I have to admit, I was a little frustrated. After doing a summer camp presentation at a local church, my wife and I had rushed back to camp because a potential cabin director was scheduled for an interview at 2:00 pm. When she didn’t show up, we began to wonder why we were wasting our time sitting in the camp office on a Sunday afternoon.
Then the answer walked in the door. A father and son had come to do some fishing. Normally they would just pay their $2 fee through the drop slot when the office is closed, but, since it was open, they came in to pay. I recognized them immediately. The father brings his three sons to camp every summer, although it was just the middle son that had come with him today for fishing. Both of them were smiling until I asked the son if he would be back for camp this summer. The boy looked at his dad nervously, and I knew something was wrong.
The father, still smiling, asked his son to go wait in the truck. Once we were alone, the father confided in me that they wouldn’t be able to send their three boys to camp this year because they were turned down for financial assistance. I was confused for a moment until he explained that, due to some unique circumstances, his family had received state funding to send them to camp in the past, but it was no longer available. He told me how he and his wife had made the painful decision to tell the boys that they simply couldn’t afford to send them to camp this summer. They’d been terribly disappointed because all three boys loved camp so much.
The hair stood up on the back of my neck as I realized why God had me sitting in the office that afternoon. I explained to this father that we have a scholarship program for families that cannot afford to pay the full cost of camp. As I explained the details, his facial expression transitioned from disappointed, to hopeful, and finally to excitement. When I told him about our supporters who provide the funding for these scholarships, thankfulness flooded over him. “This is incredible,” he said. “I had no idea.” I handed him the three applications he would need for the boys, and he headed out to his truck to tell his son the good news.
This is what makes South Mountain Christian Camp so unique. It is our firm policy that no child will ever be denied the opportunity to attend camp for financial reasons. And this is why our supporters are so important to us. It is because of their support that these moments, and the ones that will follow at camp this summer, can happen. Families are blessed, and lives are changed because of their generosity.