Listen; My Camp Arcadia Experience by Alayna Kersten

ListenAlpha Teen Retreat-0158 (Large)

Have you ever just sat and listened to the world around you? Listened to the birds chirping outside on a hot afternoon? Listened to the cars go by on a busy street? Listened to kids as they play tag in a park? There’s something beautiful about sound.

The sound everyone thinks of when they go to Camp Arcadia is the sound of the waves crashing onto the shores of the breathtaking Lake Michigan. It is beautiful.

The first time I ever came to Camp Arcadia was after eighth grade, where I attended the Alpha Retreat (and then the next three Omega Retreats because after one week, I could not wait to go back!). This past summer, I was privileged to be able to go back to Camp Arcadia and serve on staff.

Camp Arcadia is the place where I listen the most.

Camp is where I listen to bonfires crackling right next to the water crashing onto the shore. To kids playing in the sand. To the morning announcements and Reveille early in the morning. It is where I listen to families laughing and telling stories with one another. Where I listen to chief shakes being slurped in the Trading Post. To the bell ringing to tell us it’s time to eat the most delicious food. It is where I listen to camp songs sung so many times I’ll never get them out of my head (Joy…J-J-J-Joy….). To the sounds of friendships forming and to staff encouraging one another. Where I listen to bad (I mean good) jokes after meals. It is where I listen to talented campers singing in the talent show. To fireworks at Arcadia Daze and the sound of staffers yelling “Order up!” meaning my ice cream is ready. It’s where I listen to the Model T beeping its horn. To the sweet sound of an acoustic guitar playing Christian music at the chapel or at Vespers. It’s where I listen to the dean speak God’s Word at morning program. But most of all, it’s where I hear God’s tender whisper to just relax, to love, and to forget about the world for a little.

I can’t really express how loud and evident the Lord is to me while I’m at camp. My favorite thing to do at camp is to sit on a white Adirondack swing, watch a beautiful sunset on the lake, and just listen to the Lord.

That’s why I love Camp Arcadia. That’s why it’s been such an important part of my life. It’s a place I can go and unwind, remember what’s most important, and be filled with the Lord’s presence each day.

Listening is a concept that is often ignored in day to day life. We live in a world that is telling us to go, go, go, all the time.  We are constantly moving from one thing to the next, packing just one more thing into our busy schedules, because well, who needs sleep or relaxation, right?

My time this past summer on staff was one I will never forget. I grew. I laughed (a lot). I made the best of friends. I messed up. I learned. I changed. I served. I loved and was loved. I listened.

I hope everyone gets to experience Camp Arcadia’s goodness, love, and peacefulness at one point in life. But more than anything, I hope you take time to listen. Our precious Lord is always a prayer away, wherever you are. He wants to share Himself with you! Listen for him!

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