Common among most everyone’s experience when venturing into the Frio Canyon is an overwhelming feeling that this place is sacred. Clearly the Canyon is a place of intrinsic beauty and it holds significant memories and experiences for so many of our campers and families. What is it that carves out such deep significance in our lives? Never would I minimize the place, but truly I have discovered that profound moments are often created in the simple things that occur in the life of camp. When I speak of simple things, I mean things like this: people who call you by name, a schedule that offers freedom, activities that are driven by imagination, cabin times held under the expanse of the stars, or taking a peaceful walk through the river. So could this simplistic model of encountering God and building memories sustain itself if we took camp across the ocean to Haiti?
For the fourth time in as many years, LLYC expanded its borders to Jacob’s Well Camp near Limbe, Haiti where a team of 42 campers and staff facilitated a camp for pre-teens and teenagers, participated in a construction project, and utilized our medical staff to treat residents of the neighboring village.
As I surveyed the mission in progress, it was clear to me that this same formula for success was happening in Haiti just as it always has in the Canyon. Considering the fact that trust is not particularly common-place in Haiti coupled with the obvious language obstacles that we face, the relationship-building formula was working quickly. Within fifteen minutes of arrival, I saw a soccer game form, bracelets were being exchanged, hair was being braided, a group of campers were hiking up the mountain, and names were being exchanged between Haitian and American kids. Clearly to me, it appeared this all began with a practice of real genuine love and expressed in the simplest of ways.
And I believe for a very high percentage of our campers and staff, this simplistic approach to loving people through ordinary moments becomes their model for life wherever they go.