Young Lives Camp 2017 at Lost Canyon
Camp season always comes and goes so quickly for me. With so much fun, bonding, and adventure all crammed into one short week, I’m sure everyone is still processing just how special of a week camp was. My name is Sarah Sprague and I started out just like these girls, experiencing Young Life camp as a camper in high school, then a volunteer leader at camp for 4 years, and now have gone to YoungLives camp for the first time as a leader this past week (as I’m sure you know Young Life’s camp for just teen moms). It quickly became one of my most cherished camp weeks.
Teen moms and their babies, childcare workers, and leaders, all packed up on the bus to Williams, Arizona, to experience one of the best weeks of their lives. The reasonwhy I love this specific camp so much is that it lets teen moms have space to be kids again! It’s unbelievable the amount of responsibility they carry and I admire them for sacrificing so much for their kids! So this week was all about them for once! While most activities were planned for the girls, we had a lot of free time to play with their kids in the pool, in the huge grass field, at the carnival, and on play structures. We also shared three meals a day all together, which I don’t even do with my own family, so I think it meant a lot to all of us that we could have family-style meals with each other the whole time we were at camp.
Childcare drop off was hard the first couple of days for our girls, but our amazing childcare volunteers had sucha great system for play time and naps! It was mind-blowing sometimes going to pick up the children and all the kids would be asleep napping, with pack-n-plays all lined up side by side. Once they knew their babies were in safe hands, they were able to let go and JUMP INTO all the crazy activities that were planned for them— messy games, cabin unity competitions, horseback riding, square dancing, carnival games, and nighttime zipline as well. The girls (and myself included) had to gain enough courage to go on the 50 foot swing and the zipline where you had to climb up this mountain to start but there were definitely no regrets afterwards. My favorite day though was our Spa day where all the teen moms got pampered with massages, facials, manicures, a yoga session, and a craft session too. Here are some of our themed dress ups:
If you ask any kid who goes to camp what their favorite part of camp was— most of them will say cabin time. We got to have cabin time where we sit with each other and process together the message we heard about Jesus at club, and talk about the struggles we’re all facing back at home. This is such a sweet and sacred time for us girls. After singing and dancing to crazy, silly songs in club, laughing through the program team’s skits, then listening to Debbie, our camp speaker, share these stories about Jesus in the Bible that made them real for us, cabin time is where we broke down our walls, were real with God and real with each other.At the end of the week, we have a club called “Say-so” which means that you were given the opportunity to tell the whole camp that you decided to follow Jesus this week, and why you decided to follow Him. Little did they know, they got to walk across this large Cross from a box that said “Us” to a box that said “God,” acknowledging that they believe Jesus dying on the cross was for them, and so they could be with God forever. It was such a sweet moment for everyone, and for me as well, as two of our girls walked across the Cross, knowing they are coming home to the same Jesus they met at camp, and a God who will never leave them or abandon them. I’m excited to see these girls grow this year in their faith and continue to be the women and mothers God designed them to be for their little ones.
All that being said, if you have not experienced YoungLives camp— YOU NEED TO GO! Come and see for yourself! Whether you are an adult guest, a teen mom, an expecting mom-to-be, volunteer mentor, a husband and wife, anyone— it was made for you too.