Youth pastors in Elkhart County, Ind., will pilot a curriculum for a weeklong Youth Creation Care Summit in 2020. The idea for the camp came from Ben Bouwman, a pastor at Walnut Hill Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind., who had a vision for engaging youth locally on alternate years between Mennonite conventions.
Ben envisioned a learning and service trip that would focus on nearby ecosystems and communities. He wanted the experience to foster regional relationships and develop earth stewards, as well as save carbon and money compared to service trips that required travel.
The project received a boost in the fall of 2018 when two seminary students, Rianna and Benni Isaak-Krauss, created curriculum for the week. The Isaak-Krausses were participating in the Sustainability Leadership Semester at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College at the time and chose this project to fulfill a course requirement. The semester at Merry Lea is an option for students at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary who want to integrate care for the earth with their faith.
Rianna and Benni are willing to share their curriculum with the broader church. While it was written with a particular location in mind, other youth leaders will find creative ideas they can adapt and a solid biblical and theological framework to support a camp in their region.