"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." -1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
Community - It's one of those words we use a lot around camp all year long, but especially in the summer. We use it to cover a variety of groups and contexts from a cabin of summer campers, to a group of cabins (or village), to a broader context that includes groups of volunteers, member congregations, and friends of VLM who extend beyond those parameters. Community covers a lot and is used a lot. The downfall of overuse, often times, can be that we forget the power of the word and how it is really defined. So consider this a "community" refresher. Let's start with a few of the most common definitions of community:
a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
a group of people living together in one place practicing common ownership.
a particular area or place considered together with its inhabitants.
the people of a district or country considered collectively in the context of social values and responsibilities.
denoting a worker or resource designed to serve the people of a particular area.
a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
a similarity or identity.
joint ownership or liability.
a group of interdependent organisms of different species growing or living together in a specified habitat.
As I review these definitions and pair them with the above verse from 1 Peter, I am reminded of how important and impactful our time in and our identity as a community at VLM truly is. Community at VLM can be seen in a variety of ways:
a cabin of fifth and sixth grade Trekkers spend a week living, growing and fellowshipping in a common place while building their identity as friends, campers, a chosen people who belong to God;
on a portage trail where a canoe country group works towards a common goal to complete their route to reach the next campsite, warm meal and fellowship time around the fire;
our summer staff, a group of interdependent people from different backgrounds, spend weeks living together, training in our summer program, develop a common goal and identity in the midst of their responsibilities as a part of the royal priesthood of all believers;
VLM board members and volunteers who give their time and energies to Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermilion engaging their sense of identity and "ownership" of these places that hold deep meaning and a sense of belonging.
All of these instances and more show a fuller, deeper meaning of community.
Through the VLM community, in all its forms, we are drawn into this group of people belonging to God, called into fellowship, a royal priesthood, that spreads far and wide through many years past, present, and into the future. How good it is to be in community, connected to one another and God through these special places and this unique ministry in God's great Northwoods.
Camp Vermilion Program Director