Heidelberg West Youth Camp

Q. 32. But why art thou called a Christian? A. Because by faith I am a member of Christ and thus a partaker of his anointing, in order that I also may confess His name, may present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him: and that with a free conscience I may fight against sin and the devil in this life, and hereafter in eternity reign with Him over all creatures.

Heidelberg West Youth Camp is truly a wonderful gathering place for God’s covenant people both young and old and proved to be just that as many gathered together at the Sierra Christian Service Camp (a new campground) in June. The campers, counselors, pastors, directors, and cooks were all involved in making camp, yet again, a success. There were several first-time counselors and campers, who seemed pretty excited about all of the fun and festivities that camp holds.

The last day of camp I asked some of the campers and counselors what their favorite part of camp was. Marcus Enas, who was a first- year counselor, said that he really “liked playing basketball”. Jewel Esparza, said that her favorite part of camp was “getting pranked, but not cleaning it up”. As one of her counselors I can vouch for that, but I must say that the boys who pranked our cabin did help clean up all of the silly string. David Voytek said that the best thing about camp was “connecting with brothers and sisters in Christ, whom you don’t normally get to see”. Simon Goehring, who was a first-year counselor, said he liked “seeing kids from all over California getting to interact together”.

Overall, it seemed that having a fairly small group at camp this year led to camaraderie of all the campers regardless of age. It’s such a blessing to see the next generation of Christian young people forming friendships and learning more about the foundations of their faith.

Besides beating the campers at the camper-counselor volleyball tournament, all of the counselors were an amazing help when it came to all of the camp activities. Counselors did everything from helping with craft time to scaring the campers on the night hike. No matter what the activity- their involvement and enthusiasm made camp a great experience for the campers. God is truly good in providing willing volunteers and directors for our Heidelberg Camp, who not only care for the young people, but encourage them in their faith.

With lectures twice a day on the topic based on Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 32 the pastors did wonderful job of providing everyone at the camp with solid biblical teaching. At the lectures for the junior campers there was never a question that went unanswered, even with many hands shooting up all at once, as well as campers asking questions of the pastors. Each pastor did a great job of presenting the three roles of prophet, priest, and king over the few days of camp, while tying the Heidelberg Catechism in throughout their lectures. Of course camp also wouldn’t be the same without the outstanding hymn sings led by Rev. Pollema.

There really couldn’t be a Youth Camp without some hard-working people working around the clock to provide plates and plates of food to the hungry campers. The cooks, led by Pamela Spitzer, did a remarkable job of keeping everyone full of their delicious cooking. Enough cannot be said for those that helped long hours in the kitchen. After many meals, a rousing rendition of the song “Thank You Ladies” was sung amidst much loud clapping.

Once again Pastor Paul Henderson did an outstanding job of organizing the camp, as well as providing a never -ending flow of creativity. This year, he had the campers hunting for Godzilla, throwing knives, doing a bit of pre-dinner limbo, and of course the camp favorite-kangaroo court which involves singing, skipping, or dancing to retrieve items from lost & found.

Of course Mr. Todd Crabtree, the activities director extra ordinaire, must also be mentioned. Whether it was relay races, dye wars, or throwing cheeseballs at the campers hair covered in whipped cream, he had meticulously planned each activity with care and provided much enjoyment for the campers.

Both of these outstanding directors were instrumental in making camp into a very fun-filled week.

By the close of camp many new friends were made and many promised to keep in touch throughout the year. I can only imagine that many of the campers are already looking forward to next June when everyone meets back together again for another enjoyable Heidelberg West Youth Camp!

Elsa Ochsner, long-time camper and 2nd year counselor

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