I recently came across this ‘infographic’ published by the National Environmental Education Foundation highlighting the importance of an active, outdoor lifestyle for children. I always love coming across these resources because they are so applicable to Camp, providing statistics that represent and reinforce the benefits of a week away.
We all have fallen victim to the pandemic of being perpetually plugged-in. Summer camp provides the perfect opportunity to beat this bad habit. At camp, children can interact with their environment and create positive connections with the natural world. They can fish instead of facebook, put down the controller and pick up a canoe paddle. During mission work camps, youth spend the week replacing Wakeya screens instead of staring into a computer screen.
This “detachment of human from habitat” was coined the “Nature Deficit Disorder” by writer Richard Louv in 2005. In his book, Last Child in the Woods, Louv argues that certain behavioral problems could be attributed to the “sharp decline” in how little time children now spend outdoors. Furthermore, Louv offers that “nowhere than in nature do kids use their senses in such a stimulated way.” A week at camp immerses children (and adults!) in nature and allows for some much-needed natural wonder.
Additional Nature Initiative Resources:
Saving Kids from ‘Nature Deficit Disorder:’ Richad Louv’s 2005 interview with NPR
Resources from the National Environmental Education Foundation
Information about National Get Outdoors Day
Do you know a high schooler who would benefit from a summer of friendship, self-discovery, leadership development, and fun? We are very excited to offer the Camp Westminster LifeWorks program for Summer 2013!
LifeWorks is a four-part program designed for high school students who wish to develop leadership skills, volunteer in the community, and grow spiritually. This four-part journey focuses on cultivating faith, leadership, service, and community.
What are the benefits of LifeWorks?
In the whirlwind of college applications, resumes, and interviews, more and more people are realizing the importance of standing out! Colleges are looking for individuals who engage in extramural activities, community service, and unique experiences. The LifeWorks program promotes personal growth and self discovery through hands-on activities and experiential learning. With the LifeWorks program campers will:
- Grow personally and spiritually through small group discussions, daily devotionals, and the support of a welcoming community!
- Learn new problem solving techniques and principles of team work through our Team Challenge and High Ropes courses.
- Gain first-hand experience organizing an outtrip with your group. Plan, pack, navigate, cook, camp—use your new skills to overcome real-world challenges!
- Design a service project benefiting the camp community.
- Establish lasting relationships with other high school students in the LifeWorks program.
These experiences will be invaluable for high school students as they prepare for college, and life beyond! Bulk up the resume with a community service project; acquire an exciting story to write about in an admissions essay! This program is designed to give high school students unique opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.
Visit www.campwestminster.com to learn more about the LifeWorks program and register for Summer 2013!
Hi, my name is Chris Bridgwater and I am thankful for three great summers at Camp Westminster. I have lived in England all my life and have always wondered what it was like over here in the States. So when my friend told me about an organization called Camp America that sends University students out to America to work at summer camps, I jumped at the chance. After signing up and going through the interview process, I decided to go to one of the recruitment fairs that allows you to meet people for the camps and maybe get hired on the spot. This seemed like the perfect chance for me to find the perfect camp somewhere hot like California!
As it happens, there was a camp that was going to be there that was based in Southern California with a massive pool, and a lake, and a climbing wall and so much stuff to do and have fun with. This one looked like just the adventure I wanted so I took note of the name and where they would be set up in the hall so I could get there straight away and try and snag a place before they filled up.
As I was waiting in line outside the anticipation was killing me. I’m not a very big people person so I knew I had to pull out all the stops to impress. As I walked in I headed straight to the table where they were and stopped right in front of it to read a small note: “Camp Such-and-such has already hired all the counselors they need so did not come.” Feeling let down and upset I decided to have a look at the other camps that had actually turned up. I turned to my left and right next to me stood Jim and Suzanne waiting for someone to talk to them. I said “Why not?” and introduced myself.
When talking to Jim and Suzanne about the camp I could tell they were passionate about it and it sounded like a pretty fun camp. Then when I heard that it was a Christian camp I was a little put off, for at this point I was not a Christian. I had been raised in a family who was open to letting you believe what you want and after going to a Catholic school for seven years where Christianity was forced upon you, I wasn’t too keen on it. But I figured I would give it a chance and be open because they seemed like nice people and a fun camp. After having a quick look at the other camps around I decided to go for it and have as much fun doing it as I could.
After two weeks of camp where everyone is so nice and helpful and open. Where everyone is willing to help and where the kids have such an amazing time I really saw the affect that camp could have on people. This was an amazing place and I was really starting to like it here. This was when one of my campers said something to me that I will remember for the rest of my life. It was during my second ever Closing Counsel Fire he turned to me and said “Chris, God loves you and I love you because you have been like a Father to me this past week and I have never felt that way about anybody else before.”
It was at this point that I knew I was in the right place.
I am so thankful for the blessings we receive each day from campers and have loved being a part of a community that positively impacts the lives of so many.
Camp Westminster has definitely earned a reputation for its encompassing pines, clear water, and beautiful lake views; but spend the night and you will realize that Camp’s prettiest picture is revealed only after the sun goes down.
Those of you who have spent time at Camp Westminster know just how dark it gets at night! Individuals visiting camp from Chicago and Detroit always remark on the darkness of the woods and the astounding visibility of the night sky. Light pollution has become a major problem in cities and surrounding suburbs. These days, rural areas offer some of the only opportunities to see the grandeur of our Milky Way.
According to the International Dark-Sky Association, Increased “urban sky glow” is responsible for the disappearance of our natural nightscapes. To reduce the amount of light pollution in our cities and suburbs the IDA offers these tips: use lights only when they are needed; use only as much light as needed; shine lights down, not up; and use efficient light sources for outdoor lighting around homes and businesses. For more information, check out this Introduction to Light Pollution.
In an effort to promote night sky conservation, the International Dark-Sky Association certifies locations with exceptional nightscapes as International Dark Sky Communities, Parks, and Reserves. According to the IDA’s website (www.darksky.org) “these locations serve as reminders that with quality outdoor lighting, the extraordinary wonders of the nighttime sky and night environment are just as much a part of our lifestyle and history as are the daylight hours.”
Do you think Camp Westminster could be certified as an International Dark Sky location?
Posted in Dark Skies
Tagged Camp Westminster, connect, Earth Day, education, environmental stewardship, Higgins lake, inspiration, natural beauty, nature, outdoor living skills, summer camp, youth development
Evening Programs at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake are an integral part of our summer camp program. One of our summer camp staff commented this year that they enjoyed doing evening programs because ‘they allowed everyone to be involved’. As campers live in a community environment, our evening activities allow each individual to take part and feel a sense of accomplishment. This year we introduced new evening programs to campers, including Wizard of Oz, Party in the USA, Camp Westminster Quiz Night, Olympics Day and Halloween in July. Of course some of our old favorites featured throughout the summer included Star Wars, Underground Rail Road, Talent Shows, Ceilidh’s (a traditional Scottish dance), Pirate Night, McHiggins Highland Games and Scavenger/Counselor hunts to name a few.
Trick or Treat!
Your Halloween celebrations tonight may not be too dissimilar to those we had on July 31st of this year. Campers came dressed up to dinner in their scariest outfits, we played Halloween related music and had our very own Halloween party which involved face painting, Hide and Ghoul seek, apple on a stick bobbing, eye and spoon races and throwing water at the wicked witch. This activity simply would not have worked if not for all the energetic staff and the enthusiasm and willingness of campers to participate.
Wishing you a very happy Halloween!
Matt Hill, 2012 Program Director
Wondering how to help your children and youth comprehend and help with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy? Here are some good resources from the Presbyterian Church (USA).
You can pray together! At the Camp Board Meeting last night, we prayed this prayer for all on the East Coast who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Holy One, you are our comfort and strength
in times of sudden disaster, crisis, or chaos.
Surround us now with your grace and peace
through storm or earthquake, fire or flood.
By your Spirit, lift up those who have fallen,
sustain those who work to rescue or rebuild,
and fill us with the hope of your new creation;
through Jesus Christ, our rock and redeemer.
-Prepared by the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship
You can find more prayers at:
There are also many opportunities to help in the aftermath of the storm:
- Assemble and mail clean up kits! See details via the link below.
- Read the American Camp Association’s blog “Seeing the Storm Through Children’s Eyes”
You may have climbed the “Lighthouse Climb” during one of your sessions at Camp Westminster and felt the thrill of achievement and experienced the view from the top. Or maybe you climbed an artificial wall elsewhere. But have you ever pulled yourself up a cliff on a real quartzite rock face? After his visit to Devil’s Lake Wisconsin on a Camp Westminster expedition, Brian Turner will tell you it is an experience not to be missed! Look for more exciting climbing camps in 2013 at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake!
On Higgins Lake so blue
There are friends, old and new
You do so many things from sky to the sod,
Sports, dancing and worshipping God
There are people you can always trust
There are always unknown musts
The people here are a close knit family,
Together we all live happily
Prayer Stations and bible stories
You soon forget all your worries
You might miss your family and friends
But all the great counselors help in the end
When you leave you always find your way back,
There is nothing that this camp lacks
Here’s to the camp that we will never outgrow,
To the camp’s name that we all know
To the camp that is very important to you and me
The name of it is W. C.
By Katarina Cowen, Olivia Reckley, Alexandria Edsall, Nashia Warrick and Grace Crites
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Camp, Camp America, camp song, Camp Westminster, creativity, Dance, faith growth, family, friendship, Fun, Higgins lake, High Ropes Course, inspiration, leadership, Lighthouse Climb, outdoor living skills, play, skills, sports, Summer, summer camp, Swim, Team Challenge Course, teamwork, W.C., Westminster, Worldwide Sports, Worldwide Sports Camp, youth development
CAMP WESTMINSTER BENEFIT
Papa Vino’s Italian Kitchen® Give Back Night
Papa Vino’s Italian Kitchen is teaming up with CAMP WESTMINSTER on Higgins Lake to help raise money for Camperships. Every year there are more children and youth who want to attend camp than there are funds available. Papa Vino’s, located at 17107 Haggerty Road, Northville, MI 48168 will be hosting a Papa’s Partners Event for CAMP WESTMINSTER from 11 a.m. to Close on Monday, May 7, 2012. At Papa Vino’s It’s Unbelievable Italian, Unbelievably Good to raise money for CAMP WESTMINSTER.
Papa Vino’s Italian Kitchen Restaurant will donate ten percent (10%) of the dining checks generated between 11 a.m. and Close. To be eligible for the donation, the dining check must be accompanied by a copy of the Papa Partners Event voucher. To find out more information about CAMP WESTMINSTER on Higgins Lake or to obtain a Papa’s Partners voucher visit www.campwestminster.com or contact 313.341.8969.
For 86 years, CAMP WESTMINSTER, located on Higgins Lake in northern Michigan, has provided a serene and safe place for children of all ages to have adventures, one after another. Adventures in fun, food, friendships. Adventures in leadership. Adventures in exploring. Every session includes worship, Bible Quest, games, water activities, campfires, and more.
2011 Pre-Leadership Ladies at the final banquet
During my past two summers as a counselor at Camp Westminster, I have had the privilege of working with campers in the Leadership Development program. This program has shown me the benefits that camp can continue to offer to teenagers. Summer camp isn’t just for children; it is an authentic community where real relationships are formed and real communication occurs (without texting) between all ages.
For those who are in high school, Pre-Leadership Development Training, Leadership Development Training, and Westminster Service Corps offer innumerable growth experiences for youth. As developing leaders, these campers take part in the programming at Camp Westminster. They are involved in everything from arranging programs for younger campers, to leading worship, to organizing their own overnight out trip. The growth experiences provided by these programs can absolutely be applied to their everyday life.
In addition, youth have the opportunity to develop important life skills while at camp.
Leadership skills are learned in more than one way!
Communicating, brainstorming and planning with a team is perfect preparation for the work place some day! For older campers, skills such as first aid, basic lifeguarding, boater safety, and advanced outdoor living skills are incorporated into their programs.
With the addition of the Senior Just Camp program available this summer, Camp Westminster has taken another step in promoting youth participation in camp. With this program, youth ages 16-18 can continue to enjoy the positive experiences camp has to offer.
-Rachel Leads, staff