421 Words About the Beauty of Camp Westminster #PCUSA

Friendship bracelets. 


Canoes gliding on the still waters of a cool, clear, lake.

Singing songs around smoky campfires and roasting marshmallows. 

Soft pine needles under your feet. 

Rainy mornings in the lodge with coffee. 


Laughter everywhere. 

Putting on a swimsuit that is still just a liiiiiiiiitle wet from the day before. 

Ending each day with prayer, blessing, and song. 

Rising each morning with questions to orient yourself to the day ahead.

These are the gifts of camp. To go to camp is to return to a time and place where there is no need to monitor screen time or check calendar notifications. No need to plan your day, because it’s been planned for you already. 

I’ve spent the week at a very special camp this week: Camp Westminster just outside of Roscommon, Michigan.  Camp Westminster is a ministry of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Detroit, Michigan, and has been for nearly one hundred years. Detroit Presbytery is the Presbytery where I was ordained and married, and where Clayton and Samuel were both born. 

If you are PC(USA),  (and even if you’re not!) you should know about Camp Westminster. Most of our Presbyerian Camps are not places where you’ll find much racial/ethnic diversity. Camp Westminster is an exception in this regard. For that reason alone it stands out in ways no other Presbyterian Camp I’m aware of does. 

Another thing that makes Camp Westminster unique is that it sits on Higgins Lake which is spring-fed and clear. Sometimes you can feel really cool water bubbling up under your feet, like magic. It’s perfect for swimming, canoeing, and keeping little children safe because of how shallow it is around the shore. It’s our own little Presbyterian paradise. 

My family has been blessed to be here twice, first in 2021, when we were looking for a place to escape COVID and get outside and breathe fresh air, and then again this year, when we wanted our kids to have a full camp experience and to experience a bit of freedom.  I’ve been serving as pastor-in-residence here this week, helping with vespers and getting to know even more about this beautiful treasure. 

I’m grateful to have gotten to know the Executive Director, Adam Delezenne, and Program Director TC Anderson as well as their phenomenal counseling staff. If you’re looking for a place to send your children to camp or attend as a family, I can’t recommend Camp Westminster enough. 

Written lakeside with the sound of gentle waves crashing to the shore… 

#WritersWrite and I write almost every day. I sometimes share my thoughts publicly in this series called “500 Words or Less” This practice allows me to explore a variety of different topics in a restrained/contained way and learn what resonates with people. I wrote it, not AI. If you share, please give proper credit. © Traci Smith, 2023. All Rights Reserved.

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