“I think Choir Camp is where my faith is the strongest. Being around so many amazing and wonderful people has helped me grow into the person I want to be and has helped me learn to see God in new ways” states Chris, a Seaholm High School senior. Chris was one of 62 campers that attended Choir Camp this summer, which looked different than previous years due to COVID-19. “What challenged me most at Choir Camp was maintaining the social distancing guidelines. Choir Camp has always been a very warm place with a lot of great people, and it was tough not giving everyone high fives or hugs,” he stated, with the experience of being a 9-year Choir Camp veteran. He continued, “Although it was different in a lot of ways, it was still Choir Camp and very special.”
Choir Camp 2020 was held as a day camp at Birmingham First with a special trip to Camp Lael one day. Usually a full week of days and nights at Camp Lael, the campers were still able to experience many of the same activities such as chapel, rehearsals, Bible studies, recreation, and many camper’s favorite, the annual “Olympic” events. Grace, a 7th grade student at Birmingham Covington School, and Nathan, a freshman at Bloomfield Hills High School, stated that their favorite activities were the Olympics, the day at Camp Lael, and the campfire. Both admitted that it was a challenge to be socially distanced and wear masks, when usually they would not have to do that. Seaholm freshman Ethan also stated, “COVID and having to social distance from my friends was hard, but I am still so glad that Choir Camp was not cancelled completely.”
Casey Proch, Birmingham First Director of Music, states the purpose of camp is to prepare music for use in worship services, grow in our faith, and develop deep bonds with each other. Camp activities allow for campers to make new and build existing friendship with other campers of all ages. Many campers, like Nathan and Ashley, a Seaholm 10th grade student, enjoy the chance to be with students of all ages. Ashley shared, “It is one of the best things I’ve ever participated in. You come together with amazing people and do awesome things in the process. We have chances to get together with every age group through the Olympics and the camper vs. counselor dodgeball game. You create the strongest and most valuable relationships at Choir Camp.”
Chapel and Bible study are also an important part of each day. “We do a lot of singing and learn about Jesus in fun ways,” Ethan shares.
Grace adds, “Choir Camp affects my faith in many ways. It helps me learn more about God and what God did to help others and the community. Bible study helps me grow as a disciple because it teaches me to think deeper about Jesus and God.”
Ashley, who has attended camp for 7 years, explained, “I watched my brother go to Choir Camp years before I could go, and I finally got to go.” Her favorite part of camp was that it was held at all, since she enjoyed being back together with her church family. “There is so much hustle and bustle in our lives, sometimes God gets pushed down on the list of priorities. But the second I get to camp, I feel so calm and relieved. A whole week to just live in the moment and feel God. I feel the most connected to God when everyone is in the chapel or at campfire and we are all singing songs together. Camp helps me take time and slow down to appreciate the little things in my life.”
This was Nathan’s first time attending Choir Camp and he said, “It strengthens my desire to stay in choir and be active in the church. The entire experience was amazing. I could not believe how fast the days went.”
This year’s theme was Everyday Heroes and campers looked at the story of Moses to learn how God uses everyday people to do great things. They did not have to look far to see 20 everyday heroes in the form of volunteers. A gigantic “Thank You” to all the volunteers who helped organize and run this beloved annual youth activity that campers described as:
“A blast, an awesome experience!”
“…one of the most special places on earth. You will never find a more welcoming or loving place to simply be yourself and grow in your faith.”
“You won’t feel left out. All the people at Choir Camp will invite you no matter what. Choir camp is so much fun!”
“A super fun experience.”
Not only did the campers have a great time, they were very thankful that camp was held even in the midst of a tough time. As Grace declared, “Even though things might be different, we just need to try our best and have fun in any circumstances.”
And Ashley reminded us “that a pandemic can’t stop us from being together. Our little choir family bond is too strong.”
Thank you to all who contribute so generously to the church to allow us to gather, nurture and equip our youth as disciples of Jesus Christ for ministry and mission in the world.