I served as Minister-in-Residence at Elementary/Family Winter Camp at de Benneville Pines over Presidents’ Day weekend. Did you know that there were more opportunities to get up to camp as a family in addition to our October weekend? Children in grades 2 through 6 can come up as independent campers—and we had one from our congregation, Elise Kaufel. I took my great nephew and niece, Rowan and Leyla. One extended family came up with grandparents, parents and children for a total of 13 family members!
We had lots of fun at fort play, capture the flag, silly dancing, crafts, a little bit of sledding and a variety show. Kids had some quiet time in their cabins with terrific counselors. The weather was so warm that we were able to hold worship outside. Children have precious time in nature, learn to be in community, independence and UU values. Here are some summer Camp de Benneville opportunities:
- Elementary July 5-7,
- Junior High July 12-18,
- Senior High July 19-25, and
- Family July 26-August 1
Registration for these camps opens on March 1 and most of them fill up, Senior High especially fast. Go to the camp calendar. Scholarships are available.
At camp and in other places of nature and quiet we and our children can develop our inner lives. We can reduce distractions that keep us unconscious. When children and youth have time for their spirits it can reduce anxiety, they can develop an inner compass that helps them make healthy, life-affirming decisions and live life more closely aligned with their values. Children and youth can develop their intuition and self-worth. Seeing their own worth, our children and youth can affirm the inherent worthiness of others.
Awakening and wisdom are our themes this month. It feels like the Earth has already begun that process. I see trees and bushes in bloom. They aren’t waiting until Spring officially arrives. To live the spiritual life is to awaken. The story goes that soon after his enlightenment the Buddha passed a man on the road who was struck by the Buddha’s extraordinary radiance and peaceful presence.
The man stopped and asked, “My friend, what are you? Are you a celestial being or a god?
“No.” said the Buddha“Well, then, are you some kind of magician or wizard?”
Again the Buddha answered,
“Are you a man?”
“Well, my friend, then what are you?”
The Buddha replied, “I am awake.”
Let’s wake up to life, love and spirit in all its complex, messy, beautiful fullness. May our children and youth come into full bloom!