Recently the youth at Riverside Church went to Daytona to experience Student Life Camp 2013. This was Sean Detwiler’s first time at “camp” in Florida. While it’s not exactly like youth camp back in Idaho, where he moved from last year, he has no complaints! Staying in a resort on the beach wasn’t even the best part. Surfing was awesome, but that wasn’t it either. Sean’s experience with God at camp took him to a whole new level in his faith.
Every morning and evening, the Riverside group of about 100 drew together with thousands of other youth to worship with Brett Younker and Chris Tomlin. Sean recalls, “The worship was amazing! Watching thousands of kids praising God was so powerful; it’s really indescribable.” He especially loved “Burning In My Soul” and “God’s Great Dance Floor.”
Louie Giglio gave a strong message every evening. Sean loves what he said about sin: “Sin doesn’t make you bad. It makes you dead, and dead is a problem.” The students learned what it really means to be given life—and to live—through Christ. At camp they didn’t have phones, iPods, TV or access to any social media. Now they have to figure out how to integrate back into normal life without losing their focus and priorities. “Louie Giglio told us the way to keep your ‘camp high’ is to identify the things in your life that distract you from God and eliminate them,” Sean recalls. He learned that he really does have to be purposeful in his time with God and says, “It doesn’t matter if it’s talking to God, praising Him or reading His word—I have to make it happen every day, make it the priority.”
Sean shared a room with 4 other guys and his adult leader. Ask him how a bunch of teenage guys pulled that off in a room with only 2 beds, and he slowly states, “Several air mattresses.” He was really inspired by his adult leader, watching him not just believe in the power of God’s love, but putting it into action through prayer. He explains, “When Jesus fills us with Himself, the Holy Spirit fills our body with love, peace and joy...our cup overflows. We can take that and show it to others, praying for and loving on them. The power of that prayer and love can even have physical effects.” He watched his adult leader walk right up to a stranger with a knee brace on and ask if he could pray for her. She agreed and afterward said the pain was gone! His leader said, “It’s not me. It’s God’s love!” Sean says he watched him do that several times, caring for and praying for people, letting God’s love spill out of him. “It made me want that—want God to work through ME!”
Group times were fun with the students divided up into different colored teams to compete in the Camp Games. Rumors have it one of the adult leaders sported his team spirit with a purple beard all week! There were also group discussions, prayer and times of deep sharing. Sean loved getting real and really drawing close to his friends and leaders. He loved drawing closer to God, and He can’t wait until next year!
Praise God for the resources and leaders that made this year’s camp possible. Praise God for working in a powerful way at Student Life Camp, pouring out His Holy Spirit, changing lives, and drawing our kids closer to Him.