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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Camp Fosters Faith

A phone call came in to my office the other day. A parent was looking for a specific program for her child- a program that our ministry doesn’t offer this summer. We have quite a few Camps nearby, actually- six to be exact. One of the other Camps has a program I thought would be perfect for this child, so I directed her to a different outdoor ministry in our area.

She seemed surprised.

“Aren’t you… competitors?” she asked me.

Well, yes. But also no.

I believe in Bible Camp. Not just the Camp where I work, but in outdoor ministry in general. I think that Camp can be the single most inspiring experience of a child’s faith life. Camp fosters faith.

I grew up in a Christian home. We had nightly devotionals around the dinner table, I went to youth groups, and we attended church as a family every Sunday. I knew about Jesus and walking in faith. It wasn’t until Camp, though, that my faith became personal.
One of the foundations of faith is trust. And it takes a lot of trust for a child to come to a Camp. Camp can be a scary experience, a seemingly huge risk.

Camp requires a child to develop (or grow in) independence. Without parents to reassure and provide security, a child has to trust in their counselor, their peers, and ultimately, in God.

It’s at Camp where a child has the opportunity to take their faith, one that may have been very much nurtured by loving parents, and truly own it. Stepping out into a new environment without the security of the familiar requires a kid to stand on his own two feet, to figuratively say to the world, “This is me- this is who I am and what I believe.”

Bible Camp is a safe place to do that.

Camp is a place that encourages honesty and openness. A kid can express himself within this culture of fun, of acceptance, and of unity found through faith- and great things happen in these circumstances.

I want kids to go to Camp- here or somewhere else. I believe in Camp- I’ve seen transformation because of Camp in the life of a child, in the life of a family.

So yeah, while my Camp is technically in competition with other ministries in the area… we don’t act like it. We’re in this together. We believe that Camp is important in the spiritual life of a kid, and we have the same mission. Helping children to grow in faith is our business. 

For more posts about Summer Camp:
Summer Camp and Dietary Needs: some tips for children with food allergies or sensitivities
Helping Your Child Get the Most out of Camp

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