Our first year of family camp we experienced beautiful weather, a glassy lake (highly unusual for Lake Michigan) and amazing experiences for us all. Our extended family was with us and we were captivated by the sparkling starry nights and the ever changing lake. We truly knew we had found a special place. Our kids roamed freely through the grounds and we easily found them when needed. They participated in every activity possible; tennis, archery, gaga ball, box hockey, the critter race. We enjoyed the Dean’s program and Jerry felt that connecting with others in the sessions made him feel closer to God. I enjoyed being near the water, looking for rocks and experimenting in the craft shop.
We returned to Camp this year because of the location, Lake Michigan, and the quality of the experience. Everything is right at Camp Arcadia. We love that there is no need to get in the car to visit places; it’s all there, a one-stop shop. We also came back because we knew that we couldn’t NOT return. As soon as we pulled away from Camp that first year, our kids begged us to come back. Camp has become a part of who we are and we wouldn’t miss it for the world.
This year, the weather took a turn for the worse. We were on the beach when the thunderstorm rolled in. Jerry was immersed in the beauty and fury of it all – no phone ringing, no interruptions, simply the splendor of God’s creation enveloping him. I had to remind him to leave the beach before before it became dangerous. The next days were cool and windy. The lake screamed angrily in a foaming rage. Jerry took every opportunity to be outside during these days. He loved the power of God displayed in this way. While I prayed for warmer weather, I enjoyed the warmth of the fire place in the Inn, took every opportunity to spend time reading and writing in a room with a lake view and came to appreciate the beauty in the wild weather.
Arcadia is so special to me because of the awe-inspiring splendor that is Lake Michigan. Every day there was something new. Fog and stillness, soft lapping, foaming white caps, ripples reflecting pink, orange, yellow sun. For Jerry, Camp means getting away from it all, relaxation and a break from the over-scheduled life we experience at home. There is peacefulness and spiritual rest here. Our experience at Camp Arcadia continues to reinforce God in our lives, while providing a place to vacation and reconnect in His remarkable creation.
Our last day at Camp was calm and serene. The kids played and I walked down the sidewalk in front of the Assembly. I looked north to Arcadia Bluffs and south towards the Arcadia Lake marker trying to soak in the view and to impress it in my mind. I looked back to the buildings at Camp, then back to the sand grass and the calm lapping of the waves which was so different from most of the days that week. I reflected on the quiet presence of sun, sky, water, sand as I walked. There is a piece of myself here and as I prepared to leave I could feel hurt of leaving part of myself behind. I allowed the tears to wash over me knowing that the spirit of Arcadia was safely tucked in my heart.
God is present and real at Camp Arcadia. Here there is peace that surpasses understanding, the majestic splendor of nature and opportunities to hear God’s voice.
Jennifer Powell, her husband, Jerry and their three kids returned to Camp Arcadia for their second summer in 2015. Jennifer also attended the Women’s Retreat in 2014 and served as a breakout session leader in 2015.