On Thursday, September 17, right as the school bell rang, more than 100 HBA freshmen flooded out of their respective classrooms and rushed to the middle school campus to board the busses that would take them to their very first high school camp.

Held at the Pu’u Kahea Conference Center in Waianae, the camp took place over two days and two nights, allowing the freshman class to bond, worship, and enjoy a break from school.

The camp theme was “The Cross” and activities were focused on Jesus’s crucifixion. Freshman Rena Takatsuka said, “[The chapels] were intense but it was really nice getting to know what actually happened to Jesus when he was crucified.” Classmate Shanden Adriance said that the chapels “showed [him] how graphic Jesus’s crucifixion was.”

The freshmen were divided into eleven small groups—family groups—each lead by two student counselors. Family group time focused students on the different characteristics of God. Junior camp counselor Paige Oshiro said, “I loved my family group; they were willing to share and they got along pretty well.”

The camp impacted many freshmen on a spiritual level. Freshman Caily Okazaki said she learned that “[the cross] is not just a simple [thing] but something Jesus died on. [He] literally suffered and went through so much pain for us.” Takatsuka said she was reminded about “how much [Jesus] loved us in order to [be crucified] for our sins and go through all that pain.”

For many campers, this camp produced many memorable moments. Adriance said that he liked staying in the cabin and talking with his friends. Okazaki’s favorite memory was “being able to sit at the campfire with everybody and hearing everyone’s testimony.” Campus Minister Rob Lockridge remembered humorously that “there was one student counselor who could climb up a tree much better than he could climb down.”

When asked, some freshmen rated the camp an eight out of ten, with Takatsuka explaining that “it was really nice… but it was really hot and there were lots of bugs.” However, Oshiro gave it a ten out of ten, saying, “The “breakfast, lunch, and dinner were amazing, the volunteers were amazing, and the cabins weren’t bad either, all things considered.”

Lockridge noted that all in all, the camp went well because the campers ”were great.” He said, “I received many, many compliments from the out-of-state volunteers about how wonderful the students were.”

HBA has been going to Pu’u Kahea for class camps for about 35 years. The next camp on the calendar is the eighth grade class camp, which will take place from October 22 to 24.

Photography courtesy of Christina Yasutomi.