Along the shores of northern Ontario’s Lake Temiskaming is 279-acre Camp Lorrain. Established in 1931, it offers quintessential camp fare, from swimming, canoeing, and campfires to arts and crafts, nature study, and hiking. Fourteen staff members care for 36 campers. There are junior, intermediate, and family camps, along with a women’s retreat and a counsellor-in-training program.
Each day the camp begins with Morning Watch. After breakfast, campers gather at Chapel Point, a piece of land jutting out onto the lake. They sing, pray, and hear stories that illustrate God’s love for them and creation. At midday, they gather for their Spirit Session. According to Administrative Director Meghan Murphy, volunteer spirit guides lead participants in Bible study, games, crafts, skits, and storytelling. The guides are “people who are strong in their faith and good role models,” says Meghan.
The guides make themselves available to respond to questions and spiritual concerns raised by campers. Sometimes this can be amusing. When told that a leader was a spirit guide, a young child asked, “Does that mean you talk to the dead?” At other times, the guides offer support for those struggling with homesickness or other personal issues.
For Meghan, Camp Lorrain provides youth with a “way to disconnect from technology and experience the beauty of nature and God’s gift to us.” This is felt especially keenly at the end of the day, when campers gather once again at Chapel Point for vespers. As the sun sets, a campfire is lit, and campers and staff alike experience the Spirit of God in nature once again.
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