Kodiak Camp Goals
Teach the young men the importance of praying often and help them learn what to pray for. We will pray 20-30 times a day, before and after each activity and each time we stop during travel. In all of our prayers we ask for forgiveness, to be aware of the things we do wrong and give us a desire to change and ask for the spirit to be with us. All prayers are preceded by a thought given by the young men.
Help young men to feel the spirit and decide to serve a mission. Those who are wavering in their commitment to serve missions have the opportunity to feel God’s love through the love of their leaders and through the outpouring of the spirit.
Learn lessons from activities that can apply to mission life. After every activity the returned missionaries will reflect on an example from their mission and relate how the activity just completed relates to their mission experiences. For example after repelling they might relate to an experience about overcoming fear.
Teach the young men that obedience brings blessings and exact obedience brings miracles. Teach the importance of having honor and integrity which will increase their ability to feel the spirit.
The young men will feel the power of the atonement. During the one of the activities they interact with their bishop one on one and they have opportunities to confess repent and be forgiven, going through their own cleansing process. (See the Nephite/Lamanite war activity used the first morning)
Provide a spiritual (mountain top) experience based on a discussion about mentors. Each Young Man is invited to stand and talk about their biggest mentor (Someone they love) and give them chance to express how they feel about them.
Provide a spiritual (mountain top) experience based how the Spirit communicates differently with each person. Help the young men to understand that each one will feel the Spirit in different ways, and lead a group discussion about how each of us might feel spirit, which allows them to understand we all feel the spirit in different ways.
Teach them how to pray in their heart during a meeting. During a meeting there can be both a physical and spiritual interaction. The second or spiritual meeting is what our spirits are communicating and feeling. If we are in tune we can receive answers to prayers. Teach them the different ways they can receive revelation. The goal is to allow them to receive a singular spiritual experience through prayer that the Lord wants them to serve a mission.
Teach the boys the importance of Armoring up every morning through the use of individual prayer and scripture study. Send them home with a commitment to Armor up every morning and remind them to be obedient as they continue to prepare for their missions.
Prepare young men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and enter the Temple. Send them home with a commitment to Armor up every morning and remind them to be obedient as they continue to prepare for their missions.
Success factors for Kodiak Camp
Christ like Love from the leaders.
The biggest reason Kodiak camp is so successful is the love shown by the leaders to the young men. The leaders of the camp serve selflessly because they really care about the young men. For example: months before the camp, the leaders of the camp come and observe the Priest Quorums so they can get to know the boys. By the end of the first day of camp they know all the boys by name and a little about their back ground and testimony.
Ward Leaders Connected with young men
The camp is very successful at getting ward advisers and bishops connected with their young men. By wrapping high adventure activities in spiritual lessons and by removing barriers to feel the spirit, and by providing deeply spiritual settings in the evening a strong bond is built between the Leaders and their young men on many levels. It is important that this relationship is nurtured and continue after the camp.
Quorum becomes a true brotherhood
The Quorum for each ward is the unit for the camp. They do everything together as a ward. They travel together, they camp together, eat together, and they participate in activities together. Some smaller wards may be combined. The young men support each other in difficult activates like repelling, rafting and shooting. They also study and learn and grow together.
Young men may feel disconnected with the Adult Leaders
This is in large part mitigated by the recently returned missionaries doing the reflections and mentoring the young men.
Feel the Holy Ghost by Removing Barriers
The camp is very successful at helping the young men feel the spirit and recognize the spirit. This is accomplishing through a methodical peeling away of the layers a young man has until the spirit can reach the tenderest parts of their hearts.
The first barrier addressed is some of them don’t feel a desire to even be at the camp. So the first night includes a fun show activity to get them to relax and have a little fun. This is in the form of entertainment led by the leaders utilizing their talents (Gallagher Sledge-O-Matic, 97 ways to start a fire – including using a watermelon as a battery, etc)
The second barrier addresses starting the day off right through individual prayer and scripture study and companion prayer and scripture study.
Recognize need to Change
The third barrier addressed recognition of things we need to change. Through the Nephite Laminate war games several spirit blockers are role played. Items of obedience to earn a Nephite sword may include: completing individual and companionship study that morning, leaving cell phone behind or powered off as asked, having desires to go home, not having hard feelings, listening to appropriate music, others as prompted by the spirit.
Confess and Repent
The forth barrier addressed is confession and repentance. After each round of battle those who selected themselves as not worthy of a Nephite sword line up to have a private confession with their own bishop (this is why it is so important for the bishop to attend). Often once the pattern of seeing the bishop and confessing is established it becomes useful for follow-up on more serious matters.
Praying often for the Spirit
The fifth barrier addressed is always remembering God and asking for forgiveness for our short comings so that we can have His Spirit to be with us. The conducting Priest invites a one person to give a 1 minute thought and another to give a prayer every time we assemble, at the start and end of an activity, before we leave and after we arrive at a destination. This encourages the young men to think of spiritual lessons and relate them to each activity because they may be called upon to share a thought at any time. The insights and spiritual connections these young men come up with are impressive.
Humility and Gratitude
The sixth barrier addressed relates to acknowledging the mentors in our lives and what qualities that person has that help them have a meaningful impact on us. On the second night, one of the leaders who has memorized the names of all the young men and gotten to know them leads a session. As prompted by the spirit and by looking into the eyes of each young man
Recognize the manifestation of Spirit
The seventh barrier addressed relates to how we identifying feelings from the Holy Ghost. Each person feels the spirit in a different way. The scriptures mention a burning in your bosom, but not everyone feels the spirit like that. Some young men think they have never felt the spirit because they have not felt a burning in their bosom. So the third night includes a spiritual meeting with a discussion about how different people in the room are feeling the spirit and identifying others in the room that feel the spirit the same way as they do. This is a real eye opener for many and helps them to identify and recognize how they feel the spirit with confidence.
Disunity within the Quorum
The eight barrier addressed relates to unity and respect for others. Regardless of how much love young men feel from their leaders, if there is disunity among them it will make it quite difficult for them to open up and feel vulnerable in front of each other.