They say that the first step to addressing any issue is to admit that it is there, so, here goes.... My name is Matt, and I'm a camp-aholic. Truly, jokes aside, I couldn't imagine a summer without a week at Heartland Center. Each summer seems to be better than the last, and this summer is certainly no exception.

A little bit about me – this is my eleventh year serving at Heartland, two of those years were spent as a Heartland staff member. In that time, I have counseled and directed over a dozen middle school and high school horse camps. I can honestly say without exaggeration that this camp has been one of the best I've experienced in my decade-plus journey with Heartland Center.

This group of campers clicked from day one and every day has been a new adventure. We've had a ton of fun with all sorts of activities, starting with Monday when we paired up to climb the giant's ladder at the challenge course and then, later, put on glowstick bracelets and necklaces to fly through the dark in a night time zipline adventure. Later in the week we visited a racing horse farm and learned from their head horse trainer how to properly care for our horses. We've shared meals together, cooked over a fire and eaten around our family dinner table. We've sang songs, watched a movie under the stars, swam in the pool and, with every new experience, grown closer together as a family group.

We've also spent a lot of time with our horses, learning to groom and care for them, making horse treats, and, of course, riding them. Every camper has their own horse and each have their own special bond, bringing with it some amazing stories and a lot of laughs.

Best of all, we've had the chance to take this time away from the hustle of our everyday lives and spend time learning about who God says that we are. We've read through scriptures and had a chance to talk through each theme, asking our questions and learning from one another. We've prayed together and seen our faith impacted with each passing day. As the director with a camp full of high school aged campers, nothing is more impactful to me than talking through the earnest questions of faith with this amazing group. I've felt the presence of the Holy Spirit move through the interactions of these young men and women, as they learn the love of the Father, the love that Christ showed us and love for one another.

It is truly a blessing to get to be a part of this week with these amazing campers surrounded by God's creation. In many ways, they have impacted me far more than I can express.

In Christ's Love,

Matthew Morrow, Director of Horse Camp

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