by Dave Cicero, DLRE

UUCW’s summer camp experience, July 31 – Aug 4, is now only a memory of those who experienced it. But my memory of it is fond…and hopeful.

Previous collaborations with “First Church” (FUSM) and our neighboring Waukesha County congregations made the camp plausible. But it was the anticipated sharing of worship services this summer that freed my time and imagination enough to make it possible.

Having our fantastic Camp Coordinator, Elliott Feil, and Counselor, Miranda Bradford, already on staff as Nursery caregivers and familiar with UUCW was helpful. In the end, seven campers aged 7-13 (the oldest of whom served as “Jr. Counselor”) from three local UU congregations took part in the week-long event.

Elliott’s and Miranda’s experience leading other camps and taking part in UU Youth Cons helped shape the activities, designed to affirm the values found in the UUA’s eight Principles:

  • the worth & dignity of every person
  • acceptance, fairness & compassion for others
  • continual growth and learning
  • wonder and a search for meaning/truth
  • sharing one’s voice in matters affecting them
  • community and inclusion
  • our interdependence in the web of life
  • taking action to build a better world

What the campers experienced were:

  • collaborative games
  • covenant-building
  • art/craft projects
  • play-acting
  • chair yoga
  • nature walks
  • communal snacks and lunches
  • group discussion and informal conversations
  • free play time

We had a great week, weather-wise, so there was a good mix of indoor and outdoor activities. My role was to welcome and orient the campers, and to provide some breaks for Miranda and Elliott during Snack and Lunch times.

In the end, the most important thing everyone probably did was to build Community. In a note to parents/guardians during the week, I imagined that these young people now have begun relationships with peers in neighboring congregations that will periodically be re-established and strengthened over the next several years. But in the meantime, each will live their lives understanding that there are others in the world, like them, living and learning and questioning and doing what they can to make it a better place for all to live.

I can think of no better gift for any of us to have. And I look forward to future opportunities for all of us to experience this in some way.

For more information about UUCW’s Religious Education program for youth, click HERE or contact Dave Cicero.