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home : current news : current news August 27, 2015

7/30/2013 12:42:00 PM
Habitat families enjoy camp
Families gathered at United Methodist Camp at Suttle Lake for the Creation Vacation Camp. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Families gathered at United Methodist Camp at Suttle Lake for the Creation Vacation Camp. photo by Jerry Baldock

By Eloise Barry

Five Sisters Habitat for Humanity families recently participated in the third annual Creation Vacation Camp at Suttle Lake United Methodist Camp.

The Creation Vacation Camp ministry was initiated by the United Methodist Church Camp and Retreat Ministries in 1997. Families from Pocatello and Nampa, Idaho and from Ontario, Portland, Tillamook and Salem have participated.

For the last three summers, the program has extended to families from Sisters Habitat.

Creation Vacation offers low-income families the opportunity to experience a few days of family vacation, enjoying a supportive community. For many, it is a respite from the struggles of daily life. Research has shown that improved family bonds and relationships are associated with family camps.

It has also shown that outdoor programs appear to produce positive outcomes that continue after the experience.

Recently, five Sisters Habitat for Humanity families were able to participate in the third annual camp at Suttle Lake United Methodist Camp. In addition to enjoying delicious and nutritious food and an individual family cabin on the beautiful grounds of the camp, families participated in special activities planned for all age levels. The children's ages ranged from 2 to 17.

Adult topics included parenting discussions, first aid and CPR, yoga, home maintenance, labyrinth usage and relaxation techniques. Children and teens participated in many games (those involving a brand-new parachute were the favorites) water games, archery, and a nature hike. A session on stream ecology opened everyone's eyes to the local environment. Boating, swimming, tie-dying of T-shirts and traditional campfires, including s'mores on the last night, were enjoyed by all ages.

A "variety show" between dinner and the campfire on the last night of camp had everyone in stitches as families shared one joke after another. Participants were dressed in fanciful costumes. The 2-year-old tyke in a chicken costume escaped confinement and brought down the house with his antics.

Comments made by parents have included, "I don't know when I last had a vacation!" and "This year's camp isn't even over yet and already I am looking forward to next year!"

Efforts will continue to secure stable funding and inclusion of more families in 2014 so that they will be able to participate in this potentially life-changing experience.

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