UMARMY is not something you can effectively explain to someone who has yet to go on a trip. It incorporates mission, music, religion, friendship, fun, games and love, into one week. But for some reason that doesn't come across to people who haven't been there yet.
I have never met a person who has gone on a trip with UMARMY and not loved it, but nobody I explain it to can quite understand the concept. The people who haven't been can't get past the idea of sleeping on an air mattress at a church that doesn't necessarily have air conditioning. They don't understand what's so good about going to two church services a day and doing work for people they haven't even met. But UMARMY is much more than it's cracked up to be.
UMARMY is about not only God. It is about helping others and making a difference in the world. UMARMY consists of the anticipation of arriving on Sunday afternoon, and the dread of leaving on Saturday morning. It is about making new friends who you would have never spoken to if you hadn't gone. It is about seeing the smile on your "client's" face when you show up to do work for them. UMARMY is the card games you play with friends after evening worship. It is getting really competitive filling out safety sheets and doing scavenger hunts. It is the sweet relief of a shower after a long day of building, doing yard work and painting. UMARMY is the songs that get stuck in your head for months. It is getting closer than you ever thought you'd be with people from your church. It is two worship services a day that can get pretty entertaining. UMARMY is amazing in every way.
Now, on a more personal note, I believe in God and I believe in Jesus Christ. I am not a religious person, but I am a believer. I am a member of the United Methodist Church, but I'm not exactly an avid church goer. The great thing about UMARMY is that it incorporates God into everything, but accepts everyone. I have friends who have gone in the past and are atheist. They went with their friends who are members of the United Methodist Church, and still really enjoyed it because there are a lot of fun activities to participate in and UMARMY really does encourage morality.
If you decide to go to UMARMY, you're in for a treat. You will never forget the smiling faces you meet, the way you feel when you make your client happy or the inside jokes that you had with your group. You will always remember how you were spiritually lifted and that it changed your life. I would know because this year was my fifth UMARMY camp and my last year qualifying as a youth participant. Every year, I am devastated leaving the host church and all my new friends. That is why I intend to stay involved in the UMARMY organization, at least through college. I have learned more about life during my time at UMARMY than I have in my entire school career, and I want to stay involved so I can be there to encourage other people to open their hearts and minds to learning and volunteering the way I did. Don't knock UMARMY until you've tried it; sign up with your local United Methodist Church today.