In this recurring column, alumni of the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound programs (including the formerly named A/U Chapters) share why they’ve stayed involved or reconnected with Adventure Unlimited and its programs.
We’ve all heard it or said it: “I’m sooo busy!” While the pace of daily schedules can seem to be unavoidably hectic, one family found that it’s possible to make time and space for what’s most important.
Christiane (Chris) Relph and her husband, Mark Maloney, along with their daughters from previous marriages, have chosen to make their family’s time at the A/U Ranches a priority in their lives. “I believe that camp gives everyone in our family a better grounding and understanding of Christian Science,” Chris says. “We are a blended family with the other parents not being CS, so we carve out the time for camp for the girls early in the year so that it’s the first thing on the summer calendars.”
In addition to Youth Camp, the Relph-Maloneys have attended Family Camp, Christmas Camp, Memorial Day Service Weekend and Adult Mini Camp. “We love the joyous atmosphere and all the activities we can do together,” Chris says. “Going to camp together has brought us closer to God and each other.”
That stronger connection to God led to a healing in Chris’s daughter, Kathryn (Kat), when she had difficulty breathing. “At camp, she was nervous about climbing her first 14-er, and with the support of her counselors and practitioner, she was able to climb Yale without any problems,” Chris recalls. “She has since become an avid climber and mountain biker and has been completely free of asthma.”
It’s no surprise that finding this freedom changed Kat’s perspective, too. “Her understanding of Christian Science and a love of the outdoors have been nurtured at camp,” Chris continues. “She keeps trying new activities. The A/U Ranches has inspired her to be more daring, which is great! Her counselors have been wonderful and a great example to her.”
Mark’s daughter, Hayley, also found confidence at the A/U Ranches. “She was extremely shy when she started camp and felt that her healing was coming out of her shell,” Chris says. “She felt in the loving atmosphere of camp she could be herself, and she just blossomed with all the love around her.” In fact, Chris adds, “Camp has carried over into all aspects of her life. This summer a highlight was when her corral counselors awarded her the golden horseshoe for her help during the session.”
Speaking of her own camp experience as an adult, Chris says she loves being able to ride horses at Mini Camp. “I find it a great way to gain a better understanding of Christian Science through all the fun activities while bonding with my horse. Camp challenges me to grow and see myself as brave and try new things.”
These experiences have made prioritizing camp an easy decision. “The girls love the A/U Ranches and the other parents have grown to see the value of camp, too,” Chris explains. “At times, we have had to give up some of our own time with the girls so that they can attend camp, but we feel it’s one of the best gifts we can give them. The personal spiritual growth and understanding of Christian Science they both have gained has been amazing.”