Camp Akita's Beliefs

Belief Statement

Camp Akita is owned and operated by First Community Church, located in Columbus, Ohio. First Community is affiliated with two denominations, The United Church of Christ and The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which are two of our nation's more progressive theological traditions. First Community’s Belief Statement includes the following statements in bold. Beneath each are the ways we live out those beliefs at Camp Akita.

Strive to follow the path of Jesus Christ, while recognizing other pathways to the divine.

We believe in a Loving God and recognize Christianity as one of many meaning-making systems that celebrates this compassionate Spirit. During your time at Camp Akita, you might hear stories from the Christian tradition that connect to our summer theme. You might also hear stories from Judaism, Buddhism, or other faith traditions. These stories seek to inspire us and challenge us to think about our lives in new ways. Our goal is never to convert or alienate anyone.

Encourage each person’s spiritual journey, embracing a variety of spiritual disciplines.

No matter your religion or spiritual practice, your faith is unique to you. The messages you hear at Camp Akita seek to spark inspiration, foster storytelling, and celebrate where each person stands on their spiritual journey right now.

Understand that the words we use to express our faith are to be lived out by loving and compassionate action.

Camp Akita provides space to talk about faith as well as to live it out. We practice kindness while encouraging our friends on the Alpine Tower, hospitality while sharing food in the Dining Hall, and compassion while listening to our cabin mates during Cabin Time. We hope to give you tools to continue exploring and living out your faith beyond the final day of your camp session.

Take the Bible seriously, not literally; finding more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty.

When it comes to faith, we believe there are no "right" or "wrong" answers. Everyone brings a new perspective to even the oldest stories, and our beliefs can change and grow throughout our lives. We hope Camp Akita can be a place where we wonder, ask questions, share doubts, and explore life's big questions together.

Agree to differ, unite to serve, and resolve to love.

In a divided and distracted world, we seek to be a place where we can celebrate our differences, serve one another, and love ourselves for who we are, right here and now.

Who attends Camp Akita?

Like First Community Church, Camp Akita welcomes people from all spiritual traditions, or from no tradition at all. Each summer, campers and staff from Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu traditions attend Camp Akita, as well as those who identify as none of these or a mix of traditions. We are inclusive of persons of any nation, race, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, political or philosophical outlook, or socio-economic status. We are excited to be in community together and learn from one another!

When do Campers Experience the Message?

Morning Devotions: Each morning, campers hear a counselor share an inspiring story from their life and faith on Vesper Hill.

Prayers: A staff member says a short (sometimes silly!) prayer before each meal is served.

Impact Groups Campers in 5th grade and older participate in Impact Groups, made up of nine campers and two counselors from a mix of cabins. Impact Groups play ice breaker games, engage in activities, and have discussions about our core values of compassion, acceptance, community, and authenticity through the lens of the summer camp theme. Activities are designed to widen the camp community, allow campers to form genuine relationships, and invite them to think deeply about their lives and faith without being forced to share.

Talks: All campers hear a short message or "Talk" from a senior member of the Camp Akita staff. Talks might include stories from the staff member's life, the Bible, or the wider culture. They might talk about a time they felt close to God, a lesson they learned, or the ways someone showed compassion or hope in their life. Talks are meant to invite campers to think about similar themes in their own lives and spark a conversation.

Cabin Time: Under the leadership of their counselors, campers engage in conversation each night in their cabin groups. Counselors invite campers to share stories from their own lives, as well as their thoughts on the the evening's Talk. Like Impact Groups, campers are never forced to share anything, and counselors are trained to "meet campers where they are." In other words, counselors cater the conversation to the group, their interests, and how they can build genuine community together.

Say So: Campers in 5th grade and older participate in a closing worship service where they sing songs and hear Bible verses and other readings. Then, campers are invited to share with the group about what made the week meaningful to them, what they learned, or times they felt close to God at Camp Akita. Campers are never required to share, nor are they expected to say or recite anything specific. Each Say So is special, as each session of campers share the unique thoughts on their hearts and minds.

If you have any questions regarding Camp Akita' Beliefs, please contact Rev. Sarah Kientz, Minister to Youth and Camp Akita.