This summer I was the Chaplain for the summer camps which includes a wide variety of ages and interests!
In addition to helping with the opening and closing vespers, I led yoga each morning focusing on Psalm 121. I’ve also provided evening or morning devotions for various groups. Sometimes I read to the younger campers or to the Intergenerational camps a combination of Psalm 139:1-10 and The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.
Sometimes we’ve prayed in color following suggestions from Sybil MacBeth’s book Praying in Color books to introduce a way for families with younger children to talk about their day and pray using coloring instead of words. I used the Praying in Color techniques with the Senior High campers to pursue a discussion of images of God;
what roles we ask God to play for us or for others. We wrote a role or a task we wanted God to play immediately in our lives and then colored in lines and shapes around that word. We were then able to reveal our colorful prayers as a way to get to know each other and to begin to pray for one another.
This was done each morning before breakfast which the campers responded to very well. Campers of all ages tried the yoga and learned the psalm by rote repeating the lines as we moved in this body prayer. With a couple of groups I led a discussion during their evening vespers on the different images for God included in our version of the psalm which was a combination of the NRSV, the Contemporary English version and my own paraphrasing.
I enjoyed seeing them absorb the concept and think creatively about how to address God, how God acts and what assistance God provides. The yoga was a popular offering regardless of age or type of group, from grandmothers together with their grandchildren in the Intergenerational Camp, to teenage soccer boys who appreciated “a long muscle is a fast muscle” yoga was something each camper could benefit from and adding the psalm helped bring a new way to learn scripture.
One of my favorite memories from the summer is the devotion time I led for the Intergenerational Camp where we enjoyed the sights and sounds of nature by the pond, watched the children interact with water bugs and frogs, and for twenty minutes spent time with God in nature. The parents were so relaxed and enjoyed being with their families on this vacation away from their stresses of work and paying bills. They were able to engage their children and let down their guard with their spouse while we breathed in fresh air remembering that the manner in which we treat our family ripples out to our community.