Youth Camp

Written by Allie Sampson
Photography by Sydnee Mela and Morgan Campbell


Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a full-circle moment—an instance where something in your life causes you to stop and realize how wildly intentional God is?  Whether it comes in a quiet moment in nature or a sudden life-changing revelation, these occurrences pull us into perspective.  They help us understand that only God can write stories as detailed and thorough as ours.

Our community is in the middle of one of these moments and it’s blowing all of us away.  We are finding ourselves back at our roots this week as we host the first youth camp we’ve done in six years.  This full-circle moment is loud and full of energy, and we are loving it.   Wednesday afternoon, 23 incredible high school students descended on the land for five days of friendship, silliness and encounters with Jesus.  Every single one of them is truly amazing and we feel the honor of being trusted with their hearts.

Youth camps are special to our entire staff because if it weren’t for youth camps, none of us would be living or working on this land.  The idea for the 18 Inch Journey school was born out of the original high school camps that Jonathan and Melissa ran at A Place for the Heart.  These first youth camps were designed to facilitate powerful moments of encounter with Jesus and empower teenagers to engage their creativity.  Throughout these summers, campers discovered the love of God and many of them heard His voice for the first time here on the land.  These powerful testimonies sparked a desire in Jonathan and Melissa to do longer camps with these students, and that dream eventually grew into the first 18 Inch Journey school in 2008.  All of our staff are 18 Inch Journey alumni who encountered Jesus on this land and decided to stay and serve Jonathan and Melissa’s vision, but none of us would be here if it weren’t for those first youth camps. 

So we find ourselves in a full-circle moment, thanking the Father for His faithfulness and intentionality.  It was the idea of youth camps that made a way for us to be here, and now, we have the privilege of hosting one ourselves.  Our hearts are full to overflowing.  This week we encourage you to ask the Father where He is crafting a full-circle moment in your life.  Ask Him to open your eyes and heart to a bigger perspective.  Ask Him to help you see what He is doing.  He is the intentional Author of your story and He is writing amazing things in your heart. 

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