My memories of the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center near Oregon, Ill., have little or nothing to do with the Lutheran faith that took me there.
I spent a week at the camp for several consecutive summers, and those long days and bonfire-filled nights still hold some of my favorite and most meaningful memories.
The clichés were intact, for sure — right down to singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire as our pastor strummed an aged acoustic guitar. But there’s something to be said for simple, unadulterated camaraderie, and camp said it best.
There is enormous value, especially for a teen or pre-teen, in finding acceptance and community among peers who have no motivation to compete, put down or bully. Camp offered the freedom to be good to others. What a gift.