Community Place+ is rooted in the Camping Community Experience, an experience that began approximately 50 years ago. It is a concept refined in the last 8 years, for camp to become a Life Experience and not just an event.
Camp is where Community Place+ all began. Community of Christ has strong camping and retreat programs, which are important keystones of the lives of those who attend. For a week or so each year, people gather at campgrounds around the world to live in close-knit, intentional, spiritual communities. These weeks are so meaningful and significant in the growth of the community members, it seemed ridiculous to be sharing in that kind of deep community love only once a year. In an effort to spread the experience throughout the rest of the year, creating opportunities for people to share in that kind of intentional community, the core leadership team, who were serving as the director team for the Canada East Sr High Camp Community at the time, developed Community Place+.
Our camping model derived from a desire to retain the membership of those who grew to old to come as campers to the camp (18+), but were not yet old enough to serve as staff (21). Previously, many of these individuals lost touch with their camp community and simply did not come back because they no longer had that strong tie taking a priority in their life. By implementing a Leader in Training Program, we were able to allow those individuals to keep coming to camp and take on leadership responsibility in order to continue to grow within the community, and also give back to the community that helped them grow. 18-21 year olds participate as support staff members in our camp communities and receive leadership training classes throughout the week to help them take the theory and knowledge they learn and apply it in real-life, practical settings.
Our camp community programs are still the key experiences that we encourage everyone to be a part of. It is a week of rejuvenation, remembering, connection, and fun that energizes our community for the next year ahead. We gather together to become a stronger community throughout the year.