The Southern California Division recently hosted 154 adult campers from five of the Social Service recovery programs in the division at Mt. Crags Camp in the Santa Monica Mountains. For the second year, this five-day outing allowed residents to attend a camp filled with spiritual and motivational sessions, sports and craft activities and relaxation opportunities. Steve Allen, director of Social Services, and Lynn James, assistant director, coordinated the camp.
Each day began at 6:00 a.m. with plenty of coffee and personal testimonies, and ended at a blazing campfire with song and devotions. Throughout the week, campers attended four Principles of Living seminars taught by Roy Snapp-Kolas, director of the Haven Program, and Patricia Bauman, director of the Safe Harbor program. This track culminated with a session designed to help each camper write a personal mission statement and a wrap-up assembly titled “God’s Grace,” given by guest speaker (Major) Anne Pickup.
Leisure time included swimming, hiking, arts and crafts, volleyball, basketball and just plain having fun. Saturday night the campers shared their talent as they sang, danced and recited poetry. Sunday was the highlight, with guest speaker Lt. Colonel Alfred R. Van Cleef. The service included the Gospel Choir from the Bell Shelter and more than half of the campers shared a personal testimony of how God was working in their lives. After the service the campers had lunch and then attended an awards session.
Throughout the week, Jesus Christ was the topic of conversation. Campers continually shared what Jesus was doing in their lives. Change in people’s lives was evident each day as campers shared what they had experienced and learned that day. Several campers wrote poetry when plain sentences did not tell their story.
One camper wrote about her experiences. “The highlight was when I took a hike to the little cross. Boy, what an awesome feeling. While up at the cross I screamed and yelled, but more important, I got down on my knees, prayed and finally gave my life over to God!” Another camper wrote, “Going on this trip made me do a lot of thinking. When I lay down at night I thought about how thankful I was that I am not just an addict, but I am a child of God.” Another said, “I met a lot of great and wonderful people. I also received God in my life on Sunday. I was blessed by Col. Van Cleef that day. Ever since, God has been changing my insides so much that at times it’s so overwhelming that it’s a terrific rush, better than any drug I used to do.”
As the buses pulled away, many waved, some said they wanted to come back next year, and most had tears in their eyes. God had touched so many in so many ways during this week.
Since the camp experience, Rick Sanchez, Harbor Light Center program director, shared that 90 percent of the residents who attended the camp have finished the Harbor Light program clean and sober.