May 19, 2015

A weekly communication for:

WDC Churches and Pastors

WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members

Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and

forwarded to congregational leaders and members.

WDC Sprouts is also available at:  www.mennowdc.org (Publications)


*Cheering for Camp

Cheering for Camp

by Olivia Bartel, Director – Camp Mennoscah

We do a lot of cheerleading for summer youth camps this time of year.  Summer theme—yea!  Summer staff—hooray!  New friends and experiences—yippee!  Swimming, crafts, river play, singing, worship—woo-hoo!  New bath houses—um…almost.

The cheering happens because we believe that a camp experience can make a positive difference in a kid’s faith journey or even just in how they view the world.  This difference goes back to our congregations and communities, and then tumbles even further out into the world as these campers move and grow into other congregations and cities.

The behind-the-scenes stuff doesn’t get talked about much.  You maybe see me begging for kitchen staff, head cooks, and nurses, but there’s not a lot of pom-pom waving for all the cooking, custodial, maintenance, and office work that is done.  Over the summer, these jobs are mostly done by volunteers who spend a week or more with us.

These volunteers—and all of our volunteers throughout the year—are absolutely, completely, and totally vital to our program and camping ministry.  Obviously, we need you to fill these positions so we can have our summer youth camps and retreats, but it extends beyond that, too.  We want these positions open for volunteers because camp is just as important for adults as it is for youth.  Camp doesn’t stop being important just because you turn 18 or 42 or 80.  Counselors and summer staff talk about what being at camp for a week or a summer has meant in solidifying their faith.  Kitchen helpers laugh and giggle when talking about their camp friends and ask whether so-and-so will be back again this summer.  And surely camp has meaning for those program directors and input leaders and nurses who have spent time at Camp Mennoscah each summer for decades.

As camp staff, we should be running up and down the streets yelling about “Summer Adult Camps” and talking about the importance of camp experiences for adults in their continuing faith journeys—of faith in action and doing service, mentoring, new friends and experiences, of being in creation.  We should be talking and chatting and maybe just a little bit of gossiping about this sacred space we call Camp Mennoscah and how it’s not only for kids.  It’s a place to wrestle with and re-imagine your faith, and it’s a place to be yourself.

And you should all be clamoring and gently jostling each other to get to the front of the line to be at Camp Mennoscah (or any camp).  That’s our opinion, anyways.  Volunteering at camp is a way to renew yourself and to strengthen your connection with God.  It’s a way to live your faith and teach by example.

If you haven’t been to Camp Mennoscah recently, we’d like to invite you to be a part of our “Summer Adult Camps” as a volunteer.  Or you can come to Family Camp, a Scrapbooking Retreat, Mental Health Spiritual Retreat, or our Work & Play Camp for your camp experience.   If you have been at a “Summer Adult Camp,” tell your camp stories and bring a friend when you come back this summer.

Woo-hoo for summer volunteers!  Hooray for campers of all ages!

WDC Announcements

  1. Faith Formation experts from across Mennonite Church USA will be speaking at the Anabaptist Faith Formation Launch June 12-13.  Breakout session topics include:  group spiritual formation, technology and social media, labyrinths, youth and young adults, the Bible, silence, daily life, aging in the Spirit, new faith formation resources, teaching preparation, children and families, the arts, and music.  Register at: https://mennowdc.org/anabaptist-faith-formation-launch/ by May 29.
  1. WDC has granted 22 Leadership Transformation Scholarships.  Twelve are left.  These scholarships are available to pastors and church leaders in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas as well as Kansas and include overnight lodging in Wichita.  You.Lead.Now will also be offered in Kansas City, Nov. 2-4.  Go to:  https://mennowdc.org/grants/ or talk to Clarence Rempel, 316-283-6300 to find out more.
  1. Still room for you and a friend at Camp Mennoscah!  We have one full camp, but most camps are joyously waiting to be filled by you.  Bring a friend new to Camp Mennoscah, all you returning campers–share the faith-filled fun we have and get a free tee shirt!  Online registration can be found at www.campmennoscah.org.
  1. Hello?  Hello?  We know there are gobs and gobs of Camp Mennoscah fans out there, and at least one gob of you are surely willing and able summer camp volunteers.  Kitchen helpers are needed for June 7-13, June 21-27, and July 26-31.  Head cooks (with volunteer stipend or camper discount) needed for June 29-July 2 and July 5-9.  A nurse (with volunteer stipend or camper discount) is needed for July 5-9.  Come be a part of the fun!  Free camp tee shirt offered.  Contact us at 620-297-3290.  We can’t wait to see you this summer!
  1. Camp Sing!  The 2015 Camp Mennoscah Camp Sing will be August 9 at 6pm at Grace Hill Mennonite Church.  Mark your calendars, practice your camp songs, and start counting down the days!
  1. WDC Sprouts will take a break next week – the next issue will be on June 2.

MC USA Announcements

1  This July, let the world come to you!  Mennonite World Conference’s global Assembly (July 21-26 in Harrisburg, PA) will feature the Global Church Village with displays of life and culture from Anabaptist communities around the world.  Come for a day or a week and soak in music, dance, drama, storytelling, and so much more!  More info at mwc-cmm.org/pa2015.

  1. Where can you learn about AIDS prevention in Kenya, gun control in the U.S., reducing maternal mortality in Tanzania, church-based health ministries from Latin America to Lancaster County, and the effect of climate change on global health?  It’s all a part of the Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) Annual Gathering 2015, July 19-21 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  All healthcare workers, past, present, and future, from medical, mental health, and chaplaincy professions along with their families are warmly invited.  Grants are available for students, volunteers, and those outside the U.S. and Canada.  Children and youth program available for ages 0-18.  For more information and registration, go to www.mennohealth/gathering, email info@mennohealth.org, or call 1-888-406-3643 (toll-free).

Western District Conference

2517 North Main, PO Box 306

North Newton KS  67117

316-283-6300; FAX:  316-283-0620

Email:  wdc@mennowdc.org

Website:  www.mennowdc.org