2018 Alternative Youth Camp

Despite the interruption of the 2018 summer season at Pilgrim Point Camps & Retreats and with support from an amazing group of individuals, congregations, and staff, the Minnesota Conference UCC hosted an abbreviated youth camp gathering in late July. Over 60 youth, adult leaders, and staff from the Conference and Luther Crest gathered for what we dubbed “Alternative Youth Camp”. First Congregational UCC of Anoka generously and enthusiastically granted us access to their campground, Abbie N. Larson Memorial Campground, in New London, for a shortened and more rustic version of camp. Campers quickly adjusted to sleeping in tents, having porta-potties, and no showers.
Luther Crest staff planned and lead structured games that kept youth together after meals, and Pilgrim Point Program Director, Lori Alford, prepared small activities around telling stories about who we are as individuals and community. We painted our stories onto rocks, bark, sticks, leaves, and whatever else nature had to offer. We also created amazing songs about what camp means to us with the help of our music and worship leader, Hans Peterson. The youth had plenty of time to relax, play games, go swimming, and eat Chef Roger’s awesome food, which was no easy task to prepare.
On our last night, youth shared their art and musical creations.  This was an amazing bonding time to share the importance of friendships built at camp to an overall sense of having a place to belong as they are. It was a great reminder of how Pilgrim Point Camp is not only a physical location but a metaphysical and spiritual place of being within our hearts and souls.
While we all missed Pilgrim Point, we grew as a community, strengthened by the Spirit filling us with adventure, purpose, and sense of well-being. Now we know that wherever we come together, Pilgrim Point is with us.
On behalf of the youth, I wish to thank Kevin, Lori, and the Minnesota Conference for recognizing the importance of youth gatherings, Mike Willoughby and the UCC church in Anoka for our alternative space, and Chef Roger, the LutherCrest staff, and Hans Peterson for keeping us well fed, active, and engaged. Thank you to all the youth leaders who slept on the ground and went without soap and hot water for three days for the sake of this community. And thank you to the Holy One who brings us perspective, grace, curiosity, and love for one another in all our adversities and opportunities.
Pastor Sheri Nelson
First Congregational UCC, New York Mills
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