Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Summit Spring Break Retreat

*a blog post written by TC Shippy, Rogers Ozone Director

The Camp War Eagle students were back at it again this March for one of the most exciting parts of the CWE 365 year: Spring Break Retreat! Students from around the NWA area came together for half a week of fun, service, and fellowship, which are three of the most important parts of Ozone. High school students came out to camp and none left disappointed.

The retreat started out with a time of old and new friends getting together and being sorted into their groups for the week. The groups were chosen by the sorting hat, splitting the students into their own quirky groups, with names like “Los Recolectores de Manzanas” or the “Boxtops for Education.” They bonded with these groups over the next few days through unique camp activities, service projects, dodgeball tournaments, worship, and dance parties.
On the first and second mornings of the retreat, groups split up around camp and drove into town to serve in different projects. Some projects helped teach skills to the students, like building picnic tables. The oldest guys groups used their hands and learned skills, putting together three tables for Camp War Eagle's afterschool program to use. Other students planted trees at camp and learned how to properly plant trees of all different kinds. Another group served at the Samaritan Community Center by packing snack packs that go to students in need at NWA schools.
After the students wore themselves out with the service projects, they were ready for some fun. On Wednesday, they had “Mish-mash” rotations all around camp separated into five different activities, including fun at the low ropes course, a game of tanks and commanders (basically blind dodgeball) and creating shrinky dinks in the crafts center. Thursday afternoon held another surprise. Following another morning of service, the students participated in an intense dodgeball tournament. Everyone had a blast! They played in the enclosed archery range and where they got up close and personal with the opposing teams. The tournament culminated in a massive counselor versus kid game, and the kids won big time.

At the end of each day, the students came together for a night of worship and teaching. Grace was the theme for the retreat, focusing on the book of 1 Peter and the life of Peter in the Bible. The main focus was teaching students if we look back to what Jesus has done for us through the cross and look forward to what Jesus will do in the future, it will drive us to live a life honoring to God. They broke off into their groups, dug deeper into the Bible, talked about what they had learned, and how to apply the teaching to their everyday lives.

Like at camp, we strive to have fun in everything we do at spring break retreat. One thing that nearly every camper looks forward to are the fun dance parties, and spring break retreat was no exception. The Planet Pizza dance party was a cherry on top of one our best retreats yet. People were standing on their seats, pumping their fists, and dancing with some of the best and most fun friends they have. If you ask any of the students who attend the Ozone, they will say this retreat is the best part of their school year. We spend a long time planning and anticipating this event, and Spring Break 2016 did not disappoint. The effect and reach of this retreat ripples through youth of NWA and beyond in our service projects, spiritual growth, and the crazy fun that you can’t find anywhere else.

Monday, March 7, 2016

We love our CWE365 Volunteers!

*A blog written by Erin Wiltse, Springdale Ozone Director

There is much to say about how unique and sweet Camp War Eagle is, but something that makes CWE different than other camps is the fact that camp counselors have the ability and desire to continue their investment in the lives of campers beyond the gates. 

CWE365 allows for the mission of camp to be part of every day life.  The lifeblood of that mission is the people who choose to partner with us: Afterschool Program workers, Mentors, and Ozone leaders make up the army who link arms to reach, connect, and change NWA students and families.

This past January, the CWE365 staff joined together to honor those that are so dear to us.  The Volunteer Appreciation Dinner is an annual affair to gather, reflect, look forward together.  Through dinner, games, story-telling, fellowship, laughter and Truth, the charge became clear to all of us: Continue to look to Him, even in your good works, so that you will not be deceived in trying to earn the affection of your Heavenly Father, because He already loves you so. 

Often the trap for us happens when we gauge God’s favor in our lives based on how much (or how little) we are doing and how well (or how poor) we rate ourselves at doing those very things.  Being connected to a ministry and offering time, talent, energy, and relationship capacity, can sometimes turn you to glorify yourself instead of the very One you are serving. That was the charge for our leaders to remember and show our students: look to Christ and let Him be the one we serve and show in our lives and through CWE365.

We desire to appreciate those who are so faithful and sacrificial, and in order to do so we knew that the Gospel had to be heard.  Preaching it daily to ourselves and in our community is necessary to be able to lead well.  Celebrating all that He had done in & through us, and all He promises to continue, gave us the necessary charge to rightly move forward on mission. 

If you ever get me in a one-on-one conversation, it’s likely to bet that I will be telling stories and passionately expressing my gratitude for our volunteers and workers.  It is such a sweet thing to work and walk with such diverse & unique individuals while maintaining a unity of heart & mind that is given by the Holy Spirit Himself.

CWE365 peeps, WE LOVE YOU!!

Friday, February 26, 2016


*A post written by Molly Schmeidler, Fayetteville Ozone Director

There is something magical about seeing Camp War Eagle in the winter-time. The cabins are locked, the cove is dry, and the intercom hasn’t been used in months. Leafless trees reveal special views of Beaver Lake, normally hidden by the green foliage. Piles of timber and construction bobcats designate new projects the maintenance team is tackling. Going through the gates at camp ignites a special feeling within all of us, and we were just itching to share a winter-spin on the camp experience with our high school students!

Summit students from the NWA area were invited to break away from their typical Friday night routine at our winter Breakaway. For the second time this school year, we packed the 14-passenger vans with high school students and headed out to Camp War Eagle for an evening filled with slurping soup, throwing dodgeballs, and worship among lifelong camp friends.
The Crafts Center was rocking with Chow Hall cheers and hollers from the moment the vans pulled up. Students from the different cities familiar with one another from camp reunited with their former cabin mates, and other students made new friends.
Dodgeball displayed an element of camp difficult to explain to new parents and kids to CWE. Whether you have an athletic arm to snipe a kid diagonally across the court, or are silly and uncompetitive enough to create your own fun, games at camp allow kids to play a role in which they will thrive. Junior Fayetteville student, Katy Beth Ezell, lead her team in strategy, calling out the forward advances and retreats. At the same time Ozone Director Joe Collura caused many to cower and laugh with his fake throwing motion accompanied with a strong efforted sound.

We love all our students, and for the high schoolers particularly, we couldn’t think of a better way to show that love except to step away from the norm, have fun, and give thanks together in our favorite place. With an atmosphere of christmas lights, candles, and songs of praise, we explored the meaning of worship. We taught that worship, ascribing highest value to God, finds its fullness when done with all our being, personally and in community. The entire evening was an example of this: students giving up their normal plans, having fun with one another, learning about the new goals they have set for 2016, and capping the evening with prayer and songs. We are so proud and so thrilled about who our students are and who they are becoming, and we got to celebrate that on January 15th at Breakaway!