Reflection from a Life Teen Summer Camper 2024

Published on 16th Feb, 2024

Life Teen Summer Camp, held at St Peter’s College, Cambridge in January, was attended by 197 teenagers from parish groups around Aotearoa. Of these parishes, Palmerston North and Wellington Dioceses had 7 parish groups (Hastings, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Kapiti, Wellington South and Te Awa Kairangi) in attendance. 

Victoria Arrowsmith, a teenager who attended camp with her parish in Whanganui, shares her experiences: 

“There is truly something for everyone, whether you’re into sport, art, or sitting under a tree journaling during free time. There was the perfect balance of prayer and activity. We were so blessed to have so many wonderful speakers, especially Maggie Craig (from Life Teen in the US) who had a way of captivating our attention and drawing us closer to God.  

“I loved bonding with my parish group (Whanganui) and the Palmerston North group that joined us too; particularly through Parish kōrero and fun activities, like the low ropes and Messy Games, with shaving foam and water flying everywhere. Seeing friends I’d met from other camps was amazing too. Lastly, the Cultural Evening allowed us to represent our cultures, which was a beautiful thing to share. 

“The community feel was strong, especially during ‘Praise and Worship’, where we proclaimed our faith through music. Personally, this was a highlight, as I found a love for singing the worship songs. In the van ride back we all sang ‘Yeshua’ three times because it uplifted our spirits so much.  

“Moreover, Adoration holds special significance to me. Sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend that God loves YOU specifically out of the thousands and millions of people in the world – but having the Body of Christ presented directly in front of my face, so close and so personal, showed me that God does see me; and God’s love for me is undeniable. His love will leave you in awe. 

“I’ll go home knowing and trusting in the Real Presence of God, that we have already won. Before I came to camp, I sometimes struggled to feel the presence of God, but I realised we don’t have to feel it to know he’s there, pathing our way. The presence of God isn’t limited to only Mass but everywhere in the simple things in everyday life: in the wind and in the faces of those around us. One night during camp, two of my friends got lost trying to find their way back to the dorms. We all ended up on the field under the stars and we realised we were never lost; we were all where we were meant to be and we all have the light inside us. 

“They told us at the beginning of camp that the person you come as will not be the same person that leaves at the end of the week, and that could not have been more accurate. God is reaching for all of us, only waiting to be reached for; Life Teen Summer Camp is the beginning of a life with God, if only you say ‘Yes.'”

Victoria Arrowsmith (18) – Camper from Whanganui.

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