The camp theme for summer 2015 was "love never fails". It was the perfect theme not only because it is a great message to hear, but at Heartland Camp we got to see it lived out every day. See how we saw God's love at Heartland Camp.

1.       Middle School MADD (Music, Art, Dance, Drama) Performance

Each summer, groups of campers come together and put on a completely unique performance displaying their incredible talent. This summer, after a week of hard work by our talent-filled Middle School MADD campers, they put on a show that was a beautiful example of God’s love. I’ve seen several MADD shows and even been a part of them as a camper, but sometimes the Holy Spirit just does beautiful work in a moment. Watching the show’s plot, following a Christian band that decides to pursue fame and abandon their praise music, really captured all the campers, parents and staff hearts. I was left in tears by the end as the campers prayed and sang the words “your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me,” with such pure joy.  Not just the show, but the community of campers that was set before us was a truly memorable moment!

2.       Day Campers love the Bible

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Our youngest campers are often remembered for their joyful laughs and pure silliness. When our young campers teach our staff about their faith, beautiful moments are created. This summer, one young elementary camper left an impact on multiple staff members. She was constantly seen with a Heartland Camp Bible, just reading what she could of it. She brought it to the pool, to the campfire, all over and was always desiring the read it. She later shared that she never read the Bible at home much, but that at camp she realized how much she loved it! She couldn’t wait to read it at home. Seeing campers so young desiring to read the Bible on an individual level shows that God’s love reaches out to all of us on a personal level and at any age.

3.       Friendship Campers “Let it Go”

Every summer, Friendship Camp week leaves everyone at Heartland with memories to last a lifetime. This week is an opportunity for Heartland staff and Service Partnership campers to serve adults with developmental disabilities. A tradition of this camp is to have hold a talent show where campers do anything from recite scripture to break dance. One performance that made me happier than I can even express was when many of the campers got on stage to perform “Let it Go” from Frozen. One camper who I had counseled the summer before was especially into the performance and she sang her LUNGS out. It was just awesome, to all be singing a familiar song and feel so much joy and talent throughout the room. The Lord was so present, it definitely will not be forgotten.

4.       Night Owl Dance Party

The last “Love Never Fails” moment that sticks in my mind from this summer happened on a late, rainy night with a group of over 60 middle schoolers. Our Night Owl camp is one of our most popular and a week that many look forward to all year. This year, the weather was “raining on our parade” so to say. One night was a true example of making the BEST of it. It was rainy, and it looked like a night game outside wasn’t going to work, so a surprise dance party under the shelter of the craft lodge was in the works. Campers didn’t know what was planned and staff wasn’t sure if it would be a hit. However, once the familiar dance songs started to play and glow sticks were thrown all over the group, you could tell this would be a moment to remember. It was just so awesome to see the campfams interacting and enjoying just being silly together. Counselors were urged to bust some moves and campers let their guard down to spin in circles with people who just days before were strangers. Watching campers not care about seeming “cool” and just enjoying a dance party in an old craft lodge was to me such a view of the joy God wants for us to experience in community. 

Written by: Shelby Voigt