Camp isn’t just for campers! Donors, chaperones, volunteers, campers and retreat guests find themselves welcomed into the larger Amnicon family. Here’s what a few of our dear community members have to say about their experiences at Camp Amnicon!
Sam’s Amnicon Experience
I found out about Camp Amnicon when I was in seventh grade. That was the year I started confirmation and one of the requirements was taking one of several trips. I read the descriptions and instantly knew that the Amnicon trip was the one for me. I began volunteering around church to earn the money for the trip and I made it up to camp for the first time that summer. (Since taking her first Amnicon trip in 2010, Sam has come back several times as a volunteer at work weekends, and in 2015 she joined the camp staff.)
‘Breaking Down Borders’
I remember lots of things about my experience as a camper but one of my favorites is a quote from one of my guides. He said, “Spending a week canoeing with someone means you’re spending almost every second with other people. You can hide things from people when you only see them once a week or at school but it’s impossible to hide them for an entire week.” Amnicon has a way of breaking down borders and bringing people closer together. There are certain places that are special. They have a special atmosphere. Camp Amnicon is one of those places. It’s safe and warm and somehow melts all of your problems away. It also is filled with wonderful people and delicious food.
A Favorite Memory
There is something about food cooked over a fire that you built yourself that makes it taste about a thousand times better. One of my favorite meals on trail had mashed potatoes. I don’t like mashed potatoes much but that night they were the best food I’ve ever tasted.
Julie’s Amnicon Experience
Our daughter is part of the Kinship mentor program and we were blessed to receive a scholarship (thanks to Amnicon donors) to attend family camp. Our experience has been an incredible blessing. As parents it has allowed us a retreat from the day-to-day details of family life: cooking, cleaning, homework, etc. It’s truly a breath of fresh air to not only be able to relax and take some time out from the stress of our hectic lives but also to connect with our kids, other families and the wonderful staff who have become like family to us. When they say “it takes a village” you really feel like you are part of that at Amnicon.
Amnicon’s Effect on Julie’s Family
Our kids are so much happier, relaxed and at peace there…they get to enjoy just being kids. Having kids with anxiety, this is HUGE! As a parent, that’s what we all want for our kids. It’s like coming home, like a family. It’s a place where you feel accepted, loved, and never judged.
Peace, love, blessings, nature, inviting, inspirational, community
Bob’s Amnicon Experience
I am the youth pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church here in Bismarck, ND. We have somewhere around 700 kids from K – 12. They called me to work with the youth and rebuild a struggling teenage youth ministry. One of the first things that came to mind in the task of connecting kids was to take them into the wilderness. We put together three canoe trips and a backpack trip for that first summer. The trips did not disappoint. The youth bonded together in a way that I don’t believe could be achieved in any other way. It turned out to be foundational in this ministry
‘It’s a beautiful thing’
I have come to know for certain that there is no better way to get to true relationship than through the experiences that are had on a wilderness trip. The façade that the kids create based on worldly expectations and norms is erased. You need each other on a very real level and that leads to real, honest, respectful relationship. It is a beautiful thing to watch unfold and happen. These trips into the woods have become one of the most amazing things that have happened in my life and the lives of those that I serve. They are foundational. They are relational. They are a gift. They are made possible by a camp staff that is really the best in the business.
All of this is due in a large part, at least in my experience, to the knowledge and training of the camp staff and guides. They are top notch and I cannot say enough about their care and compassion for the campers. They are very obviously highly trained. They seem to be trained to the point where the mechanics of the trip come so naturally that they spend their time in intentional nurturing of the relationships between them and the campers and God’s creation all around them.
Why Support Amnicon?
Amnicon is one of the primary organizations that we support monetarily because we have seen so many positive outcomes from people who have the Amnicon experience. As volunteers, we try to be available in any way that we can to help the camp. One summer I spent a good part of the summer at camp, pitching in wherever help was needed. Work weekends in the spring and fall find me driving a group of community people in the camp van to give them a weekend out of the city, and the camp benefits from their willingness to do whatever we ask of them.
Cheri and Larry’s Amnicon Experience
I think the most common experience is one of total acceptance, just as Jesus taught. The mostly homeless people I bring for volunteer work weekends are totally accepted as equals by all of the people attending the work weekend, which is the way the world should be.
A Favorite Story
We’ve also seen and heard of so many camper stories that are unbelievable. One favorite: a male guide was assigned with a female guide to a group of girls from a program in the Twin Cities. He wondered how he could relate to this group of girls. One evening he sat and visited with one of the girls who later wrote that he had changed her life. She had been promiscuous because that was what was valued by the men she knew. Never had a man sat and talked to her and treated her with respect, which made her realize the value of who she really was. Every group benefits from coming to Amnicon. The church youth groups that experience Amnicon become much closer to each other and strengthen the community within their churches. I remember one group of young men who were surly and almost disrespectful when they arrived at camp. Coming off a week on the trail, they smiled, were polite and changed men.