As part of OUTLOOK’s recent photo/essay contest, Mid-America youth (ages 10-16) were asked to describe how a past camp experience impacted their lives. Participants were also asked to submit up to three photos to accompany their essays. The grand prize: a free week at any Mid-America Union-sponsored camp. The first, second and third place winners were also published in the May 2014 issue of OUTLOOK.

The winners, honorable mentions and other entries are featured below. Click the “next” or “previous” buttons to navigate between entries. 


First Place Winner: Megan Conley

Conley 1This summer camp story started when I was 13 at Glacier View Ranch.

The Sabbath evening before camp started the butterflies kicked in. I was scared and excited all at the same time. I was scared that I would not make many friends, and I was not going to know very many people. A couple of thoughts kept going through my mind, which brought comfort to me—knowing God was with me and that my cousin Kiev, who was more like a sister to me, would still be at camp after breaking her ankle just a week or two before.

When I got to my cabin and met my counselor, she made me feel at ease, and I realized I knew more people at camp than I thought. The first part of the week went pretty well getting to know new friends and sharing a spiritual bond that is unforgettable. By mid-week, I found out that Billy, my uncle’s dog (who was more like my own dog), had passed away. All the girls in my cabin knew I was sad and showed comfort for my loss. This is when I knew I was where God wanted me to be. A moment that is special to me is when Benjamin, a friend who I have known all of my life, asked if I was okay.

There is not a better way to strengthen your relationship with God than to share it with friends at camp. Two years later, it is these friends whom I met at GVR who are helping me through one of the hardest times in my life. I was diagnosed with a life-changing illness. My camp friends are life long, as they show God’s eternal love. Thank you camp friends—you know who you are. You are my family!