International Christian Leadership Institute

High School and Junior High Retreat at Camp Berea

By NCA News on September 16, 2013 in News

NCA’s unique approach to boosting morale: Camp Berea

For students, schools often feel more like prison then a privilege.

With sealed windows and bells dictating where and when to shuffle along a corridor, I’ll admit even I have wondered why the world felt so unreachable within those particular walls. Schooling is always a fight between knowledge and the senses to mold your attitude to agree.

No matter how many times teachers and parents explain how precious education truly is, most students will roll their eyes and wonder when they’re ever going to use their well-honed skill of balancing equations in “real life.”

NCA Students at Camp Berea

NCA Students at Camp Berea

Sometimes, we just need a good pep talk, a morale booster, a reminder of how grotesquely beautiful this high school experience really is. And at Nashua Christian Academy, that morale booster is called Camp Berea.

Our high school is extremely small in comparison with the other high schools in Nashua, which can be a weakness. But when it comes to flexibility in school events, it’s a characteristic that works greatly in our favor.

Every year, our junior high and high school – all students and available staff – venture up to Camp Berea in Hebron to spend two days enjoying one another’s company in a free, uninhibited, relaxed environment full of enjoyable things to do.

I started at Nashua Christian Academy long before junior high, so as far as Berea is concerned, I’ve had the highly amusing pleasure of watching myself and others go through the stages of maturity that develop with each year’s experience at Berea.

Mistakes that every junior high school student, including myself, simply can’t avoid include drinking far too much hot chocolate, log rolling down the infamously and ridiculously steep hill at the site, screaming and laughing a little too loudly, talking a little too fast, swimming when it’s too cold and playing carpet ball, ping-pong or another sport until you’re so exhausted you can’t function for the second day at camp.

Each and every year, I never fail to see a junior high student make at least two of those mistakes. High school students, on the other hand, make equally immature mistakes – however, with a bit of crafty flare.

We can be seen playing games such as tub tug, in which we fight to pull a small life preserver type of tube to our team’s side of a field. It sounds innocent enough, but every year I find myself shocked to see the people I least expect become ferocious beasts, dragging their tube, along with the competition, who clings to it like it’s their hope for survival.

All in all, it can be as fun to observe as participate. But things aren’t all fun and games.

At NCA, our individual relationships with God are the highest of our priorities, and that priority remains first on our trip to Berea. With two or three chapels a day, we have the chance to listen to the wisdom of those who have gone before us, to sing praises to the God who has so mightily blessed us, and to pray with and for one another.

Sheltered from bans on prayer and the Ten Commandments, we have the indescribable freedom to speak of our faith and our fears, our questions about the Bible and experiences with God openly, without judgment.

Even within our Christian environment, there will always be those who don’t participate in our more spiritual activities, but for those of us who take it seriously, Berea offers a chance to have an extended period to really ponder the important things about our lives and our relationship with God.

It’s a privilege we may not always have, so kudos to the students, teachers and chaperones who take advantage of that opportunity.

As a senior, I can look back and know that some years I took that opportunity seriously, and other years I did not. But I know that without Berea, my school year would feel a little bleaker, my relationships with other students would feel a little more strained and my spirit would be a little less full of love and passion for the coming days.

So as I look to my last year at the exceptional experience we call Camp Berea, I’d like to thank each teacher, chaperone, camp worker and administrator who made it possible for NCA pupils to attend. You have my sincerest gratitude.

This article was written by Rachael Luszey, senior at NCA. The article was also published in the Nashua Telegraph, which you can view here: