Sunshine pours through the trees as a breeze rustles the leaves of the white-barked birches. The new welcome center at North Star Camp is buzzing with activity as staff help campers sign up for classes and carry their belongings to the cabins.

Meanwhile, parents express their appreciation for the new online pre-registration, which cuts down on wait time. Counselors meet their campers with bright smiles and assure them that this week will be fun. Excitement fills the air as campers walk from cabin to cabin greeting old friends and making new ones.

Later, everyone gathers at the flag pole for an official welcome and heads into the lodge for a tasty and hasty supper­—since most of the campers dash off to play nine-square in the field as soon as they have cleaned their tables.

Next comes recreation time with the sports director, Nicholas, who makes the campers laugh with games like wolf wolf, duck duck goose, and capture the flag.

On Sunday, evening worship is in the lodge, but Monday through Thursday worship is held outside at The Point with songs and a production of the Bible story of Ruth set in the Wild West. The play awakens the campers’ imaginations and helps them see how Jesus wants to redeem us with His amazing love, just like Boaz redeemed Ruth.

This year, NSC offered four new activities: mountain biking, photography, low ropes and drama. Camp craft made a reappearance under the new name of wilderness survival and under the direction of Joseph Peden. Peden said he liked the class because it was practical knowledge that could be presented in a fun way.

Two other weekly activities that brought smiles were the rodeo, consisting of games, food, face painting and a horse show, and water mania, which was several hours of water games and swimming.

The Agape Feast on Friday evening was a special way to welcome the Sabbath with a light meal, music and a heartwarming play. The play ended with each person writing on a sticky note something they wanted God to take care of, then putting it on the wooden cross outside. 

Marvin Valasquez, a third-year counselor, shared that one of his campers was sick and had to stay with the nurse, but wanted Marvin to stay with him too, so the two of them spent part of the day together. On Friday night, the boy put a sticky note on the cross that said, “God, please let me come back to camp next year so I can see Marvin again.” This is the type of impact God can make at summer camp.

Both the campers and the staff learned valuable lessons from their time at camp. A few of these lessons focused on trust, the power of encouragement and the positive influence of a spiritual environment.

Trust is a vital part of having a good time at camp. One must trust their counselor, trust the rock climbing ropes and trust the horses. Julie, one of the blind campers during camp abilities, was nervous about riding Buddy, one of the camp horses. When she finished, though, she told the horse barn staff that it was fun, and “Buddy and I had good teamwork!”

During teen camp, the girls in Oriole Basket cabin understood the power of encouragement. They cheered for their fellow cabinmates during many activities, from low ropes to rock climbing, and even on the boats. This boosted their friends’ confidence. It also made for a pleasant atmosphere that reflected Jesus’ character throughout the camp and influenced hearts for God’s kingdom.

There is no question God was at camp last summer. He permeated the campus with love and faithfulness, and NSC was blessed to welcome two campers into the family of God through baptism. 

This was an unforgettable summer, and the NSC family hopes you will join them next summer to experience God’s love at camp.

Check out the North Star Camp Facebook page and YouTube channel to see more memories!

Alissa Tanguay worked as a counselor at North Star Camp in Minnesota.