USA: Recreating Ourselves through One Heart Camp
Prepared by FFWPU USA
From June 23 to July 6, the annual One Heart Camp was hosted at Camp Seely in the San Bernardino Mountains in California. One Heart Camp 2019 welcomed a total of 105 high schoolers, 33 high school team leaders, 62 middle schoolers, 24 middle school team leaders, five parent advisors, and eight core staff. The first week of camp was for high school students, and the second week was for middle school students. The entire camp program focused on education based on the Divine Principle’s “Restoration” section, and how participants can apply the Principle in their lives through lectures and bonding activities.
This year’s theme was “Recreating Ourselves.” Internal coordinators, Sarah Takhar and Gerlyn Quilates, wanted to convey this message: “Often times we aren’t as consistent in our lives of faith as we would like to be. We need to learn the process of forgiveness and God’s determination, understanding God’s grace. This allows us to feel hope and determination for the future. Who we have been in the past does not need to be who we are going forward. We can be better.”
Los Angeles Family Church Pastor, George Kazakos, delivered lectures from Monday to Friday, going over sections of the Divine Principle to emphasize the importance of restoration through indemnity in the youth’s lives and on a providential level. Through the theme of “Recreating Ourselves” and understanding God’s heart towards His children, the participants will understand how they can grow in their personal relationships with God, True Parents, and Jesus.
The first day was dedicated to sharing the main theme and building a familial connection with team members. In the evening, campers partook in a team-bonding activity where they had to illustrate their ideal community to the rest of the team. The purpose of this activity was for participants to share and find similarities of what they envision to be the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
The rest of the week focused on daily themes incorporated into lectures from Pastor Kazakos. The themes included “God’s Hope (For Me),” “Where Am I At?” “Having a Growth Mindset,” “Inheriting,” “Creating My Future,” and concluded with “Seizing the Moment.” Lectures were followed by indoor and outdoor activities designed to open participants up to being vulnerable, forgive individuals in their lives, find areas in their lives to develop further, and to encompass the spirit of heavenly competition. Each night concluded with “team time” for teams to reflect on the day and further bond with each other.
Throughout the lectures, campers learned about the principle of restoration, indemnity, empowerment, the Mission of the Messiah, and connecting all these topics to their personal lives.
Toward the end of the week, an Open Mic night was held, and an evening for participants to create a dreamboard to visually portray individual goals for the future.
On the last day, everybody left camp with high spirits after sharing reflections and testimonies for others to feel inspired to return to their communities. Several participants explained they were able to have meaningful conversations with God in their prayers.
To keep with tradition, a performance was given by In Sup Moon of the song “Journey” coupled with tearful goodbyes. According to camp staff members, this was the best year of One Heart Camp to date.