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Halvorson’s Happenings by Executive Director Jon Halvorson

One of the things that I’ve always loved about Metigoshe Ministries is that we have an incredibly strong and healthy relationship with tradition. I’ve written about different aspects of our traditions and history in this article space before.

For many organizations, too strong of a tie to certain pieces of tradition can weigh things down like a ball and chain. It can become difficult to move forward into the future; to the new adventures to which Christ might be calling us. Because summer camp holds such a special place in our hearts for so many of us, we can be tempted to think “Nothing at camp should ever change: it was perfect when I went there and I want campers and summer staff to experience the same things that I did!”

Of course, it’s never quite that simple, is it? Even camp isn’t ever totally perfect (nope: not even when you went there!) As the years go by, times change; ideas of fashion and fun come and go. Even some of the words of our most beloved camp songs sometimes are adjusted to better fit the current times.

I remember when we were building the new cabins as a part of our Ensure the Adventure capital campaign just over five years ago. One former summer staffer declared to me, “I miss the sound of screen doors slamming shut as campers leave their cabin for the day! It feels to me like something about camp has been lost.” Just as importantly, though, this staff member continued by saying, “But I know that’s because it’s what I experienced during my time as a camper and then a staff member. And I am excited to come back for staff reunions in a few decades and hear what current campers and staff members hold dear from their time at Camp Metigoshe!”

One thing that never changes at camp is our commitment to Adventure Anchored in Christ! Jesus is at the heart of everything that we do: from congregational Day Camps, to team building and self-confidence work on the Higher Than The Mountains high ropes course. We know that God has called us, in and through Christ Jesus, to create a space of faith-filled welcome for all God’s children to experience that Adventure. And so, when re-claiming an old tradition is combined with our commitment to Christ-centered faith building, I smile even more than usual!

This summer, Wyatt Olson from Oak Valley in Velva, served as our Waterfront Director. In addition to his usual duties, Wyatt was faithfully persistent in expressing his interest in re-igniting sailing as a part of camp. He asked questions even before the summer started. He took the initiative to clean up the boats and to read details on how best to sail them. He even presented ideas on how best to slowly incorporate cabin groups into active sailing: including an offer to help counselors lead Bible Study from the sailboats.

It was a long process, and I know Wyatt would have loved to get even more campers out on the water. But, I could also see how meaningful it was when I was able to present Wyatt a copy of the 30-page Sailbase Program Manual that was written by summer staffer Char Hanson in 1978! I enjoyed getting to talk with him about all of the camp traditions mentioned in this manual that we still do in 2023: 45 years later! And I enjoyed even more the opportunity to talk with both Wyatt and our program director Katie, about how we might continue to reincorporate sailing into our camping “curriculum” in 2024 and beyond. But most of all, I appreciated seeing how the powerful witness of Jesus was, is, and will always continue to be the beating heart at the center of our Adventure Anchored in Christ.

In her opening remarks in the Sailbase Manual, Char says, “You are about to embark on a challenging and fascinating journey – one that will touch the lives of many people, only some of which you will be aware. It will be filled with adventure; adventure that is anchored in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, who is the Light of the World.” Today, I give thanks to God for a tradition and legacy of Adventure Anchored in Christ that stretches back to the beginnings of our ministry and that will anchor us today and into the future!

P.S. We are excited to reincorporate our tradition of sailing at Camp Metigoshe. In 2024, all high school campers will have the opportunity to try out sailing during their time at camp! It might only be for an hour or two, and won’t be as comprehensive as our Sailbase program, but we’re excited to bring back this piece of our history in a new, exciting and living way as a part of our shared Adventure Anchored in Christ!