After a breakout first year, a summer adventure camp for Latter-day Saints hopes to continue its journey in helping youth come to Christ, discover their divine potential, and have fun.
Outdoors for Youth (OFY) was founded in 2018 after the discontinuation of a similar program by BYU-Idaho. OFY President and Camp Director Emily Johansson, with a degree in recreational management and an employee of the defunct program, saw the void and wanted to fill it.
“We had witnessed firsthand the impact of a program built on the principles of experiential education, the power of the outdoors, and adventure,” Johansson and her team shared. “These principles are so effective but rarely used to teach the Gospel, thus OFY was born.”
“I have been counting down the days to when I get to go back to OFY since the day I left!” said staff leader McCall Smith.” I can’t wait to see returning campers again and to get to know new ones! We’ve got a bunch of awesome new staff members and we’re prepping for an awesome summer! We have a new rock wall and low ropes course elements that we are really excited about. And we’ve been working to install outdoor showers, add additional padding to the slip n’ slide and redo our kitchen.”
“Who knew it was possible to feel the Spirit while jumping off a twenty-foot telephone pole while scared out of your mind, or river rafting?” said Lizzy. “I’ve always felt the spirit strongest when I’m up in the mountains which is one of the reasons I love this program.”
“The impact that OFY had on my life was amazing,” added Sienna. “During camp, I completely forgot about the world and became so much closer to our Savior. I have never been camping before this trip and I felt safe and close to nature. I am forever grateful for my amazing counselors and their experiences. It really helped build my testimony. I felt the spirit more than I ever have before.”
One parent shared the tender story of his child struggling. “One of my sons has really struggled with choices and we’ve been very worried about him. When he returned from OFY last year, he was drastically changed. He was in a completely different mindset and was very open about his feelings and faith, which is not usual for him. He shared several experiences with me that seemed truly pivotal for him.”
The theme for 2019 is “Stay on the Trail,” inspired by Proverbs 3:6 which states, “In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” OFY will host ten sessions throughout the summer between June 10 and August 16. The camp is co-ed, with boys and girls staying in separate cabins or tents throughout the five days. Click here to learn more about registering your youth for 2019.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.