Last fall, echoes of laughter and exclamations of pleasant surprises were heard throughout Camp Arcadia as the camp, in partnership with the Michigan District, LCMS, hosted over 200 youth for the first annual Fall Confirmation Retreats. On two separate weekends, 7-8 grade confirmation students were offered the opportunity to grow in their faith, have fun, and build relationships with others from their church – and new friends as well.
The idea for the confirmation retreat began during a conversation among Michigan District staff in the fall of 2012. Rev. Galan Walther (Congregation Mission and Ministry Facilitator/Family Life) described how many classes go on a retreat at some point during the confirmation process. He further explained that it was likely that others would enjoy and benefit from a retreat experience for their youth.
Why are confirmation retreats so important?
Youth are the future of our church. It is important that we engage, teach, and nurture them. Camp could never replace one’s home congregation, but a retreat does offer unique learning, fellowship, and growth opportunities. When congregational and camping ministries work together, great things can happen!
A retreat setting provides a truly unique learning experience outside of the classroom. Retreats also provide a safe and fun environment for youth to interact with their pastor and foster healthy relationships.
What are some of the activities that promote faith and fun?
Throughout the weekend at Camp Arcadia, teens learn, worship, play, and eat together with their classmates and adult leaders. They spend time outdoors engaged in activities such as volleyball, basketball, ga-ga ball (a camp favorite), and archery. They can also choose to play inside with puzzles, billiards, foosball, and board games. In general, youth get to have fun being a kid, hanging out with friends, while at the same time meeting new friends.
How meaningful can a weekend retreat really be?
Karen Reincke, Director of Family Life Ministry at Immanuel, Macomb, describes the impact the retreat had on their youth like this:
“Our leaders planned to attend the Confirmation retreat knowing that the experience would be incredible spiritually and relationally for our Confirmation students. After the retreat, the students couldn’t say enough about the awesome weekend and how much they learned doctrinally and relationally with one another. One student who previously didn’t know any of the other students came away with the statement, ‘now I can’t wait to go back to Confirmation and church because I have so many close friends!’ What a blessing this retreat was for our group as a whole and as individuals.”
How can we get involved?
Camp Arcadia will again host two confirmation retreats this fall. The first retreat is October 3-5, 2014 and will be led by Rev. Jason Bauer (pastor at Redeemer, Interlochen). The second retreat is October 17-19, 2015 and will be led by Rev. Ryan Peterson (Campus Pastor and Assistant Professor of Theology at Concordia University Ann Arbor).
For more information, or to register your confirmation class, visit http://camp-arcadia.com/ or call 231.889.4361.