As a youth worker, I’ve been taking groups of young people from the Winton Salvation Army to Summer Peak at the Blue Mountain Adventure Centre (BMAC) for about 12 years—and they love it!
There is something special about BMAC, something that creates change in the lives of our young people.
Summer Peak is a nine-day adventure camp for teenagers run at BMAC in Raurimu. Those who attend get to do all sorts of amazing stuff in the outdoors like abseiling, caving, rafting, tramping up a mountain, rock climbing, canoeing, high ropes, etc. They gain confidence in themselves, learn to work as a team and realise just how much they can achieve. Plus there is a spiritual focus and input, which adds something extra special. And they get to meet some really cool people from all over New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga!
When you look at how Jesus taught, most of the time he was outside, so it makes sense to do as Jesus did and use creation as a tool to discover the creator and how he wants to be involved in our lives.
Summer Peak in January was great! Rebecca Smith, one of our new youth interns, and I took five young people up from Winton this year. We know that a number of our young people will leave town once they finish school—it’s part and parcel of living in a small rural town. It’s really important for us to help our young people have a strong faith of their own before they head off for work or study. And it’s just as important to do the same for those who will be staying around. Summer Peak is a great tool to help us achieve this goal.
Looking back, some really significant decisions and growth moments have happened in the lives of our young people at Peak. It’s great to see how decisions made 10 to 12 years ago still impact lives today in a really positive way.
Here’s what one Peak Adventurer had to say about her experiences this year: ‘In Peak, I had to take chances and really push myself. I had to trust God to keep me safe in the high ropes because I am totally terrified of heights. I had to trust him to give me the strength to keep on climbing to the top of Mt. Ruapehu. In one of the devotions shared by our leaders, I realised that no matter how tiny we actually are in this huge universe, Jesus knows each and every one of us and we are important to him. I’ve learnt that trusting God can lead you to do great things that you never thought you could do.’
It excites me to think about the great things that this young woman will do in her lifetime. The lessons learnt at BMAC will help her, as they have helped so many other young people who have gone in the past. Peak Adventure is a great investment in the lives of young people and their futures.
I’d recommend it to anyone!
By Darren Frazer (abridged from War Cry, 23 March 2013, p9)