Overview | Project Manitoqua

A few years ago we published two articles talking about the benefits of backpacking through our summer program, Project Manitoqua. As we reflect on these words we noticed that they are just as relevant, insightful, and impactful as they were three years ago. As come to the end of the first week of registration we wanted to highlight this amazing summer program for campers. This is a priceless opportunity that you need to take advantage of because of its opportunity to interact with other camps, staff, and God Almighty. 

Download the brochure | check out the pricing | Program #42M 

The Impetus for Backpacking 

God glorifying. Exquisite scenery. Intense community. Physically/emotionally/spiritually challenging. These words describe many reasons why campers should come on our backpacking trip. While in the Red River Gorge, you will experience just how beautiful God’s creation is. You won’t just pass by this amazing area in the car, rather you will get up close and personal navigating the most thrilling parts of this National Forest.

2016 Project Manitoqua 4Acts 2:42 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” On the trails you have two options when it comes to communication: talk with God or talk with the other campers. I have found during trips like these, my prayer life becomes richer, as I don’t have anything distracting me from time with the Lord. I have also found that I find out more about the other people I am hiking with. I am finding out more than what their favorite color or movie is – I am finding out why they believe and think what they do. The conversations that are had on the trails are often the priceless memories that you will take home with you.

2016 Project Manitoqua 5While the summer time is often viewed as three months away from “learning”, this trip will prove to be anything but that. You will learn something about God, yourself, others, creation, and the tips and tricks to backpacking. You will learn how you handle extreme situations, whether that is the weather, hunger, frustration with other campers, or just wanting to stop and enjoy the scenery. For me, this would be a large impetus into learning who you truly are and how God has wired you.

The struggles, the quiet times, the beautiful scenery – they all change me. And that change, that growth, drives me to want to continue taking trips like this.

- written by Meg Sinisi (program coordinator 2011-2014)


2016 Project Manitoqua 7We are available and plugged in no matter where we go. This should not be a new fact. You found this article through our website, which came to you in an email, twitter, or Facebook. Being “plugged in” and accessible on the internet is not a bad thing, it can often be a blessing.

However, a typical teenager could potentially have the following check-list when leaving the house. Phone? Check. Wallet? Check (even though there isn’t much in there). Watch? Check. iPod? Check. Kindle? As you finish your current paragraph…Check. Headphones? What? I can’t hear you! Oh…Check! Computer? Check. Camera? Smile! Check. Update Facebook before you leave to let people know where you’re going and who you will be with? Check.  Instragram my #breakfast? #check.

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forest. As we unload our gear, I am looking at the trees and the trails thinking how they will become my home for the next five days. I am thinking about what I will experience, what sites will I see, what animals will we come across? However, I am more excited to disconnect from the business of life for a while and spend time engaging with God as I lead a team of students hiking.

You can leave just about all of that behind when you go backpacking. A camera will suffice to try and capture the beauty of God’s creation. The best part of the trip for me is arriving at the 

When I come out of the woods the site of the van becomes bittersweet. While I am excited to get home, shower, and have a greasy hamburger – I am sad with what I have to leave behind. I am sad that I am leaving a place where I don’t have to respond to every phone/radio call. I don’t have to rush from one thing to the next. I don’t have “things” that I can use for a bad excuse not to sit before the Lord.

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However, it is through this time that I am refueled, replenished, and refocused on what God has called me to. 

My hope is the passion that I have and the growth that I experience while disconnecting can be a shared experience with campers. I would encourage you to consider taking on the challenge of “unplugging” for just one week…you won’t regret itI am blessed to have just led a team through the forest and “living off the land” (or whatever we hiked in). I am blessed to point out God’s creation and lead campers in God’s word. I am blessed to make much of the Gospel in a unique way compared to the other 51 weeks out of the year.

- written by Matt Priebe (Outdoor Education Coordinator & Trail Guide)

A Typcial Day of Backpacking

 Time  What's Happening?  Description
 8:00am  Breakfast  A morning meal will be prepared by campers and staff. After breakfast, all will prep for the hike.
 9:00am  Hiking  Hiking, navigating trails & maps, building friendships, lunch, and resting in/exploring God’s creation takes place during this time.
 5:00pm  Setting up camp  When the hiking day is done, campers will build a fire, put up tents, dig a latrine, and purify drinking water.
 5:30pm  Dinner  An evening meal prepared by campers and staff.
 6:30pm  Camp activities  Campers will relax with journaling their day, games, or make a craft. Don’t forget the crazy campfire stories and more casual exploring of God’s creation!
 8:00pm  Devotions  A counselor will lead a discussion on God’s word, connecting His Truth with experiences on the trail.