Christmas at Camp Mokule`ia by Sarah Klitzke
In my seven years of being involved in youth work for the Episcopal Church, it has become increasingly more apparent the power and meaning in retreats for youth. Taking a youth out of their hectic regular daily life and giving them the opportunity for relaxation and time to focus on developing faith can be life-changing and instrumental in mature faith development. Youth often cite retreats as some of the most fun and most meaningful parts of their faith.
The first annual Christmas at Camp middle school retreat at Camp Mokulei’a was an opportunity like this for several of our youth here at St. Nick’s and throughout the Diocese. Twenty-five youth, including 4 youth from here at St. Nick’s were in attendance for this incredible weekend filled with games, stories, song, activities, and laughter and smiles. Three of the five chaperones also hailed from St. Nick’s and the weekend was powerful and meaningful to them as well as they helped youth in their spiritual journeys.
The weekend was focused on an important middle school topic of interest; looking into yourself and exploring out who you really are. It was tied to Christian and Christmas themes, like generosity, kindness, prayer, and reflecting on our life journeys. There were art projects relating to reflecting on our lives and a mask project depicting how others see us and how we portray ourselves to others. There were sessions of music and the opportunity for youth to try different instruments, opportunities to perform, and time where we all sang together in one voice. There were games, noting especially the teambuilding activities that helped develop trust and confidence in the weekend’s small groups. The week-end tried to emphasize that it was still the Christmas season—that Christmas was not over just because Dec. 25th was past. “Christmas” activities were incorporated into the retreat such as a cookie decorating contest, Christmas carols, and lots of festive holiday decorations.
I look forward to another year of retreats with our youth, both within our parish and larger events as a Diocese. St. Nicholas’s youth have proven themselves to be invaluable to Diocesan youth events and I have been blessed and honored to be a part of the leadership of the EDGE group along with Shana Ikeda and Philip Moyle. I look forward to a bright future with livin’ on the EDGE.