By Susan Naslund, Companion Writer
The banner on the Cal-Pac Camps website proclaims, “Camping changes lives.”
Hearing about Danica Tsuchida makes it real.
Danica, now a senior at UCLA, has been an advocate for camp since her summers at Camp Cedar Glen in Julian, California.
Because of her Cal-Pac District Camp experience, Danica volunteers as a counselor for UCLA’s Unicamp, a program for underserved youth in Los Angeles County.
“Camp allowed me to be comfortable and confident in my faith as well as to think differently and more in depth about Christianity,” Danica says.
Besides learning and practicing Christian discipleship, Danica discovered the value of loving interdependence with people.
She did not know very many people the first time she went to the mountain retreat. But, she says, “the environment was very supportive. I want all kids to have the opportunity to have the camp experience I had [which] had a positive influence on the way I view the world and my place in it.”
“Social barriers were broken down. Fitting in at school was challenging, but at camp I was validated just as I was. I could safely ask, ‘who am I and what do I like?’ without worrying about what my peers thought. I got to know myself better at camp,” she added.
Registration is now open for 2015 summer camps: “Living in the Spirit!” Parents seeking a unique transformation in their children and youth may want to consider enrolling now – and watch the power of camp make a difference.
During the school year, kids today are often over-scheduled and do not have much unstructured time. Danica thinks that, “Removing yourself from your normal routine, having a different kind of structure, and just having fun, is so important. Kids are asked what they think rather than told what to do and how to do it. This fosters self-reflection as well as social bonding.”
Certainly, Danica has become a leader who inspires. Through her relationships with the youth she meets at Unicamp, many young lives have been transformed.
When asked what parents might count on for their youth attending Conference camps, Danica says, “If you were to shake the ‘Magic 8-ball of Camp,’ I would imagine it turning out like this…”
- Can parents expect their children to come home wanting to take on more responsibilities (i.e., cleaning their rooms, doing homework, getting a job)? Outlook not so good.
- Can parents expect their children to begin forging deeper, more lasting relationships with their peers? Signs point to yes.
- Can parents expect their children to believe in their agency to affect their own lives and capabilities to change the world? It is decidedly so.
The mission of United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries is about fun and challenging activities outside in God’s beautiful creation. It involves sharing in a loving community in ways that inspire a passionate faith and a desire to change the world.
Camping does indeed change lives!
Learn more and register HERE
Donate to the Cal-Pac camps Campership Fund and allow more kids to have a transformative experience. Gifts should be made payable to Cal-Pac Camps and mailed to:
Attn: Campership Fund
P.O. Box 6006
Pasadena, CA 91102-6006