“God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good!” This was a gathering call at Camp Claggett’s Youth Camp July 17-22, 2022. Camp Claggett is the summer camp sponsored by the Episcopal Dioceses of Washington and Maryland and run by the Claggett Center in Buckeystown, Maryland. As a chaplain at Youth Camp, I witnessed over fifty 7-10 year-olds make friends, try new things, and explore their faith in fun ways. “God is good!” a counselor would call. “All the time,” the campers would respond. “All the time,” the counselor would echo. “God is good,” came the campers’ answer. While a statement of fact at all times, this sentiment felt especially true at camp where God’s goodness was frequently felt in palpable ways.
Each morning began with breakfast, followed by chapel and small group. Then campers engaged in a variety of activities including a ropes course, canoeing the Monocacy River, hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, swimming, and games. After a lunch break, more of the same occurred, followed by downtime, dinner, evening fun and chapel.
This year’s camp theme was Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Campers were encouraged to live out and to look for acts of justice, kindness, and humbleness. I witnessed several myself. Campers cared for one another. On our walk back from canoeing, one camper noticed that one of their peers was lagging behind, weighed down by their backpack, the uphill walk, and the heat. The first camper offered to carry the other camper’s backpack. The invitation was accepted with gratitude and relief. This example of kindness moved me and filled me with an almost overpowering feeling of hope.
God is good all the time! God’s goodness is evidenced in the kindness, justice, and humbleness of God’s people, especially the youngest, God’s children. Our young people have been through a lot these last two years. Life has been altered. But goodness is still present. Kindness abounds. My experience at camp reminded me of this essential truth. As I accompanied campers on their trips, watched them braid friendship bracelets, build relationships and extended kindness to one another, I was reminded of God’s goodness.
Camp Claggett offered me a snapshot of God’s goodness and a reminder that that goodness is embedded in each of us, especially in our rising generations.
This experience is available to you and your families, too. Camp Claggett offers a variety of summer options including camps for elementary, middle and high schoolers; as well as camp for the entire family and other special interest camps. If you are a community leader, share this information with your folks. If your families haven’t experienced the type of community that camp can create, encourage them to learn more about Camp Claggett. I am happy to speak with your parish about Camp Claggett and share more information about the uplifting experiences camp provides. It’s never too early to begin planning for summer 2023. Why not schedule a glimpse of God’s goodness into your calendar?
The Rev. Amanda Akes-Cardwell
Missioner for Faith Formation and Development