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Echo: A Transformational Experience

Echo: A Transformational Experience


By Jenn Smith, Echo Coordinator

Why is camp so awesome? I mean, come on…camp is the best place on Earth. But, what really makes camp so amazing? There has to be a formula or checklist to determine why camp is so great. Maybe it’s the fun games, the crazy activities and the loud energetic worship. While all those things are great, those characteristics are not what make a great camp experience. When you boil it down, what makes the camp experience so great is the fact that one encounters Jesus.

Continued from Youth Newsletter

Echo is an example of a different kind of camp experience. Community, discipleship, simplicity, and service transform student’s lives in Echo every summer. Echo is an intentional small community experience where students are challenged to live out what they are learning. Service is a big part of the Echo experience, but it is always coupled with the understanding of God’s presence. Echo may not look the way that you expect camp to look like; Echo is another opportunity to take one step closer to Jesus.

Hear what one of our campers, Rob Limkeman, has to say about Echo:


 “There is no doubt in my mind that Echo has dramatically shaped my life and its course. The loving, spirit-nurturing and challenging community provided me a place for personal growth that I had not anticipated. It provided me a place to say, “Not my will, but Thy will” with the truth that we sharpened each other with. It provided me a place with mature leaders that I could learn from and be inspired by. However, I am not convinced that it was the well-crafted program and planning, nor am I convinced that it was the dynamic and engaging nature of the leaders that made such an impact on me.

While I think these factors play crucial roles in Echo’s value, I am convinced that this program’s beauty blossoms because God is at the very center of it. Everything is grounded in Him, and everything is pointed back to Him. The key? I think it’s because the programs and planning are soaked in prayer. The leaders are soaked in prayer. The Echo-goers are soaked in prayer…This was evident in the amazing ways God’s grace showed up in those two short weeks and how it has spilled over throughout the last 2 and a half years in my life and the lives of the others. The bonds we formed, the battles we fought and the questions we wrestled with have pressed us into Christ in the most life-giving ways.

We can look back on Echo and be reminded of God’s faithfulness and unrelenting grace that we witnessed first-hand in Christian community. Echo is a faith anchoring experience. E cho provided for me a picture that I put on my desk reminding me not just of God and that awesome time in community, but also of my continuing commitment established in that holy place to live a life fully abiding in Jesus.”

Echo is for 9th-12th graders and takes place at both Kidder Creek at the Santa Cruz Mountains. Join us this summer! Check it out here.

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