It was quiet in the Longhouse; the field was empty. If you were to go into either of the ends of camp, you wouldn’t have heard any laughter or play because there were no campers here; not yet. It was a strange feeling to return to a place where God has done so much in you, and find it primed and ready for the many campers who would descend on it like a storm. The feeling is something like when you stand at the edge of a cliff, ready to make a leap into the water below; you don’t want to stay there long, anticipating the the rush of wind as you experience the weightlessness of falling for a few seconds followed by the euphoria accompanying the splash of water that will engulf you when you land. It was quiet, but it was soon that this place was filled with excitement and adventure. Adventure is a big part of what makes the SALT program impactful in the lives of the young people who come for leadership training at Camp Widjiitiwin.
Just as important as the physical adventures, is the biblical training and leadership skills. SALT leaders prepare examples of leadership from scripture, profiling men like Ezra and Elijah and women like Phoebe. Some of the biblical leaders have big parts of scripture devoted to them, while others sit in the background, quietly supporting the events that took place. Opening God’s word, and sharing their stories and our own has built many strong relationships over the many years SALT has been running. Those relationships have blossomed into life-long friendships and lasting change in people’s lives.
Many of the camp staff were at some time a SALTer, and are using the skills they learned in a camp context, while others, like my wife, have applied those skills through education and jobs and in raising a family. All people have a circle of responsibility within which they must provide leadership and make decisions. For some it is only themselves, but SALT is about providing the tools to expand that circle to include others. For our family, it has brought us back to the place we first met, and to a new generation of staff and campers.
Widjiitiwin has a new director, new staff, new programming and partnerships we never saw before, new activities and new traditions, although some of those are freshly rediscovered. Something has remained the same, and it is the most important thing; Christ is preached, God is glorified and lives are being changed. A bus would arrive shortly, the cabin leaders were standing on the rocks and soon they’d all all jump together.