LCN Article
Our Wonderful Youth Camps!

November / December 2014

Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)

Dear Brethren and Friends, Warm greetings to all of you from Charlotte, North Carolina! Before writing this letter, I just returned a few days ago from an absolutely wonderful Living Youth Camp near Columbus, Ohio. It was—as most of you know—our major youth camp for the year, with almost 300 people attending, including campers and staff. 

 Of course, other very fine programs were carried on for the younger people, this last summer, in several “pre-teen” camps. And for older campers there was the very inspiring and challenging Adventure Camp, directed by Mr. Sheldon Monson, which this year went through quite a rugged and inspiring experience up in the beauty of Yellowstone National Park.

This year, I was privileged to visit the Ohio teen camp for its final few days, along with my son Jim and his wife Susan. At first, I had thought I would not go—since I had wanted Mr. and Mrs. Richard Ames to be able to see and experience the camp as well. And they did that, visiting during the first few days of the teen camp—adding a great deal to the campers’ understanding and enthusiasm.  Even so, both Mr. Monson and my son Jim still urged me to go, also, since I am the “old guy” who started the whole program.

So, I did go for the last few days—and I was very grateful to see the absolute wave of love, enthusiasm and joy experienced by the campers and staff this year in Ohio! Each day, the campers experienced a wide range of activities—including volleyball, flag football, softball, archery, riflery, dancing, swimming, water polo, water skiing, music and quite a number of other encouraging and enjoyable activities. Each morning, one of the ministers at the camp gave a “Christian Living Class” and explained basic principles of Christian living and leadership to the young people. In addition, after dinner, there was an activity called “Evening Reflections,” during which the campers sang and worshiped together, gave various announcements and comments, and then closed with a special talk from one of the leaders.

The very first evening after my Wednesday afternoon arrival, I was asked to give the “reflection” and was very glad to do so. Even though I had not directly “prepared” my remarks, I hope that I did inspire and encourage the young people from the heart.  After all, in another sense I have been preparing through some 62 years of full-time service in Christ’s Work, and am very glad to share everything I can with our young people while I am still able. The campers were very attentive and appreciative—and I certainly felt that God’s Spirit was working there in every aspect of the camp.

After dinner on the second day of my visit, campers and staff put on the annual “Talent Show,” which was truly inspiring and uplifting—more so than any such event I have ever attended. It is not fair to make exact comparisons, of course, since our earlier camps did not have the same number attending or the same facilities. But the absolutely wonderful—and almost “semi-professional”—performances put on by the campers this year were absolutely inspiring. I cannot begin to describe all of the performances, of course. But I want to note in particular that we had quite a number of truly top-notch performances by the Boyer family from France! They added so much—and it was obvious that they have been studying and learning music together for many, many years. We also had a fine vocal solo and other performances by Olivia Tyler from Australia—so the “Aussies” also added a great deal to the camp even here in the States! A number of Canadians were there and added a great deal to the camp as well—as did youth from Africa, Trinidad and elsewhere. The evening concluded with a wonderful piece titled “We Are Family,” performed by the entire Boyer family. It certainly was a good example to all of us as to what an entire family can do if its members work together. Special thanks for the entire musical program certainly go to Mr. Marcus McCullough, from Charlotte, who is our Music Coordinator. He does a great job of instructing, organizing and inspiring our young people in these programs, and we certainly appreciate it.Dr. Meredith riding a 4-wheeler with Sheldon Monson

Throughout the entire camp, I witnessed again and again the absolutely inspiring examples of giving and serving by many, many local brethren from nearby congregations—and even from foreign nations! A number of brethren gave whole containers of kitchen supplies and equipment, audio and filming equipment, etc., to help the camp be a complete success. Many of these men and ladies—including professional cooks and bakers and various helpers—gave of themselves freely. Some had to use up two weeks of vacation from their employers in order to come and serve these young people at this camp. It was inspiring to see this!

Truly, these dedicated volunteers saved the Work of God many thousands of dollars by their effort and their zeal. I pray God’s richest blessing will be upon all of you brethren who did this. I would like to try to mention each of you by name, but that would not be fair to the many others who gave and served whom I cannot remember and would not be able to name. Your real reward, obviously, is laid up in heaven by our great God, who can give us far more than we can give Him. I know that you know this. But I personally want to thank you very much for the outstanding service you performed this year at the camp.

It was inspiring to take part in the closing banquet and dance, which was held on the final evening of the camp. It was an enormous success. The food was delicious. The younger staff who served the meal did so with professional grace, and all the others helped make it a tremendously uplifting event.  The dance after the meal was also done very well, and there was a sense of absolute joy and “togetherness” as the camp ended.Dr. Meredith and Rob Tyler

Now, dear brethren, I must digress.  I have a shocking “secret” to tell you. At the dance, I was able to dance with my “secret girlfriend”! Please do not tell anybody about this, because some may be shocked that at age 84 I am still dancing with beautiful 17-year-old young women. It happens, however, that the beautiful young lady I was dancing with was, in fact, my great-granddaughter, Bria Martin! Our brethren in Kansas City know Bria, and will certainly appreciate knowing that she had the opportunity to help “hold me up” during the dance!

Seriously, though, I want all of you to know how much I deeply feel that these youth activities will certainly bring back to us a hundredfold—in years to come—the effort, money and prayers we put in to support them. For these young people today are our leaders of tomorrow. Throughout the Bible, we see how God encourages, by instruction and example, the training of our children and the strengthening of our youth. Remember how the Apostle Paul told Timothy—one of the most outstanding evangelists described in the Bible—“from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

Earlier in this epistle, Paul wrote, “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). So, even today, just as in Timothy’s day, our wonderful mothers and grandmothers often have a great deal of impact on training our youth—including the future leaders of this very Work! One of the greatest influences on my own Christian life, as I have explained many times in the past, was my own grandmother, who lived to be 91 years old. She taught me to love and read the Bible, even though she was not called and did not fully understand it during this life. But she helped me over and over to gain an appreciation that the Bible is, in fact, the inspired word of God! I can never thank her enough for that. And we can never thank all of you dear mothers and grandmothers and aunts and uncles and fathers and brothers as well who have given so much to our young people.

In that same epistle, Paul also instructed Timothy: “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:1–3). We must indeed become “soldiers” of Jesus Christ and be willing to drive ourselves and “endure hardship” as the Apostle Paul instructed. I am trying my very best to delegate more and more opportunities in God’s Work to the younger men around me so we may all “commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” This is our job. This is our opportunity.

Regarding this, I certainly would be remiss if I did not give a special thanks and praise for the zealous and thoughtful efforts of Mr. Sheldon Monson, Camp Director, and our entire team. Mr. Monson—as most of you know—directs all of our youth programs for the Church. He has instituted the “Adventure Camp” opportunity as well as directing the regular camp and overseeing all the others. He goes above and beyond in this service, and we thank God for this. Also, Mr. Wallace Smith—one of our outstanding TV presenters—also lends of himself to help coordinate and direct the activities at the main summer camp. He is a tremendous help and inspiration to the young people as well as to Mr. Monson. Then, our “younger” leader in this area is Mr. Jason Fritts. His enthusiasm, zeal and camaraderie with the young people is extremely helpful and inspiring to behold. So we thank God for all these ministers who lead the camp, plus several others who pitch in from time to time and assist in various important ways, plus dozens of staff members and other helpers, as I have already explained.

So, please increase your prayers and support in every way for these wonderful youth programs. We all need to become involved in every way we can and prepare these leaders of tomorrow with our personal encouragement to the young people in our congregations, our fervent prayers, and our willingness to contribute financially and in every other way we can to make these youth programs a real success. And we need to expand the types of programs we have so our young people truly feel that love, and increasingly desire to become “fully involved” in the very Work that Christ is doing through us at the end of this age. Again, thank you dear brethren who have been supporting these youth programs! And I want to especially thank all of you who came to camp and gave of your treasures, your energy, your talents and your hard work in helping this year’s Living Youth Camp become a wonderful success! May God encourage and bless you for this—as I know He will.

         With Christian love,

Roderick C Meredith signature


group photo at campcamp photo collage