Discovering a Spirit of Generosity
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Young guests of Camp Indian Sands
, an outdoor ministry program in Neshkoro, Wisconsin, may encounter a lot of firsts when they come here: sleeping in tents under starlight, swimming in a fresh lake, paddling a canoe and wandering through tranquil woods.
They experience another first as well. Through an innovative stewardship program developed in partnership with the Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission
program unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), campers are invited to see that all of life is a response to God's love.
Executive Director Tim Knutson says, "As we create opportunities for kids to connect with creation, community and Christ, we are grateful for the educational resources of the churchwide organization. With their help, we've crafted a program that teaches a more authentic understanding of stewardship.
"How is our treatment of the natural world a response to God's love? How does Christ influence our actions within our community? What gifts may we bring to create a more just world? This model of stewardship in no way excludes financial gifts. Rather, it places them in their proper context as another type of loving response that brings glory to God."
Camp Indian Sands has a long history of primarily serving children from urban Milwaukee neighborhoods, many who have never had a camping experience before. After traveling two hours by bus, they arrive to discover a relaxing escape from the busy, noisy surroundings of their everyday life in the city.
The children experience nature at work as they watch the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies, overcome their fear of frogs as they hold them in their hands and hear an owl's call late at night. And they learn the wonder of responding to God's presence in their lives with a spirit of generosity.
Camp Indian Sands is one of approximately 147 ELCA Outdoor Ministry programs
in the United States and Puerto Rico. These programs provide a place for novice and experienced campers alike to make connections to one another, to creation and to Christ. Many leaders of this church speak of their outdoor ministry experiences as critical in their spiritual development.
For more information, visit www.elca.org/Outdoor