Before the snow starts falling and making a white, fluffy blanket across the ground, I thought I’d share with you an experience that our family got the privilege of participating in this summer.
My husband Chris and I were invited to come and check out the summer camp experience at Saranac Camp in upstate New York with Young Life Canada with the whole family.
We had never really heard about Young Life before, but seeing that there is an active group of people that are a part of it from our church in Markham, Ontario, Chris thought it would be a good experience for us all to go and learn more about how Young Life works.
I’ve shared in bits and pieces before about our Christian faith but have always wanted to do so carefully…not because I’m ashamed but rather because I recognize that everyone who comes to this blog comes from different backgrounds – some with faith beliefs and some without. And all are welcome here.
I do find though that there some ideas out there that Christians behave and think a certain way…a way that is closed off or judgemental. That’s not my husband and I. We don’t subscribe to a religion but rather believe in a relationship with God. And for as long as we’ve been together, our goal has always been to be open, loving and accepting, while trying to show people the love of God.
I say all of that to say, this is very similar to how Young Life operates. Young Life is all about relationships; ones that start with meeting kids where they are at, caring for them and sharing the Christian faith in simple and understandable terms…all with no strings attached. You will find Young Life Staff members and adult volunteers wherever teenagers are – from cheering them on at their games to hanging out with them at the local coffee shops, YL leaders are interested in one thing and that’s building meaningful relationships with students in order to convey the love of God.
Throughout the year there are various activities that Young Life Canada organizes, including regular meetings called “Club” where they invite students to come and hang out, sing the latest pop culture hits and get to know each other more personally. This will also include a time to chat about God and questions about faith.
The summertime brings about the highlight of the year with this camp experience. For Young Life Canada in Ontario, the groups all get to go Saranac Camp in upstate New York, which is where we got to go.
Let me tell you, not only was the camp itself amazing but the entire experience was something I won’t soon forget (and I was just an observer).
The camp is located in the Saranac Mountains, about 40 minutes away from Lake Placid where the 1980 Winter Olympics were held. So you can imagine just how beautiful and lush it is in that area. The campground is immaculate and resembled a little Bavarian village that is nestled at the foot of the Alps. It’s located right on Saranac Lake and has it’s own private beach with basketball courts, hammocks and private docks. Throughout the week, students are able to play and participate in all kinds of games and activities that include high ropes course, boat rides, and all kinds of water activities including parasailing! Our family was even invited to go up on the parasail, which has always been a bucket list thing for me! They even let my three year old and my seven year old who had a broken arm go up and we ALL had a blast!
Every part of this camp experience was planned, rehearsed and executed to perfection in order to make sure every student feels loved, valued and most of all that they belong. You could feel the energy radiating through the camp, where you just know that lifelong memories are being made. From the amazing food (seriously, the best camp food I’ve ever had) to the amazing activities to the club nights where everyone comes together to sing top hits and learn a little more about Jesus, Young Life Canada knows how to put on an amazing week for these students.
Overall, my husband and I are extremely impressed with Young Life Canada. From the programming to the dedication of the team and how invested they are in students, to how they go about communicating the Gospel. Every aspect of it is thought through well and executed with great intention. If you want to know more about Young Life Canada (as well as their US counterpart Young Life), visit their site to read more. If you are ever interested in getting involved, feel free to reach out and I can put you in touch with the appropriate people.
Love & Blessings,