For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.
This fall, Lakeshore is focused on creating and improving the places we gather. If you didn’t get a chance to read last week’s post, start here.
One of the places our campers and retreat groups gather is Wilderness. As a former Wilderness camper and Wilderness Director, some of my favorite memories are on top of that hill. There is something about going to sleep to the sound of the owls and waking up to the crows. There is something about being woken up not by alarm clocks, but by the director screaming, “WILDERNESS! This is your first wakeup call!” There is something about starting the day eating breakfast outside and ending it gathered around, telling the whole camp where you saw God that day. Many songs have been sung, chants yelled and serious conversations had on the walk up and down the hill. Wilderness camp gets close. The small camp atmosphere and the separation from the rest of main camp builds relationships fast.
While the top of Wilderness hill is one of my favorite places, there are also parts of the Wilderness experience that are less desirable. And based on the camper survey we sent out, I’m not alone. My least favorite parts of Wilderness are the outhouses. I think everyone would agree, outhouses are gross, smelly and extra creepy in the middle of the night when you’ll most likely need to use them. The path is dark and a bit of a sleepy walk away from camp. It’s time for a better option. We’re knocking down the outhouses and installing compost toilet restrooms closer to the top of the hill. Composting toilets are sanitary and don’t have an odor. This addition will be more convenient, safer and way less creepy. Three cheers for composting toilets!
The second least desirable characteristic of Wilderness is the steep second half of the trail. No matter how many times for how many years you walk up and down that thing, it’s still terrible and leaves the camp huffing and puffing. Cardio fitness aside, part of the hill is beginning to erode because the water rushes straight down that hill. This year, we plan to reroute the trail to help both our lung capacity and reduce erosion on our outpost camp.
Also, just for fun because we like our campers, we’re building them their own activity area at Tent and Trailer. Imagine an outdoor recreation area that includes things like a gaga pit, carpet ball, a giant Jenga table, etc. Over the years, Wilderness camp has gravitated toward doing a lot of main camp activities and simply sleeping at the top of a really steep hill without electricity and running water. We want to give our Wilderkids a reason to experience more nature and adventure in the woods.
If you are interested in supporting the upgrades at Wilderness for a better adventure experience, please consider giving to the annual campaign here.