Inaugural Camp MSP gives middle-schoolers an opportunity to serve the community

August 17, 2012

Church: Lake Harriet UMC

District: Twin Cities

Submitted by: Eleanor Christiansen

A new service camp for fifth through seventh graders started this summer. Camp MSP (Mission, Service, Purpose), held August 14-16, welcomed 115 participants for a week of fun, learning, and service with youth from around the conference. Each day, campers gathered at the camp’s host church, Lake Harriet UMC, for fun and worship before moving out into the cities to serve.

The theme “Eyes Wide Open” challenged campers and adults to look at the world with the eyes of Christ and see their neighbors as Jesus does. These youth from twelve churches formed work teams that served at ARC Value Village, Presbyterian Homes, Walker Elder Suites, 363 days/The Sandwich Project, Mano A Mano, Prism Food Shelf, Minnehaha Food Shelf, Emma’s Place, LHUM Preschool, Minneapolis Park System, Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build, and MOSAIC. They also collected some 863 pounds of food for Joyce Food Shelf as a large group service project!

In addition to learning and serving, youth also had the opportunity to get to know other youth their age from churches around the conference. This year’s participating churches were UMC Anoka, Advent UMC (Eagan), Community UMC (Monticello), Community UMC (Columbia Heights), Coon Rapids UMC, Hamline UMC (St. Paul), Hennepin Ave UMC (Minneapolis), Lake Harriet UMC (Minneapolis), Living Spirit UMC (Minneapolis), Rosemount UMC, River Hills UMC (Burnsville), and Spirit of Hope UMC (Golden Valley).

Here's what some Camp MSP participants had to say about their week: 

“My favorite part of Camp MSP was hanging out with friends and going to the work sites.”-Bennett

“I liked doing the food drive. To help to see if people would donate food for those who don’t have food.”- Maddie

“I think my favorite part of the week was watching the kids surprise themselves in their ability to work and serve.”- Pastor Paul Baudhuin, Rosemount UMC

“It feels really really good and makes me proud of myself.”-Forrest

“I saw God in the fact that people had fun with the missions. Instead of thinking –oh this is boring, we HAVE to do this.”- Jocelyn

“I really enjoyed working at ARC this week, because I know a friend who gets helped by the people there, and that made me feel happy because I may have in some way have helped him.” -Willem

“I saw God in everybody and everything this week.  Because everybody is pitching in to make this a better place." -Mikayla

“Community UMC was thrilled to be part of the first camp MSP.  It was a perfect balance of worship, teaching, service and fun grounded in our Wesleyan tradition. This is just what we needed to spark interest in our middle schoolers and show them how meaningful and fun church can be.” – Pastor Max Richter, Community UMC (Columbia Heights)

The campers and adult leaders weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the week. Molly Lindblad, Volunteer Development Manager for Arc’s Value Village Thrift Stores & Donation Centers, placed a special call to Camp MSP to relay the Richfield center’s compliments to the speed, quality, and compassion with which our campers worked.  They asked US back for another year! Overall it was an amazing week full of fellowship and sharing God’s love with the world.

Special thanks also to the United Methodist Women of Hennepin Ave UMC who sponsored one of our service projects with a Balch Grant.

Interested in bringing a group (big or small!) from your church next year?  Watch for details at and email Eleanor Christiansen ( to be placed on our informational email list for Camp MSP 2013!  The only thing better than Camp MSP 2012 will be Camp MSP 2013 with you present!

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058