Submitted by Gene Haning
Director, Beaver Creek Youth Camp and Christian Retreat
Beaver Creek Youth Camp and Christian Retreat is an interdenominational camp in the Mountain Sky Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. It is governed by a commission of representatives from six United Methodist churches, a community church, a congregation of Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, and members at large representing Colorado’s San Luis Valley and southern plains.
The 2019 program staff for the summer sessions that ended Aug. 2 was very diverse. One staff member came from a very conservative Southern Baptist Church while another came from a Reconciling Church in the United Methodist connection. Other staff members were somewhere in between. To recognize and celebrate the diversity of the group, each staff person wrote her or his own Statement of Faith and then came together in Christian conferencing to develop a common Statement of Faith for the program staff as a whole.
The campers were also a diverse bunch, ranging in age from 3-years-old (attending Family Camp with her mother) to 62 (attending Grand Camp with her grandson), and coming from a variety of church and race/ethnic backgrounds. In response to an optional question about home church or denomination, about 30 percent did not reply, 27 percent said United Methodist, 20 percent indicated churches with no or unknown denomination affiliation, 15 percent indicated Catholic, 5 percent indicated Baptist, and slightly less than 2 percent each said Nazarene or LDS. In a similar question about race/ethnicity, about 43 percent did not reply, 32 percent indicated “white” and the other 25 percent said “Hispanic.”
More important than the numbers is the relationships that Beaver Creek Youth Camp built and/or strengthened between campers and Jesus Christ. Using the theme “Have Patience, God isn’t Finished Yet!” based on Philippians 1:6 – "I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ."
(NRSV), camp directors and counselors helped campers understand that Jesus knew us before we born (Jeremiah 1:5), has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and wants us to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). While exploring and interacting with God’s creation, campers discovered what the kingdom of heaven is like (Matthew 13:44-46) and that we are being shaped by God’s hand (Isaiah 64:8).
Glorifying God, celebrating diversity and having patience all came together for a great 2019 Beaver Creek Camp season. Evaluations of the camps got these kinds of responses:
What was the best part of camp? Worship!
What was the worst part of camp? Rain
What did you learn about God? (first- through fourth-grade) He loves us.
How did your time at camp change your relationship with Jesus Christ? (fifth-grade and up) It brought me closer to him and I was able to grow.
Do you want to come back to camp next year? Of course!
What changes or suggestions do you have for next year? More time here!
Beaver Creek has been truly blessed!