Submitted by: Kaleigh Benge
As our group of 30 climbed to one of the high points on Cohutta Springs Youth Camp’s (CSYC) property in Crandall, Georgia, I found it hard to believe that our three-week journey was already coming to a close. Gathered round a cross as the sun disappeared behind the neighboring hill, I listened to the most beautiful words a young person could ever speak — a personal declaration to be a disciple of Jesus Christ!
This summer CSYC offered a new camp program called DiscipleTrek. It was geared toward teens who desired to deepen their relationship with the Lord, learn about His beautiful truths, and grow their confidence in sharing the Adventist message. Summer after summer, campers dedicate and rededicate their lives to Christ. While this is good, the CSYC camp director, Rob Lang, recognized the need for a next step for young believers to become teen disciples.
In addition to the leadership staff and counselors, the DiscipleTrek program had outstanding guest presenters. Dee Casper came the second week, and Ricky and Stephanie Schwarz the third week. The campers put into practice creatively sharing truth with each other in the form of song, poetry, drama, and testimony, and participated in an outreach day to the Clarkston, Georgia, refugee community. Each day was specially designed to promote personal spiritual growth, and collaborative learning and sharing of the Adventist fundamental beliefs.
“It was so neat to be in an environment that was so positive, and geared toward growth and transformation,” says camper Emilianne Cross. “I left with a clearer picture of God’s character of love because it was made the focal point of every one of our Adventist beliefs.”
As the weeks progressed, the campers moved from the critical lessons found in Genesis, to the covenant, through the plan of salvation, and on to the Sanctuary and prophecies that all are especially privileged to know as Adventists. Camper Kevin Zapata found the studies in Revelation most inspiring and applicable to his life today.
“During our third week we studied the Three Angels’ Messages,” says Zapata. “This was most meaningful because this is why we are here — to spread this Gospel! This is the most important thing we can do.”
At the close of DiscipleTrek, the pioneer group evaluated the program, rating statements from strongly agree to disagree. The leadership staff were thrilled and humbled by the feedback. To the evaluation statement, “After my time in DiscipleTrek, I am more inclined to partner with God in sharing the Three Angels’ Messages,” 22 out of 27 agreed and strongly agreed, with the remaining five responding somewhat agree. This is a remarkable outcome.
“Each summer we see fun-loving campers become young believers,” says Lang. “Now we’re seeing them becoming teen disciples who are ready to partner with God to be remnant leaders. What could be more exciting than this?”
“I feel called to go back to Collegedale and spark a new type of Adventist,” says Camden Griggs, longtime camper. “I feel that it’s my duty to bring young adults back to the Church and teach them what God is really about.”
“DiscipleTrek was one of the best three weeks of my life,” reflects camper Lauren Gerath. “There are so many people in this world that haven’t met Him. I want God to guide and direct me to share His Word with as many people as I can.”
is the director of DiscipleTrek.
Georgia-Cumberland | October 2018