Grainger's Perspective on Sacred Place | Going Green at Camp!

January 25, 2018

Reflections on the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministries 

Foundation 1: "Provide Sacred Places Apart"

A Perspective from Camp Latgawa

by Sam Grainger, Director of Camp Latgawa

Our work at Camp Latgawa is highly influenced by the foundation of "providing sacred places apart", and its many interpretations. It is through the grace of God and the hard work of saints who have come before that Camp Latgawa is a sacred place.  Our calling as Camp Directors is to prepare and provide this sacred place for refuge, learning, and growth. To be a place apart means to be removed from distractions, the demands of daily life.  By stepping away from the emails, phone calls, and endless tasks, we hope to provide the opportunity for our guests to have periods of prayer, reflection, and renewal.

With these goals in mind, our work at Camp Latgawa has clear direction: As we prepare to welcome each group, guest, and camper to our site, we strive to provide facilities that are welcoming and safe, with the intention that the sacred can be experienced.

Over the last 65 years, thousands of folks have had the opportunity to take part in events at Camp Latgawa, and throughout all of those years, the waterfall has remained a guest favorite location to feel the restorative and sacred worth of spending time apart. To reach the waterfall, guests simply take a short walk upstream along Soda Springs Creek.  Most of the year, this requires getting one's feet wet, as the trail involves crossing the creek.  Due to the wet nature of this trail, and the way the path winds through the canyon, the waterfall is best experienced in small groups, and few cell phones make the trip.  The waterfall is even more removed from society than camp, with only the sounds of cascading water and wind blowing through the trees surrounding you. Here you can take the time to be still, let go, be silent, all while moving closer, receiving, and hearing the divine. 

If you have not had the opportunity to experience my favorite place apart at Camp Latgawa, I invite you to join us this summer and we'll make the easy trek with you! Or set up your own time to come visit; drop us a line!

American Camp Association Feature:

Children and Nature

How Camp Teaches Kids to Think Green!

After a long day of exercise and fun at camp, children’s eyes can be much bigger than their stomachs! Camps across the country are encouraging children to put on their plates only what they will eat, then camps teach children about recycling by converting the leftovers into compost. The compost is then used to fertilize the fields that create food for the campers!

Many camps implement an environmental awareness program entitled, "Leave No Trace." This program teaches and encourages children to clean up after themselves in nature, so as to not pollute the environment.

Some camps feature marine science programs, allowing campers to get a hands-on experience with marine life.

While many would consider a traditional camp experience as an escape from technology, the digital world, and even electricity, some camps are actually on the forefront of technology! Many camps are taking part in revolutionary waste water treatment centers, which purify the water and create wet land systems, many camps then use the purified water to irrigate farm ground.

Many camps are getting down and dirty to teach young people about the environment, encouraging campers to get an up-close-and-personal study of ecology by actually getting into ponds and examining the pond’s aquatic life.

Camps create educational programs with local wildlife agencies or even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A sustainable forest is one that continues to produce and thrive… lack of trees leads to erosion and biodiversity loss on the site. Camps are often the perfect place to practice healthy forests. Many camps participate in replanting programs and gently expand their physical growth to accommodate existing trees. Some camps offer campers opportunities to learn about the camp’s forest through activity offerings, extended time in the wooded area, and direct interaction with service projects.

Source: American Camp Association 

See Also:

The Natural Gifts of Camp By Richard Louv

Family Fun Ideas to Get Green! Ten ways for you and your child to connect with nature.




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A partnership between The Oregon-Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church
and The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon