Core Values: Outdoor Adventure

By Chad Hershberger

They are like trees
   planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
   and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
—Psalm 1:3

Do you have a favorite time of the year? Is it because of what you see outside- snow, colorful leaves, full grown foliage, or budding flowers?

Spring is my favorite time of year.  Warmer weather, sunnier days, green grass, and colorful flowers arrive in these days.  The birds seem to sing a little louder; the days get longer; spring is a great time to celebrate creation. I think I’m more mindful of what God has given us during these days. New life is on my mind as Easter occurs during these days.

One of our core values at Camp Mount Luther is outdoor adventure, which includes creation appreciation. As part of our program, we explore what God has created. We learn to appreciation what it is in nature. And we learn how to safely care for our environment.

The appreciate comes in many forms. We often have lessons and identify items in nature. We might pray to God in appreciation for what we see. We may find a natural item and connect it to what it says about our lives. Or, we might write poetry or draw pictures to show our appreciation for the natural world.

When I was in the second grade, I won a contest at my elementary school.  I wrote a poem for Arbor Day, which is celebrated in April.  Among my prize for winning was $10 and a small tree to plant.  To this day, I can still recite the poem that I wrote so many years ago.  It went like this:

Once there was a tree
It was beautiful to me.
Among the green leaves
The oriole weaves
His sticks so round
And then a squirrel found
A little nut for me
Which someday may be another tree.

I thought of this poem recently when I was out taking a walk. And I thought about how important it is for us to expose our children to the great outdoors. At camp, we learn about using God’s creation for recreation. We play in the field, serve volleyballs, swim, play Frisbee golf and Gaga Ball. The sun beats down on our heats and we feel the cool summer breeze on our skin.

We also remind our campers that a walk in the woods, slowly breathing in the air, and laying in the field at night are ways to re-create. Connecting with our creator in these ways help us to feel God’s presence. It helps us to recommit to taking care of all that God has created.

Next time you are outside, pause and really look around. Use all your senses: sight, hearing, smell, and touch to explore and appreciation God’s creation. May that be a reminder to you of the awesomeness of our God and that God is present with us each and every day, especially in the beauty of creation.