Everyone at one point or another has an experience where you are not comfortable, the surroundings are unfamiliar, the people surrounding you are not the friends and family you are usually with and you are left wondering… now what? For many children, teens and families, that is exactly the feelings when they go to a camp for the first time… I am here and now what? Almost always you can look back at those experiences and recount numerous lessons learned.
Camp is guaranteed to provide experiences where everyday life lessons will be reflected on for a lifetime. Many lessons are experienced and ingrained in the minds of the camper while at camp but often times, years later, the ideas, experiences and memories provide valuable lessons for living a completed life. Particularly in a faith focused camp, the lasting spiritual and emotional impact can be a real defining moment in the life of a young person.
If you are considering sending your child to camp or as a family you are considering a family camp experience, here are a few lessons you can’t put a price tag on:
- Faith-Defining Moments – Camps who share God’s Word publicly and provide opportunities for small group and individual study will teach the camper the importance of daily quiet-time with God and corporate worship with intentional focus on eternal impact.
- Fun – Too often than not, life can be taken too seriously. Camp is fun and reminds the camper daily that life can be fun when done in a God honoring way! Good fun and laughter will do anyone good!
- Mentorship – Every person is a composite of the people who have influenced them. Camp is a great place for positive and encouraging influence in a spiritual manner and environment.
- Trust – In a world eroded of trust, camp experiences such as on a ropes course, team challenge and many other opportunities will produce trust in one another and in friendships and leadership.
- Leadership – Learning to lead a group in cabin activities, outdoor activities and many other types of activities, campers learn the responsibility of leading others and self.
- Courage – Camp will always stretch you. The first night away from family or trying something new, the camper will learn to be courageous to try new things.
- Friendships – Surrounded by cabin mates and staff, the camper will learn to build new friendships in a safe environment focused on faith.
- Relaxation – In a culture where business is considered success, camp teaches the importance of getting away for a time of relaxation and quietness.
- Self-awareness – The experience of camp can be stretching and rewarding and often times, the camper will be made aware of strengths and weaknesses and how God has built them. What is great about camp is that the staff and program is designed to help them work through all of this and equip them for the future!
- Acceptance – Everyone wants to be accepted and loved. Camp focused on faith will exhibit the love of God and campers will learn the power of God’s love in their life and how they can love others.
- Teamwork – Group activities, sport events and cabin events supply plenty of opportunities to work as a team and understand there is no “I” in team.
Camp provides the camper with opportunities that often are only found and experienced in a camp atmosphere. Climbing a climbing tower, boating for the first time, spending quality time with another person for the purpose of mentoring, exploring in the great outdoors, spending time in God’s Word and many more experiences will all teach lessons far greater than meets the eye. These experiences will provide lessons the camper will reflect on for decades to come. Camp is an incubator for growth, spiritual maturity, self-development and commitment. Camp provides an incredible environment and intentional spiritual focus in a short period of time for a life-long, life-changing experience that no one should ever miss out on.
What lessons have you taken with you in life from camp?
A few weeks ago I was able to participate in an event (Northeast Church Leadership Conference) where the vision and planning was by two men and in particular one man who many of you know – Paul Bubar. Paul is 82 years old and I consider to be one of my hero’s and a man who has more energy then most 20 years old… He rallied staff, volunteers, Pastor’s and just about anyone he came into contact with to help with the event. However something really stood out to me as I reflect on that time in Albany, NY.
All of the work that Paul did was not about Paul, not the organization he serves (Word of Life) or the speakers. It was about meeting the needs of the people he was serving. From the start of the planning until the drive home Paul was consumed with meeting the needs and serving the attendees who came to the event.
What an example to so many, including me! Paul’s example reminded me of the following:
- Make much of Jesus, not yourself! – point people to Jesus, He is the only one who can meet needs.
- Much much about others, not yourself – serve others!
- Meet the needs of people – take your eyes of yourself and see the needs of others!
- Listen to others – so you can hear their needs.
- Build Others Up – celebrate the work of God in others.
- Tenaciousness – don’t give up and work hard.
- Serve – simply seek to serve others, and serve continually.
How are you serving to make less of you and more of Jesus and others?
Lights, camera, action… or maybe it is more like… don’t sleep, set up in the rain, move the trailer a couple of times for security reasons and from there it was a watch and see what happens! It was a really cool experience to be on the Fox and Friends show! The entire team there is awesome, the hosts were awesome and Gregg Hunter with the Christian Camp and Conference Association
did a great job painting a picture of the Power of Camp
Seeing the other camps represented, River Valley Ranch
, Character Camp
and Lake Ann Camp
and how everyone worked together is so cool! At a CCCA event I heard fellow camp director Ron Mackey
say “Even if all of our camps were full everyday there would still be many kids and families to reach” I think of that statement often as I consider the camping ministry and the fact that we are here to serve one another, so being able to represent the greater camping family was exciting.
As I reflect on the day…
- It was great to see kids having fun and our students doing what they do best – building friendships and talking to them about spiritual matters. They did awesome today – I am proud of each of you!
- It was great to see the hosts get involved – I don’t know how they do it… live TV is wild and everything is a moving piece!
- It was great to see Tommy and Carrie Sewall be able to do the segment together and our Florida Camp Karate Elective get featured! I had no idea I would be talking karate today – the original plan was for outdoor programming:) Like I said- it changes quickly.
- It was cool to have a dedicated landing microsite for this event – check it out and join the fun: www.experienceWOL.org
Today though for me was another huge reminder… as we did those segments today and over 2 million watched and thousands walked past us… our work is not done! We need to with be committed to the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ and Youth and Family Camps
is a great tool for sharing that news!
Here are a few highlights from today for me:
Tommy Sewall and I with Elisabeth Hasselbeck – Host
Tommy Sewall and I with Greg Hunter – CEO of CCCA
Video Segments on Fox and Friends – this are on their site:
Okay by now you have seen me post on social media or someone else post concerning the opportunity for Word of Life to participate with the Christian Camping and Conference Association on a segment for Fox News Channel’s show Fox and Friends Morning Show. The segment is all about the Power of Camp in the lives of a child, teenager and families. As you can imagine we are excited to be a part of this and I want to personally think Gregg and Penny Hunter of CCCA for their hard work on this.
We will be on throughout the show, but slots are planned for 7:30am and 8:30am – check your local provider for station locations.
I have no idea what to expect tomorrow – but this I do expect, God will use this someway for his Glory! I believe in camp! I believe in the Power of God to change lives and that is why we do camp! Yes, Word of Life does much more… like serving local churches with our Local Church Ministries Team
, our Bible Institute
for college students and International Ministries
serving in 70+ locations around the world, but this post is about our Youth and Family Camps.
If you have never seen the smiles on a child or families while participating in camp or the joy of seeing someone trying something new for the first time at camp or more importantly someone understanding the great news of Jesus Christ for the first time at camp – then you are missing out! It is powerful!
I love camp because you see the walls of fear, loneliness, wanting to be accepted, doubt, confusion and insecurities being torn down through the activities offered, a counselor, or staff member building a friendship and powerful meeting settings where the Word of God is shared!
- Yes – camp is fun
- Yes – there are great activities
- Yes – counselors are awesome
- Yes – Meetings are high energy and the music is incredible
- Yes – We still believe in camp for the whole family
- Yes – I am excited about tomorrows show and nervous all at the same time
- Yes – I have no idea what to expect
but the biggest YES of celebration to me…
Camp is an incredible tool that God uses to open the hearts and minds of children, teens and families to the great news of Jesus!
I look forward to sharing tomorrow with you this cool journey!