Sheila experienced something amazing. When she came to camp last summer, she was quiet and withdrawn. She didn’t want to socialize with the other campers and barely spoke. But, when you put a ten-year-old in a cabin group with seven other kids; when they have a loving cabin leader who takes them hiking, swimming, and playing every day; when they eat together, pray together, and worship together; you’ve set the stage for something amazing. Sheila came out of her shell and became one of the most outgoing, fun-loving campers we had all summer. Even more important, one night she told her cabin leader, Rebekah, that she was ready to trust her life into God’s hands. They prayed together, and Sheila surrendered herself to Christ.
The Power of Camp research study identified five characteristics of Christian camps that make them effective, and we can see all five of them at play in Sheila’s story. The first is that camp is faith-centered. Sheila experienced Bible lessons and chapel services every day, but there was more to it than that. The second characteristic is that camp is a safe space. Her cabin leader, Rebekah, made sure that activities, conversations, and interactions were done safely and properly. The third aspect is that camp is relational. The relationships Sheila built over the week with her bunkmates and with Rebekah, contributed greatly to her week of camp. The fourth is that Sheila was unplugged from home. Whether Sheila’s home life is wonderful or awful, at camp she learned to think independently about her personal relationship with God. The fifth aspect is that camp is participatory. Sheila didn’t just hear about God’s love; she experienced it in every game, activity, mealtime, and prayer. All of these factors working together by the power of the Holy Spirit, enabled Sheila to have a personal encounter with God at camp.
Six hundred more kids will be heading this way soon. When they arrive for summer camp, these five aspects will be at work in every one of their lives. With faith-centeredness, safety and security, healthy relationships, unplugging from home, and participatory experiences, the stage will be set for these kids to have an unforgettable experience with the Lord.
If you would like to help make these encounters possible, you can partner with us through the donate button below. Whether you sponsor a child to attend camp, contribute toward our operating expenses, or give toward our new Multi-Purpose Building, your support opens the doors for God to do something amazing.