Where were you when you changed your mind about Jesus?
Our diocese’s very own Wambiri Youth Camp, in Tathra, is a place where many Camp Pelican leaders have witnessed a significant number of people turn to Christ. Wambiri is a special place to many and has been Camp Pelican’s main home for decades. Just over 40 years ago, Jim Fraser put forward a motion at the annual synod that our diocese would develop a youth camping program and call it ‘Camp Pelican’.
Wambiri was built to serve the mission of providing for our young people. However, this regular home for Camp Pelican is currently unusable due to the Tathra bushfire in 2018. Camp Pelican needs Wambiri. When Wambiri is redeveloped, we can be assured that we will have the most cost-effective and reliable home for the majority of camps held. Keeping camp costs affordable for families and Camp Pelican leaders matters greatly and a dedicated diocesan-owned facility makes this possible.
Due to generous donations given as a result of Synergy’s Sponsor a Camper Campaign, the loss of Wambiri did not hinder this proven-effective Youth Ministry for this summer. The $8912 raised enabled many children to attend and we warmly thank those who contributed. Keeping camp fees as low as possible and covering costs for some campers, who without support would not be able to attend, is a constant focus for Camp Pelican planning. It is vital that all who want to come, can come. Numerous people, including many who are now working in Christian ministries throughout our diocese and beyond, have been beneficiaries of the Camp Pelican ministry. Camp Pelican leaders are committed and active followers of Jesus. They work hard to build a fun and supportive environment in which to share their faith. Campers often comment that it is the leaders’ enthusiasm and understanding which gives them a strong sense of belonging on Camp Pelican. Connecting campers to their local Anglican church is one of the ways leaders promote ongoing faith-nurturing of young people.
This year we celebrate 40 years of Camp Pelican. How blessed we are to have passionate directors, room leaders, cooks and chaplains, year after year, who give of themselves spiritually, mentally, physically and financially. We are also blessed to have Wambiri. Nothing beats the spectacular location which is just a short walk from a lifeguard-patrolled beach. The campsite provides campers with a safe and secure setting where they have freedom to worship and plenty of space to play. Wambiri also offers the all-important qualities on site of privacy and safe storage of equipment.
Recently, I was one of a group of fortunate parents who waved goodbye to our children as they headed for Camp Pelican. As the bus drove off, we all flung our arms into the air and cheered. It was not just a natural reaction to knowing we were all relieved of our teens for a week; the thankfulness goes deeper than that. We celebrated with confidence that we were sending our children to be part of a Christian faith nurturing community. At Camp Pelican, youth hear about Jesus and learn how to follow him.
Please pray for the speedy restoration of Wambiri so that the effective ministry of Camp Pelican may continue.
by Libby Emerson-Elliott
Libby is an ex-camper at Camp Pel, a current Camp Pel mother and member of the Board of Synergy Youth.