This summer will be our 34th year of bringing kids from our community to Noah’s Ark.
Henri Nouwen once said, “Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.” There is great joy in kids when we bring them out to Noah’s Ark and we watch them begin to learn who they are in Christ, without the crowd (parents, sports, peers, jobs, parties, etc) and noise around that their day-to-day lives bring.
The guides are open and honest about who they were, and who they are becoming as they grow in faith. During our week of camp our kids are faced with physical, spiritual, and emotional challenges they’ve never experienced, and the atmosphere Noah’s Ark creates is one of support, encouragement, and understanding. Our kids have the time and space needed to begin to figure out who God created them to be versus the one the world has taught them to be.
Every summer, I get to watch a transformation happen in these kids that I experienced within myself at their age at Noah’s Ark. In 1997 and 1998 I went with Young Life on our Noah’s Ark trips. As a high schooler, I had my first experience in solitude. Sure, it was for short periods up in the mountains as a 17- and 18-year-old, but that is all it took for me to really step back and listen to the voice of God. The summers of 1999-2001 I had the opportunity to guide at Noah’s Ark. The community they create for adolescence is one of a kind. The friendships and mentors from those summers have lasted me a lifetime. I am, and will always be, grateful for Noah’s Ark.