by: Rev. Phil Tapp, Youth Minister

The experience of CSL summer camp was nothing short of amazing! The theme of this year’s event was “Just Grow Through With It”. Seven of us made the trip to Idyllwild, CA for the week-long event. It was pretty much a solid 16-hour day (minimum) for the teens full of love, connection, music, dancing, and workshops designed to empower them to live from their highest self. The spiritual growth among our group was fantastic, obvious and measurable among each person.

I want to share a few observations that I gleaned from this trip.

My first observation is that this event was the most diverse event I have ever attended. It gives me great hope to see the wide array of experience, age, race, ethnicity, gender and ability that was present at this camp. As many of you know, I struggle at times with the seeming lack of diversity within CSL based upon the demographic of our own center, which is predominantly white. That was put to rest for me. I can now see clearly that our messages are being heard and utilized by a much more vast audience than I imagined. We had centers attending from California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida and Rhode Island.

Secondly, I have been shown a new level of commitment by a group of individuals: those who put the camp together… a group of about 20 people. They were both adult and teen leadership. It took them literally thousands of hours of effort to give birth to this program. I can only begin to imagine the commitment, and it makes me question my own level of effort for our center. Am I doing enough to help our group to grow? Am I investing my time wisely? Am I empowering others to participate? It gives me a new mental equivalent of what a youth program is capable of.

Third, I believe our congregation can grow through more meaningful youth/ adult interaction. Many of the workshops that I participated in highlighted the need for and created the means to foster greater connection between these groups. Our teen group is excited to present these to our congregation in an afternoon workshop very soon!

I want to personally thank all of you who contributed to this cause. Your gifts of generosity made something possible that will continue to influence our youth and youth programs for the foreseeable future and beyond that which we can see and know. The seeds we are planting in our youth are incredibly valuable to humanity as a whole and will undoubtedly produce fruit in the form of “A World That Works For Everyone”. We are all blessed by the spiritual experience that CSL Teen Camps provide and we look forward to our centers’ continued participation and growth in this worthwhile program.