Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect, ponder, and pray with us.  

I remember my first year going to camp. I went to Vermilion in third grade with my friend and our camp counselor was Laura Castle. I was scared the first day, no wait, the first few minutes, but then everything clicked. From that moment on, I instantly fell in love and when it came to our last day and parents were watching us perform our program, I didn't want to leave.

Consequently, I returned the following 3 summers with a different friend each time, so that I could bring a little bit of home with me, and when we would return, my friend and I would be able to share the experience with each other. All of the friends I chose to go with were perhaps "underprivileged", and they each considered this a special opportunity for them. Every one of them was infinitely grateful for being able to go, even when initially some might have not been so keen on the idea of going to "Jesus Camp." If my family didn't sponsor these kids, they most likely wouldn't have ever had the opportunity to go to camp. Even if a child does not have financial support, they can still get camperships that make sure that they can go, because something that I think VLM truly believes is that camp is for everyone in some way, and that everyone should have the same opportunity to go. I am still good friends with the first person I went with, and just the other day her and I reminisced about camp. She thanked me for bringing her and from the way she was smiling and laughing about those good times, I could tell that I had made a difference in her life.

Flash forward to today, I attended VLM's LOST (Leadership Outdoor Service and Theology) program last summer. I learned a lot about my faith and how I can strengthen my relationship with God. Even though I didn't go back to camp for the previous four years, I still felt the same sense of home and belonging. Within those blank four summers I made sure I was involved in a summer church activity to fill that need of mine. Because of camp, I have opened myself up to more opportunities to get involved in my community. I have volunteered much more, including doing a highway clean up and other environmental activities, becoming a helper with vacation bible school, joining the local missions trip, and even something as simple as being a guest pianist here at Bethesda. Camp has taught me how to use my time and talents in my daily life to help others.

Even from the first year, I knew that my ultimate goal was to become a camp counselor. This year I will be attending the Staff in Training program so that I can reach that goal. Camp has made such a prominent, positive impact on my life and others around me. And, I'm sure if you asked another kid that has been to camp would say the same thing. Please send your children to camp because if it has any effect on them remotely close to the effect it had on me, it will change their life for the better as a whole.

It's Great to be Alive in God's Great Northwoods!

-Audrey Lokken

VLM Camper
Bethesda Lutheran Church in Carlton