Blooming … The Power of Camp

Posted by Christine Szekeres in Summer Camp on March 27, 2014

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There is a lot of talk these days about “the power of camp”. Leaders in the camping industry are writing magazine articles and blog posts, doing interviews, and sharing the staggering statistics about kids and physical recreation (or the lack thereof).

The average American youth spends…

  • 82 minutes on the phone each day
  • 27 minutes on the computer each day
  • 80 minutes playing games each day
  • and only 4 minutes playing outdoors each day

A week spent at camp…

  • is a chance to be known and loved
  • provides interactions with caring adult role models
  • is 10,080 minutes (a week’s worth) away from the normal pressures of life
  • gives opportunities to decompress, unplug, and dream

Headed into my 5th summer, I can say without a doubt, that kids change during their week at camp. Countless times I’ve watched the nervous, shy camper cling to Mom or Dad at check-in only to have that same camper, all smiles and confidence, begging for another week at parent’s program 5 days later.

At SAMBICA we watch the kids bloom … like so many colorful flowers. Under the sun (and sometimes the rain) campers try new things, make lifelong friends, and gain understanding about the love of Jesus.

There are some interesting things about SAMBICA…

  • we are turning 95 in a few months
  • we are located in the heart of a big city
  • we are 15 minutes from downtown Seattle
  • our campers play on King Dome astro turf
  • though tiny (9 acres) there are tons of amenities

However, the most interesting thing about SAMBICA is our summer team, the wonderful college students who come from across the country and around the globe to serve all across camp doing jobs including counselor, lifeguard, boat driver, mentor, program, kitchen assistant, and so much more. These 100 or so team members are the life blood of SAMBICA in the summer. They energize, encourage, and engage the kids each and every day, watching them bloom and grow.

There is a saying, a mantra of sorts, that the whole team rallies around for the entire 10-week summer: “Day one, week one!” and you will hear members of the team encouraging one another with this mantra all summer long. Every week is day one, week one at SAMBICA. I am humbled to watch our summer team pour out love and energy to the campers who call SAMBICA home each summer.

Registration is open and there are still some great camps available. We hope to see your campers blooming at SAMBICA this summer!

If you are looking for more information about The Power of Camp, the statistics shared here, or to find a camp for the summer, please visit: The Power of Camp website.

Finding the Light

Posted by Christine Szekeres in The Word on March 14, 2014

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As the sound of heavy rain and the chilling air force me to escape the comfort of my bed, my mind fills with questions and complaints: “Why is it so cold in here?! Where is the Light?! IT RAINS TOO MUCH!” With just one glance out the window, it’s obvious that the Costa Rican sunshine is long gone.

We are back at SAMBICA, getting back into the grind of things with our usual 9am meeting. As I prepare for the day, I walk by many of my groggy peers in the house and my first smile comes because of the humor I find in the horrendous hair of some of my friends. We take a long walk up the hill and enter the dining hall where the day begins. The usual updates are shared by the staff and I am just fighting to stay awake on the couch due to a low quality sleep the night before. When the meeting comes to an end, I step outside and watch the rain hit the ground for a few seconds before gathering the courage to walk back to Gillette. Still raining, still cold, still no Light. When I get back to my house I eat a quick lunch and rest before I have to show up for Camp SAM.

Today I get to be the Tech Assistant, which means I control the music and the videos from upstairs during rally time. It’s not the most exciting job, but today I don’t have much energy, so that’s not a big problem. As the music plays through the speakers, I sneak a peek outside, hoping to see a slight ray of sunlight … but all I see are “liquid sun drops” and clouds. I notice something else, however, I see Trevor, one of our beloved rowdy Camp SAM kiddos, walking up the Forum stairs toward me. He finally reaches the top and says, “Hey Axel! This is for you. I drew a 49er because I knew you liked them.’’ He then handed me a picture with a sloppy 49er logo and a stick figure football player.

In this moment, I finally see the “Light” that had been hiding all day. Here standing before me is a kid who is a HUGE Seahawks fan. Yet, just because he considers me one of his friends, he put our differences aside and drew a 49er logo FOR ME!!


This showed me that even on cloudy days, the light of CHRIST shines at SAMBICA through the relationships we have with the campers here. There is nothing better than seeing a bright shiny smile of one of our campers on a cloud day! It makes you remember that the SON is ALWAYS shining at SAMBICA.

Written by Jorge Lovato

Learning to Worship God through My Labors

Posted by Christine Szekeres in Costa Rica on March 5, 2014

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As part of our internship program, my coworkers and I at SAMBICA traveled to Costa Rica to work alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ at Campamento Roblealto. While we were there, we helped accomplish a variety of tasks, including painting benches, walls, and buildings, digging ditches, blazing trails, watering plants (which was not as easy as it sounds, considering most of the water had to be carried up a huge hill in 5-gallon buckets from the river), building dams to help work toward an irrigation system for the trees around the camp, cleaning cabins which were used during their summer camp program, sanding and staining wood pillars, and many other housekeeping and maintenance projects.

Costa Rica

On the first day that my group (group 2) had the opportunity to work at Roblealto, it became obvious to me that this place was very different from what I was used to. We gathered to find out what we would be doing for the day, and the leader of the maintenance team said, “We need four guys to take machetes and clear some trails.” Seriously?! Of course, my hand shot straight up, as did the hands of three of my good friends. David handed us all machetes, explaining that we would need to clear the branches and limbs hanging over the trails. Additionally, he gave us rakes and told us to rake the leaves and litter off the paths to make them safer. Splitting us into two groups of two, we moved to tackle opposite sides of the camp. After living in the suburbs for far too long, I was excited for the opportunity to get dirty and wander the woods! David walked us to the trail we would be clearing and set us to work.

Josh and I started working as hard and as fast as we could to get the path cleaned up. But after 30 minutes or so, David came to check on us and see how our work was coming along and told us to slow down! He explained that it didn’t matter how fast we got the job done, that it was more important for us to get the job done well and have fun along the way. He encouraged us to enjoy our work and to worship God through our labor instead of trying to rush through it all and kill ourselves in the process. The perspective of work displayed at their camp was so radically different and so incredibly refreshing throughout our time there that I even brought hints of it home! Ever since our trip, I’ve been so much more joyful in my work, because I’ve started seeing it as an opportunity to glorify God as 1 Corinthians 10:31 instructs.

Even though I ended up bedridden and sick halfway through my time in Costa Rica, I had an amazing time working alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ to extend the kingdom of God and help them fulfill their mission. It was sobering to realize that I serve the same God as they do, and our mission, no matter how many miles separate us, is the same: to make disciples of ALL nations.

Written by Tyler Watley

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