Camp is a mountaintop experience, a real spiritual marker in the lives of many campers who attend.
Here’s what group leaders and campers have to say about the impact of camp:
- “During my week of camp, my leader taught me how to trust in the Lord and stay faithful.”
- “At camp, I got to paint houses with my friends and got closer to God.”
- “God has shown me the importance of service and putting feet to my faith.”
- “God showed me it’s OK to be who I am.”
I worked five summers of FUGE Camps and went on to devote my career for 23 years to this ministry because I am passionate about camp ministry and what the Lord does in the lives of campers when they get out of their comfort zones and turn their attention to Him.
Here are five reasons parents should send their children to camp and why kids and teenagers should want to be part of this experience.
1. Encounter God in a personal way
Summer camp can often be a spiritually life-changing event for kids and teenagers. They experience God either for the first time or in new and different ways through Bible study, worship and many other activities. This encounter becomes a spiritual marker in their lives. A change of routine, being away from home and distractions, and having unfamiliar, godly people speak into their lives creates a unique opportunity for campers to learn and grow in their faith.
2. Build relationships
While students are at camp, away from their norm, they have the opportunity to get to know each other and their leaders better as well as to make new friends from other church groups. They may even make friends for life. They also interact with staffers who are positive role models, speaking truth into their lives and ministering to them through intentional conversations. These God-centered relationships can have a lasting impact on a child’s faith. Perhaps most importantly, kids and students build on their relationship with God at camp.
3. Be physically active and have fun
Camp schedules are usually packed with fun activities. Campers have activities to do and places to go from breakfast to bedtime. There is no chance for boredom. Camp gives them alternatives to technology and pushes them to be physically active doing activities they enjoy.
4. Develop lifelong skills
The camp setting provides a safe opportunity for children and teens to test the waters of new experiences with a lessened fear of failure or rejection. They participate in new and diverse learning experiences that help them discover new talents. Camp is irreplaceable when it comes to learning and developing social skills, as well.
5. Grow more independent
Many students are away from mom and dad for the very first time when they go to camp. While under the close care and supervision of trusted adults, they begin to learn responsibility. They become more resourceful and must navigate situations independently. This aids in their growing up and maturation.
Summer camps foster spiritual growth, personal growth and relationships in ways that are unlike any other traditional setting tailored for students. Now that you see the incredible benefits of camp, here are some next steps:
- Work with your children and student pastors or leaders to approve the trip to camp.
- As a church, provide financial support by making it part of the budget and having sponsor fundraisers.
- Encourage parents to support the decision to go to camp by sending their children.
- Clear any barriers that may try to prevent your groups from going to camp.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Kyle Cravens and originally published by Lifeway Christian Resources.
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