Seven years ago, there was an idea to start a program at Camp which would run parallel with our Outdoor Education team. The program would support young leaders as they work toward their personal goals. It would encourage and challenge them spiritually and equip them with skills that would help them in any career path they chose.
The Forge Program was born and the first group of young people arrived at Camp Arnes in September of 2013. It has not been an easy process and much has been learned. Since then, we have grown, we have tried our best to follow God’s leading, we have failed and we have succeeded. There have been over 40 students in the Forge Program in the last six years and each of them has helped us shape and adapt the Program.
In June of 2018, we acknowledged that Forge was in a tough spot and needed some attention paid to both recruitment and the leadership structure. It was agreed that Forge would take a break for a year and we would not take on any new students for the year of 2019/20. This was a hard decision, but we were encouraged by support of others including other strong gap year programs that have made the same decision in the past.
It has been a humbling experience to ask for the break of this program and to be trusted with such a big responsibility. I have been focused on planning a recruitment calendar for the program as well as getting ready to hire a full time Forge Program Coordinator. We are also in the middle of our major renovation of the new Forge Residence! This newly restored lakefront cottage will be a huge help to the program with ample classroom, community and eating space. We are so blessed to have the Redekopp family partner with the Forge program to make this happen.
Please keep Forge in your prayers as we build for next fall. We are accepting applications and are excited about what God has for the future of the program.
I believe that Proverbs 27:17 is true when it says, “As iron sharpens irons, so one person sharpens another.” I am committed and excited to see Forge strengthened and a new group of young people challenging each other to grow and seek the Lord.