Throughout the week of Pine Point Hope Camp, I learned a few things and was able to witness the
love of Christ in and through our interactions with the kids attending and adults helping at our first camp in Pine Point in two years.
That camp ran June 25 to 29, 2018, in partnership with the Pine Point Boys & Girls Club and First Christian Church Monmouth from Monmouth, Illinois, at Pine Point School.
To begin with, though we were both exhausted and just wanted to get to the resort so we could sleep, Hope for the First Nations Vice President Renay Jones and I had a blast driving from the airport to New Horizon Resort, where our team stayed during camp. I believe it was a great start to an awesome week, growing closer to Renay, the team from FCC Monmouth and to those from Pine Point who stepped up to help. I especially appreciated learning more about, and from, former Hope camper Donald Goodman. He shared with the group more about the Anishinaabe people and his personal experiences on and off the rez. Not only did he share with us, but he also helped out with camp, and his insight was invaluable.
We were also blessed by Kristie Yliniemi, a longtime volunteer who made lunches for the kids throughout the week. I loved getting to know her as we served the kiddos and the counselors. A few of them even stepped forward and helped serve.
To be honest, one of the things that inspired me most was the love that the team from FCC Monmouth showed towards the kiddos at camp. This was the first year the church volunteered with HFtFN, and they were understandably hesitant before we started the week, but once they met the kids, they were in love. They worked so hard during the day with the kids and then at night to prepare for the next day. They would discuss how best to help kiddos who had trouble concentrating, and when they would become distracted, they handled the situation with love, asking the kiddos what was up and treating them with respect instead of dismissing them.
One of my favorite parts of this week was the Boys & Girls Club Powwow at Pine Point School. We all learned a lot about what powwow is like, and were even invited to dance in the circle. Not only was it awesome to see the kids we had been hanging out with all week dancing with friends and family, but one of the kids won Pine Point Princess!
After we served lunch, cleaned up, and were sitting on the bleachers waiting for the last of us to be done, one of the kids from the group said, “We definitely need to come back next year, I can’t wait longer than that,” and the rest wholeheartedly agreed.
God worked in all of us that week, and it brought me such joy to see the love and enthusiasm that these hardworking teens had during their time at Pine Point.