Campers Connect Through Youth Alpha Online
I have been going to Circle Square Ranch Big Clear Lake every summer for about four years. This summer I was planning to be part of the Pre-Leaders-In-Training program where I’d spend two weeks at camp taking the Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross courses. Like most of my summer plans, the program was cancelled due to the pandemic.
It was really unsettling for everything to change. I missed normal daily activities like taking the bus to school and eating at restaurants. Because I live in a city that has lots of COVID cases I couldn’t see my extended family and that was especially hard. Almost nothing was consistent, even the COVID safety measures. New measures were being put in place and we didn’t know if the rules would change at any moment.
Online Alpha a Helpful Routine
Through it all, one thing that was consistent throughout the first months of quarantine was Alpha. Every week, I would gather on a video call with other people from camp and watch a Youth Alpha video. We watched the video for awhile, and then stopped to talk about it. We talked about who Jesus is and what it means for how we should live, and how to think about the Bible, prayer and the Holy Spirit. Then we also shared our thoughts about the ongoing pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The routine of Alpha became important to me. It was really comforting to talk to people about everything that was going on, especially since the others weren’t from big cities and didn’t seem to be panicking. I needed social interaction and it was so good to have a chance to be with Christian community.
Being able to share my thoughts about everything going on was a big relief. Because we were out of school for so many months, and not attending in-person church, Alpha gave me the opportunity to think about what the future holds from God’s perspective. It was also wonderful to be reminded of God’s presence among us, even in these tough times.
The Gift of Peace
I feel extremely fortunate that no one I know has gotten COVID and I know that the pandemic has been worse for many people. However, I hope I remember the peace God gifted to me during this chaotic time.
Although I really, really hope that camp is open next year, it’s so important that everyone stays safe and healthy during this crisis. Circle Square Ranch will always have a place in my heart, even when I’m not there in person.