This week’s word is Ubuntu! Ubuntu comes from an African phrase that can be translated as, “I am because you are.” We learned about where this word Ubuntu comes from. In African culture, harmony, friendliness, and community are exalted as the greatest of goods. A person who embodies Ubuntu is generous, compassionate, caring, and hospitable. “I am because you are” recognizes that no matter how hard we may try, we can never be completely independent of others. More than that, when we disrespect another person, we also disrespect ourselves.
Ubuntu is shown in 1 Corinthians 12:1-27, a passage by Paul that talks about spiritual gifts and the interconnectedness of the body of Christ. We all have different spiritual gifts, but they come from the same Spirit. As Pastor Carl Tribett said when he joined us for Closing Campfire, we all have a GPS, a God Powered Spirit, to help us navigate our journeys in life and with each other. We are baptized by this Spirit into the body of Christ. There are many parts, but one body, and the parts that are seen as least presentable and honorable are most necessary for the body to survive and thrive. When we truly live into Ubuntu, “I am because you are”, we cannot say that because we are not a specific part, we do not belong in the body, and we also cannot say that another part of the body does not belong. All are welcome and needed in the body of Christ.
Here at camp, we embody Ubuntu through our family groups. Split in family groups based on age and camp, we create communities where we are safe to share our thoughts and our experiences. We have a group to help cheer us on and encourage us when we are scared or tired. We do a lot of team building games and exercises so we can learn how to appreciate each other’s strengths and gifts. Everyone is different, but we all need each other to have a great week of camp.
We also embodied Ubuntu in a special way this past week during our Fourth Fest camp. Fourth Fest is a special camp where in addition to your family group, you also choose and participate in a club that meets every day. Our clubs this year were Horse Club, Creek Explo Club, Water Club, and Drama Club. These small groups as well became communities of support and encouragement during this week. We had another unofficial club, the Newspaper Club, which published daily newspapers for our campers. Check out this week’s news here!
As our campers head home this week, we hope they take the spirit of Ubuntu into their families, their lives, and their communities. In our deeply divided world, we need to be reminded that “I am because you are.”
Check out our end-of-week slideshow here!