A Life-Changing Summer
In just four weeks at camp, a teen and his family find their lives transformed.
At any point, the touch of divine Love can bring about an awakening. In a family new to Christian Science, Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches last summer provided just the fresh perspective they needed, and it’s continued to bless them in life-changing ways.
Wesina enrolled four of her five children in camp last summer after learning about it from their Sunday School teachers. “I was probably more excited than the children,” Wesina says. “All the amazing activities like horseback riding, white water rafting, mountain climbing and more – and then to know that my children would gain a deeper understanding of who God was in their lives, side by side with those experiences – it was a dream come true.”
Her oldest son, Joshua, explains how that deeper understanding of God took root. “The spiritual growth I experienced was exponential,” he says. “I learned how to be a better brother, son and person in general. The morals and self-discipline that the staff taught us to apply every day changed the way I thought and acted in my everyday life.”
During an eight-mile run in his first session at camp, Joshua found that applying what he was learning about God brings healing. Here’s his account:
I just knew I would finish last. I started out nervous because I wasn’t prepared to run – I hadn’t worked out for over two months. I paced myself and tried to push through, but once I made it to mile three, my legs felt like noodles and I just knew I wasn’t going to make it.
My counselor came to me as I was out of breath and ready to throw in the towel. He asked me, “Joshua, do wheels on a car get tired? Then why should your legs?” At that moment it all gelled together, I got it, and I could do it, and I did do it! I remembered the scientific statement of being [Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 468] and I digested the fact that I am a perfect spiritual being. I made it past the finish line. Even though it got hard, I finished second out of 26 people. I learned that anything is possible by proclaiming and knowing the Truth and never letting go of it.
Before Joshua went to camp, Wesina shares, he’d had some behavioral issues. “His belief in God was always the balancing point,” she says. “After attending [Youth Camp], it seemed as if my son received his blessing. He learned how to apply CS to his daily living.”
“I like how Christian Science was implanted into everything we did,” Joshua says. “It helped add on to my spiritual growth and understanding of divine Love. I learned how to navigate through Science and Health to find the answers when I need them.”
By the second session, Joshua was very comfortable relying on God. “First session is where Science became clear,” he says. “Second session was when we were able to apply it and have fun!”
Through friends he made at camp, he learned about Principia Upper School, where he’s now attending. “I am more than grateful for my experience at the A/U Ranches,” he says, “because it sent my life in a new direction that only God could have created for me.”
“His experience was life changing!” Wesina adds. “Being at Principia has set him on course for college, and it all started at the A/U Ranches. My son stopped being short tempered. He found his relationship with the Creator that seemed to balance his personality. I was full of gratitude and joy for these changes.”
Joshua’s siblings at camp – Matthew, Stanley and Starlyan – also felt the spiritual impact of the summer. “They were like little practitioners, even correcting my husband [who has practiced CS for 20 years] and me with true scientific thinking,” Wesina recalls. “All the children enjoyed Sunday School, but after camp, Science was theirs to keep. It had become a part of them. I was no longer making them go to church. They were now going because it was close to their own hearts.”
She’s also grateful for the other, more human benefits of their summer experience. “To see them come home and make their beds without being told – my goodness, I had arrived.”
Their Sunday School teacher, Jim, noticed a change, too. “The children in my class seem to be more outgoing, happier, better thinkers and more independent thinkers since their camp experiences,” Jim says. And, he adds, unlike the trepidation they felt last year prior to camp, “they are all looking forward with eager anticipation to attending again this year.”
As Wesina considered camp for her children, she says she wasn’t sure how her family could cover the fees. “I remember praying and knowing that Love is the provider of all opportunities, and that my children could never be deprived of a life-changing experience,” she says. “In the end, camperships made a world of a difference and changed the dynamic of my family forever.
“I told all of my children that I couldn’t imagine how different my life would have been had I had exposure to the beautiful Truth of Christian Science,” Wesina says. “So for them to have this time at camp was truly a gift.”
Program: A/U Ranches camper
School year: Junior at Principia Upper School
Interests: Football, wrestling, track, acting
About the A/U Ranches
The A/U Ranches, located in Buena Vista, Colorado, are a cornerstone of our programming. The supportive and inspiring atmosphere cultivates confidence and develops moral courage for Christian Science youth, adults and families. Activities are offered year-round, including a community outreach program, 100 Elk Outdoor Center, which serves those of all faiths and economic diversity.
Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches
Our experiences change lives. At the A/U Ranches you’ll find a Christian Science atmosphere with staff dedicated to helping you see the role God plays in your life. Each program and activity is designed to help you break through limitations, reach your goals, and see God in action.