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Summer Camping Programs

Week at camp brings ‘incredible’ transformation


Camps let campers be who they are, rather than acting their usual roles—as the in-between child in their family or as they are with school friends, said Mark Boyd, managing director of N-Sid-Sen, the United Church of Christ (UCC) camp on the East shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

N-Sid-Sen campfire
Camp fires close each day at N-Sid-Sen with songs, readings, reflections and worship.

“Campers’ transformation can be incredible.  People are willing to talk about faith, ask tough questions and find answers at camp,” he said.  “Any time we can step away from the routine busyness of our day-to-day lives, we need to do it.  Camp is one way to do that.”

“Living the Spirit: Power Up!” is the theme for 2015 summer camps at N-Sid-Sen.  The season opens June 21 with a young adult camp and runs through the first week of August.

For the third year, volunteer directors and counselors for elementary, junior and senior high camps at N-Sid-Sen and Pilgrim Firs, the UCC’s camp at Port Orchard, met to discuss the theme and program.

“With 35 leaders from both sites meeting face-to-face, many gained new ideas.  Previously, leaders planned on their own,” Mark said.  “One camp may have struggled with an issue leaders of another camp resolved.”

One issue was what to do about cell phones and other technology.

“Turning in campers’ cell phones the first day is easier at N-Sid-Sen where there is no service,” said Mark.  “At Pilgrim Firs, it’s harder to do, because there is spotty service.  Some want them for alarms and cameras.”

At N-Sid-Sen, leaders take pictures to share with campers.  Campers also use regular cameras that were donated.

Mark finds it useful to blend ages of counselors, having some right out of school with energy and the ability to connect with campers, and having some who are older to bring wisdom that comes from experience.  Some counselors serve at two or three sessions and at both camps.

All year Mark keeps camp relationships going.  After campers leave, many begin counting the days to the Midwinter Youth Retreat in March. 

“After camp, Facebook lights up as campers keep up with new friends,” Mark said. “They share camp stories and photos with family, friends and congregations.

Mark also visits United Church of Christ churches in Eastern Washington.

“I talk with elders to hear their stories about camp and its value as a time away from routines, to talk about faith, meet friends and play,” he said.  “It’s a sign of the lasting effects of camps.  We often hear that clergy decide to go into ministry because of camp, but most campers do not become clergy. Camp has just as big an impact on their lives, faith and involvement in the church.”

For information, call 208-689-3489 or visit

Copyright © June 2015 - The Fig Tree