“At Shrine Mont Camps, we grow relationships with God.”
Shrine Mont Camps is a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia—it takes places at Shrine Mont Camp and Conference Center in Orkney Springs, VA, where the Diocese’s Cathedral is located. Nightly Episcopal worship takes place at the Cathedral Shrine of the Transfiguration, among other locations, and is planned and implemented primarily by campers themselves (other than Eucharist, a.k.a. communion, which is led by a priest). This isn’t the only way we connect with God though—we spend much time outdoors in God’s creation, as well as striving to see God’s image in the faces of everyone we meet at camp.
“We grow relationships with others.”
We understand that interpersonal relationships are key to our community both at and beyond our summer together. We emphasize honest and kind communication, we work to establish group norms at all times, have specific and high expectations about how we treat each other, and always welcome everyone. We engage in activities that promote community-building (putting on theatrical productions, cooking together, and playing group games, for example), and build trust through promoting risk taking in safe spaces where each person’s identity is valued.
“We grow relationships with self.”
What does this mean? At camp, we guide children and youth, ages eight through rising seniors, to engage their inner voice and understand themselves better, and in turn to prepare to better understand others. We hold daily Chaplain’s Time, where campers have a chance to share and ask big life questions with our camp chaplain assigned to that session. Camp includes a variety of opportunities to try new things—whether it’s hiking North Mountain, reaching out to form relationships with new friends, or sharing honestly at a nightly “feeling check,” Shrine Mont Camps campers have a many chances to form deep understandings of themselves.
“We nourish body and spirit.”
Shrine Mont Camps has GREAT food, lovingly homemade in the conference center’s kitchens! Meals are served either cafeteria or family-style, but some camps will cook for themselves while camping as well. With notice, we can always accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences. Spiritual nourishment, of course, is also paramount to us—through the Chaplain’s Time, and worship, and all the other parts of camp—the Episcopal focus on Jesus’ love and example is always at the heart of what we do.
“We revel in God’s Kingdom and believe in adventure.”
Shrine Mont Camps is located in the northern Shenandoah Valley, on North Mountain, at the end of a road. While this might sound remote, we have all the amenities we need (latrines, running water, and home-cooked meals) and none of the technology we don’t (cell phones are left back at home when a camper comes to camp!). We hike North Mountain and the trail to Seven Springs, camp nearby (except for our Explorers the Great programs which backpack or canoe camp), and always worship outside (weather permitting).
“We believe in community, and we believe in each other.”
Shrine Mont Camps always strives to be inclusive of all. We believe everyone belongs here, and are constantly working to better invite and welcome campers and staff of all backgrounds (racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender identity, sexuality, home lives, and faiths). The Episcopal Church believes in Beloved Community, the practice of working to build a world where all are welcomed equally in love. In other words– “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” -1 John 4:7-8, New Revised Standard Version.
“We have a place for you.”
If this kind of community—this kind of adventure – this kind of growth sounds like the right fit for you and your camper, then come be a part of Shrine Mont Camps. We would love to tell you more! You can always find more information at www.shrinemontcamps.net or email Megan Nolde at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sierra Gore at email@example.com.
Content and images for this article were provided by Shrine Mont Camps.