Remember as a child when you attended the A/U Ranches as a camper? Do you recall climbing Turtle Rocks for the first time, hiking to Harvard Lakes, or participating in the A/U Rodeo? The Rackham family – Hannah, Emme, and William, recently finished third session at the A/U Ranches and remind us of what summer camp is like as a child.
William, the youngest of the three, participated in A/U’s Explorers Program, designed for the youngest campers. It consists of hiking, rock climbing, swimming and a 3-day outing to Howling Wolf’s tee-pee where Howling Wolf himself makes an appearance to tell campfire stories while the children drink hot chocolate and eat s’mores. The 3-day was a favorite of William’s!
Emme loves horses, so it was natural that she was in the Horsemanship program. Our horsemanship program teaches early riders the basics, and each year builds upon skills learned. All riders at the end of the camp session participate in a gymkhana, known as the A/U Rodeo. Emme loves participating in the Rodeo where riders compete in the barrel and other horseback riding events. Emme was excited to come in second in two events this year.
All campers, regardless of what program they participate in, go on a 3-day overnight. Emme, her horse, and the rest of the Horsemanship campers were no exception. The 3-day experiences give campers a great opportunity to demonstrate Christian Science. “On the 3- day my horse, Lady, got tripped up on a rock. She kind of got spooked. I was standing beside her, and she stepped on my foot. It really hurt, and all the counselors helped me know that nothing can hurt me, not even a horse. You have to know God’s creations are harmless and useful.” Emme had a nice healing and continued on with her activities.
Hannah, a middle-schooler, participated in Waterfront where campers work on skills such as swimming and canoeing. Campers utilize not only the lake but also A/U’s junior-Olympic size pool to learn water skills in a safe environment. Hanna loved her 3-day because she was able to appreciate the natural surroundings. “On the 3-day” Hannah explained, “I canoed across Turquoise Lake at 4:00 in the morning! Then we watched the sunrise over the mountains. It looked like the Paramount Pictures thingy where the sun goes up and then the stars.”
“Why is attending A/U Ranches so important for youth?” we asked Hannah. “…because you’re around Christian Scientists. You can grow more because they think the way you think,” she said. “I had a healing when competing in Mountain Madness. I was canoeing across the lake, and when we were practicing I flipped. I thought I was going to flip again when we did the relay race and I didn’t.” What prevented her from tipping? “I knew I was protected.” Mountain Madness, as Hannah mentioned, is similar to a mini-triathlon except it consists of swimming, canoeing, rock climbing, running and conquering elements of the low ropes course.
Emme also had a healing. “When we were practicing for the Rodeo my stomach started to hurt really bad. I went to the practitioner and we prayed. She gave me a bunch of hymns and a bunch of testimonies. Immediately I felt better.”
All three Rackham children feel it’s important for Christian Science youth to attend camp. “Because it’s fun! It’s the best place on Earth!” proclaimed Will. Hannah said, “It gives you a chance to not just have fun but to be spiritual.” “Be closer to God,” added Emme.
So, will we see Hannah, Emme, and Will next summer? “Oh yeah!” yells Will. Emme chimed in with a firm “Yes!” “It depends” says Hannah in a soft voice. “Depends on what?” we asked. What could possibly prevent you from coming to camp next year. “It depends on if I get money from a campership.” “I feel like it’s important to give money for camperships because that’s how I and most of my friends are able to come to A/U,” Emme explained. “It gives us a chance to really get the experience of Christian Science” Will added. “It’s just a nice thing to do,” he said in a way only the innocence of a child could. We can’t wait to see the Rackham’s and all their camp friends at “the best place on Earth” next summer!