LCN Article
Lessons from Adventure Camp in Banff

September / December 2016

Matthew Kidney

Lake Louise
Brooke Eby’s beautiful photo of Lake Louise, making her the girl winner of the Banff Adventure Camp 2016 photo contest

Do you want to stretch yourself and go outside of your comfort zone? Do you really want to see what you are capable of doing, both physically and mentally? If so, then Adventure Camp will be a challenge you will enjoy. This was my first year attending Adventure Camp, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. In addition to memories of breathtaking views and new friendships, I left camp with a greater sense of perseveranceappreciation and inspiration.

The perseverance of my team this year in the beautiful Canadian Rockies was inspiring. One aspect of perseverance is achieving something despite difficulties, failure or opposition. Adventure Camp will push you to your limits, and I can say that it was one of the most physically demanding things that I have done in my life! At the same time, it was one of the most rewarding. During the trip this year, there were several times that we would climb for 10 minutes and take a 2-minute break. We would go as hard as we could—pushing ourselves to the point that we thought we could not go any further. At that point, we would take a short break, regroup, say a silent prayer and then push on. Several times a day, I would ask God to give me the strength to keep moving forward. One of our days included a 13-hour hike that covered 14 miles of tough hiking that varied greatly in elevations. We were in danger of losing daylight and having to hike to our campsite in the dark. We pushed very hard the last four hours of the hike. I was in awe of my group, encouraging each other through this incredibly tough time in the trip. At times we were tired, sore, wet, cold and, in general, just plain uncomfortable, but we persevered and completed the journey.

Adventure Camp will give you a better appreciation for everything in your life. First of all, you will appreciate the things that you see in the area in which you travel. Mr. Sheldon Monson chooses these locations because they are some of the most spectacular places in the world. The towering mountains, brilliant blue lakes and crystal clear glacial rivers of Banff National Park did not disappoint! There were times along the trail that we stopped just to take in the awesome views provided by our Creator God. In addition, you will appreciate the everyday things in life that we tend to take for granted. Running water, a bed to sleep on, drinking water that doesn’t need to be filtered and shelter away from the bugs are just a few. Temporarily being away from the luxuries of modern life will help you to appreciate them so much more.

Morain Lake
A spectacular view of Moraine lake, taken by the boy winner of the Banff Adventure Camp 2016 photo contest, Jerod Loy

Adventure camp was also an inspiration. It was truly inspiring to watch the young adults in my group encourage one another and lift each other up. It wasn’t anything “major”—just simple things, like someone walking next to another person who was struggling, talking with them up the hill or giving them an encouraging word. I also witnessed our young men and women rely on God to get them through tough situations. I heard their prayers before every meal, before every Bible Study and before we crawled into our sleeping bags every night. It was inspiring to see the next generation living God’s way, and it was inspiring to be in the presence of young men and women of faith and courage. We are told that we need to be lights to this world, and the young people I had the honor of leading were inspiring to me in so many ways.

This year’s trip to Banff required perseverance, taught us all to appreciate our many blessings, and it was a reminder that we have the power to inspire others by our words of encouragement. It was a trip that I will never forget, because it was absolutely incredible in so many ways. Yes, it was extremely difficult, but so are many things in our lives. My campers came to realize, at the end of the trip, that if they could conquer a 54-mile hike while carrying 50 pounds or more of gear on their back through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, then they could conquer any of the challenges that will arise back home in their daily lives.