Wildwood Ranch, Sierra del Mar Division

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by Suzi Woodriff Lacey –

Campers keep cool on a Slip ‘n Slide. [Photo by Sophie Yalden]
At Wildwood Ranch, in Ramona Calif., campers were fascinated by the accents of four counselors from across the globe. Divisional Youth Secretary Captain Osei Stewart said campers and counselors alike were enriched by the interaction.

Counselor Rachel Jones from Wales recalled her first day when 11-year-old Angie punched a boy in the face! With support from camp staff, Rachel gently built a relationship with her, even tailoring devotionals to Angie’s troubled life. By the end of the week, Angie had responded and even cried when she left.

Anthony Sanchez from Jamaica developed patience working with children who didn’t get much attention at home, watching their behavior change as they felt safe and cared for. Emma Butler from New Zealand expressed amazement at “all the musical opportunities at Salvation Army camp.” Robbie White from England noted the powerful impact on kids when they learn how much God loves them.

At Teen Camp counselors and staff addressed such hardcore issues as “cutting,” drugs, the occult and premarital sex, not by focusing on the issues, but by focusing on the solutions. As Stewart preached about the importance of stepping out of the boat in faith, like Peter on the waves, he let the teens know the result of not relying on God. For commitment night, there was a coffin on the stage. Teens wrote on slips of paper what problems, fears and sins they wanted to “put to death” and placed these in the coffin. Stewart said about 30 youth came forward to live for the Lord, including one girl who had been experimenting in the occult. His prayer is “that all these young people will go forward to be all they can be for Christ.”

Suzi Woodruff Lacey

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