A week away with God, friends, and nature—what more could you ask for? Chapter Camp is the retreat that will invigorate you at the end of a long semester. Still not convinced? Here are four reasons to register.
1. Connect With God
During the camp, you will have time to study Scripture, engage in prayer, and worship with InterVarsity staff and students across the region. I was a recently graduated senior during my first and last Chapter Camp. During a retreat of silence, I got the chance to reflect and be thankful for what God did in the past few years of my college education. It also allowed me to discern what God was calling me into in the new season of my life. I was at the cusp of a transition and Chapter Camp gave me the opportunity to prepare for it .
These rhythms that were done in community taught me to press deeper into my relationship with God. Long-handed writings of my devotions served as altars that reminded me of who God was, and to this day, I turn to them as an account of his faithfulness.
2. Connect With Community
Live, breathe, and eat with your InterVarsity friends for five straight days. This may not sound like the most convincing pitch for introverts, but Chapter Camp taught me that I can be introverted and still connect with others. I don’t always have to be outgoing and loud every single moment of the day (or night, for that matter) in order for my community to love me. At night, when my friends and I headed back to the ladies’ dorm, we washed our tired faces in silence and wished each other good night. It’s comforting to know that you start and end each day with each other. We also got to form deeper friendships in the new people in our chapter!
You also get to make new friends with students from other chapters! I had the chance to meet students from all across southern Wisconsin because of the student of color lunch table. So step out of your comfort zone. Strike up a conversation with someone. Sit by the fireplace with them. Play Ultimate Frisbee. Take a hike around the lakeshore. The possibilities for relationships are endless! Form bonds that last through the summer and beyond.
3. Connect With Nature
Be discipled by God’s creation by watching the birds of the air, the trees of the field, and the deer that roam warily near dirt roads around the campsite. Being entrenched in nature increased my appreciation for God’s generosity and goodness, beauty and abundance.
I woke up at 6 AM every day to have some alone time (yay introverts!), and a prayer walk through the woods. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I’d groggily make my way through the trails with the sun bright and barely touching the ground. This was when I saw three deer from the corner of my eye . They stared at me for ten long seconds before hurrying away into the forest. At that moment, Habakkuk 3:17-19 rang with fresh revelation, and the prophet’s words brought forth new life. “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” That walk encouraged me to look to the Lord who provides streams of water not just for these creatures but also for me.
4. Connect With Yourself
Chapter Camp gave me the opportunity to connect with God, community, and nature, and in turn, granted me the opportunity to connect deeper with myself. At the end of our large group study of the Beatitudes in Matthew 6, we all wrote letters to our future selves. I told myself to rest more in God’s presence.
My college career was propelled by my pushing myself past the point of exhaustion. I said yes to anything and everything. This led me to go to Chapter Camp with a stubborn sore throat and a headache. This slowed me down. As someone who valued efficiency and usefulness, it was frustrating. But it was through this that I sensed the Lord’s invitation for me to reevaluate where I put my worth and it was in that space that Jesus first brought healing to my wounded sense of self.
To this day, the lessons I learned at Chapter Camp are signposts I return to when I need direction. I look back with fondness at my week in Forest Springs and remember the place where I met God in new and unexpected ways through community and nature. This experience is one you wouldn’t want to miss.
After a year or more of pandemic disruptions, many end-of-the-year InterVarsity Chapter Focus Weeks and Chapter Camps across the country resumed this past month. Read about three of these from different campuses and areas, and how they gave students fresh hope.
Deep in the Adirondack Mountains, on the shore of a scenic lake, about 100 InterVarsity students from New York and New Jersey campuses spent a week in May in the gym at Young Life’s Saranac Village camp.