A Kairos Summer Camping Trip for 7th to 9th Grade Boys
An interview with Brian LaLonde
We had three great boys trips this summer. Our veteran trip leaders, Stan Mathay and Brian LaLonde, were joined by our Kairos Adventure Guides, CJ Peine of Minnesota, and David Ludwig of Michigan. We also had some great dad volunteers who joined us. Brian tells us of some faith adventures, three of which he refers to as answers to “pavilion prayers.”
“Our 8th grade New York canoe trip was very rainy this year,” says Brian. “It was mostly OK, because we are out on the water most of the time. However, on the final day, we usually do a steep hike and then end with a campfire and honoring of each other.
“It was pouring down rain and quite cold on the last day, so we needed to improvise. We were not going to be able to pull off the hike, so we drove into the nearest town, which was Lake Placid – the site of the 1980 Olympics, where the U.S. beat Russia in hockey! (The adults were a bit more excited about this history than the boys were.) What we needed was some sort of pavilion to have our final dinner, prayer, and honorings to wrap up the week.
“So, as we were driving into Lake Placid, we prayed our first pavilion prayer: ‘Lord, we are going into town and we need a place to spend this day.’ As soon as we pulled into town, we spotted a beautiful band pavilion. We spent part of the day there. Then, we drove to a trail head and took a short hike. We all got soaked and were quite cold.
“We returned to our campsite, knowing the site would be flooded. We drove to another small town and prayed our second pavilion prayer. We drove into town and – boom – there it was! A beautiful pavilion where we could do our whole evening. Many of the boys brought in their sleeping bags to stay warm.
“Our 9th grade trip to Wyoming was the place of the third pavilion prayer. Normally we sleep outside under the stars at Badlands National Park and it is very dry. However, the wind picked up and there was lightning.” We ran everybody back to the van about 11 PM. We did not want to set up tents because there was no grass; it was just turning to mud. We drove two more hours, and prayed another pavilion prayer. We drove into a little mountain town, looking for fairgrounds. Once again, a great pavilion was spotted at 3 AM. We all pulled out sleeping bags and slept soundly on the concrete.
“The 7th grade boys trip to Virginia did not include a pavilion prayer but the boys (and us) had faith-building experiences. One happened on the last day. We hiked two miles to a river swimming hole. It is a favorite spot for us to swim and get a bit cleaner for the ride home.
“On the hike back, one of the boys realized that he had left his knife at the swimming hole; he was crushed. He wanted us to let him walk back the two miles to get it. Well, that was out of the question, but we all prayed that the knife would be there the next day when we hiked back by that spot on our way out.
“The young man was really shaken and just could not believe it would be there. He said he wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. Turns out none of us got much sleep because it was a windy night (the kind where the gusts of wind blow the tent down in your face).
“The next morning, the boy hiked ahead with me. When we arrived, the knife was right there. This was a miracle to the young man. He was joyful and encouraged, even jumping around with joy. The rest of us were a bit dragging from the sleepless night!”
We hope that many of the 7th grade boys will return to do the 8th grade trip next year. Brian is sure the “knife story” will be one that the boys will use to increase their faith when the going gets hard.
Kairos Fellowship in North America is an outdoor camping program that forms junior high boys in strong Christian character and equips them for a mature walk the Lord. The program is designed for boys to encounter and be challenged by the beauty of God’s creation. Through these outdoor trips, boys are able to form lasting experiences and friendships with each other that are rooted in the Lord.
- Appalachian Rendezvous – Virginia – 7th grade graduates
Saturday, July 24th – Saturday, July 31, 2021
- Adirondack Adventure – Up-State New York – 8th grade graduates
Saturday, June 26th – Saturday, July 3rd, 2021
- Rocky Mountain Jamboree – Wyoming – 9th grade graduates
Dates: Tuesday, July 6th – Sunday, July 18th, 2021