Corinthians 12:4-5. “Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all.”
This is the guiding scripture and vision (and t-shirt design) for a very special group of teens.
At a time when many of our local churches cannot provide leadership training for our youth, the DSWC Camp and Retreat Ministry at Potosi Pines steps in and steps up to fill the gap. For 10 years the C4C – Counselors 4 Christ program has engaged youth from the North District, including from the Foster care system, in learning to lead service, fellowship and spiritual formation activities.
Beginning in 2009 with the help of a grant from United Methodist Youth Service Fund, Dr. Maggie Freese and Julie Hart designed a program for youth who would be a part of the summer programming at Potosi Pine Camp but would also create a faith community of youth from various churches and community branches. Because so many wonderful Children from the foster community had enriched Potosi, those who had become teens were included. With a nod to learning how to teach and share faith experiences with children, the youth grew in their own faith practices and understandings.
Each year a dozen or so young people are invited to engage the year-long commitment of fellowship and preparation, and most of them serve on multiple summer and winter camp staffs, as well as in leadership positions in the community. Monthly meetings center around issues like How to Develop a Small Group, Brainstorming, Camp Theme Development, Writing and Delivering Devotions, Bible Study, and important issues like Camp Skits, Potosi Traditions, Storytelling, and Games. Counselors are prepared, at a moment’s notice, to lead campers in study, song, spiritual growth, and General Silliness! Unexpected rainy days, and the occasional wildfire warning have been times when these talented youth rise to the occasion and help the campers focus in positive ways. The adult staff has learned to depend greatly on the great leadership the C4C team provides.
Ten years ago a group of teenagers were willing to ‘give it a try’ and be the test group. Most of them served on camp staffs throughout their teens, and a few continue in adult staff roles at Potosi and other camp locations.
One of the hundreds of foster children who attended Potosi, Domi S joined the early C4C team. She acknowledges that it was at camp that she found her faith, confidence, and a forever family. Her ability to work with kids going through tough times, by sharing her own struggles and victories, has been invaluable for the Potosi program. Julie Greenleaf Scura was also one of the early participants and went on to study camp and retreat ministry and has answered the call to serve God in that way at a Christian camp in California. Most of the other C4C Alum will tell you they use the people skills and spiritual development every day.
Younger campers today almost always leave Potosi Pines wanting to come back every year,… and especially with the dream of someday serving as one of the amazing Counselors 4 Christ!