Lessons learned at Pinecliff go beyond summer camp

October 09, 2018

Editor's note: We will be running a weekly series highlighting camps in the Mountain Sky Conference. Today's edition focuses on Pinecliff Camp and Retreat Center near Coalville, Utah.

Submitted by Ron Goch
Director of Pinecliff Camp and Retreat Center, Utah

Pinecliff is a beautiful camp where I have the pleasure of working alongside amazing volunteers who dedicate their time to positively impact the lives of each camper. This past summer, we had nearly 80 volunteers who served our three camps.

I have been involved with Pinecliff Camp for more than 14 years and am the volunteer director for our elementary, junior high and high school camps. I also serve on the Pinecliff Board of Directors.

Our goals each summer are for every camper to have an incredible, fun and life-changing experience; to feel safe at camp (home away from home); and for each camper to grow closer to God in their faith.

We keep the campers moving every second of every day, and there’s rarely a moment of down time. This past summer we changed up all the games to ensure they were team building exercises where all the campers worked together in groups. It was neat to see how quickly the campers bonded. It set the stage for campers being close all week long.

We added the celebration of Camp Kindness Day at our high school camp on July 24. It was wonderful to see the campers participate in random acts of kindness all day long.

Each morning, we enjoy a morning moment together at the outdoor chapel. It’s a great way to set the compass of the campers and volunteers for the day. One morning, I asked the campers: If they could write a note to Pinecliff Camp, what would they write? The result are the notes with this story (see attachments under story). As you can see, we have many thoughtful and grateful campers who were willing to share their experiences, along with how God has been working through our volunteers to positively impact our campers.

Through the years, it has been an incredible experience for me and our volunteers to see campers grow in their faith and walk with Christ, and as they get older, they become junior staff leaders, where they pay forward their experiences with youth. This past summer, we came full circle, as two of our adult volunteers were previously campers. It was special to see each of them share their experiences as well as how they related so well to our campers and how the campers related so well to them.

We really challenge the youth to grow in their faith, and to continue strengthening their relationship with Christ by attending church regularly, participating with their youth group, and investing time reading the Bible.

It’s neat to see our youth attending church, involved in various activities, and serving in our community. Camp only lasts one week, but the experience and love shared at camp can last a lifetime.

Activities at Pinecliff Camp:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Bible and worship/music
  • Carnival Night
  • Game night
  • Glow-in-the-dark volleyball
  • Movie night
  • Annual hike to the cross
  • Talent show
  • Slip and slide
  • Creek time