camp Carter – July 5-12
Camp Sequoia – July 19-26
Camp Strong Rock – Aug. 2-9
Camp Heritage – Aug. 9-16
|Winter Camp – Dec. 28, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016
Camp Lone Star – June 14-17
Camp Bob White – June 21-25
Camp Sequoia – June 22-25
Camp Chattahoochee – July 26-29
Camp Arrowhead – Aug. 2-5
Camp Wood Lake – Aug. 9-12
Total attendance at all camps for 2014 was over 1,000 for campers and staff. We look forward to having as many or more involved in our camp program for 2015.
We are pleased to announce that a Facebook page has been set up for the entire COGWA Youth Camp program. Now you can stay up on each camp through the year as it takes place in one location. The on-site action will begin next month with two preteen camps—Camp Sequoia in California and Camp Bob White in Missouri. Be sure to visit https://www.facebook.com/cogwayouthcamps to keep up with all the COGWA camps.
We still need a few specialized staff members for a couple of our camps. The Sequoia (California) teen camp is in need of a nurse and possibly a certified lifeguard. If you have the necessary credentials and would like to help by giving of your time in a majestic setting in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, please register now! As well, the Chattahoochee preteen camp in Georgia is also in need of a certified lifeguard.
We are happy to announce that the revised camp website is live, and registration is now open for our 2014 preteen and teen camps, as well as the Snowy Range Challenger program. Chattahoochee Preteen and Winter Camps are still finalizing some of the details and costs, but the site will be updated and their links added to the registration system as soon as all the details are set. The URL is the same as before, http://camps.cogwa.org, but we hope you will appreciate the look and feel of the new site with more graphics and videos.
This is also a good time to remind everyone that thanks to some additional help from Boot Scoot, a private fund-raiser, we are able to offer scholarships for all events on our COGWA Youth Camps (CYC) site—from preteen camps through the Challenger program. The process begins by contacting the director to let him know you would like to request some help. Not only will he send you the scholarship documents to fill in and pass along to your pastor for his input, but it will also let the director know not to expect full payment at this time.
As always, we are very grateful for all the support and especially the prayers offered up on behalf of CYC. We are eagerly anticipating God’s blessing on another wonderfully successful year!