WorldSong Missions Place in Cook Springs has revamped camp for summer 2018, with more programs, more activities and more fun planned for campers of all ages.
There will still be all the activities campers love and an emphasis on missions, said camp director and Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) WorldSong missions strategist Kaley Stephens.
“We’re bringing back all our fan-favorite camper’s choices and looking at adding some new ones, including fishing,” Stephens said. “And missions will be a focus, with a different missionary every week.”
Just like always, June will be girls-only, with camps for girls grades K-12, beginning with Mom and Me camps for younger girls and Missions Adventure Camp (MAC) for older girls and teens.
July will bring the first-ever Family MAC, for boys and girls in grades K-6 and their parents or guardians. Unlike Mom and Me or Dad and Lad camps, Family MAC is wide open, allowing moms and sons, dads and daughters and even grandparents, aunts, uncles or guardians to join the fun.
The new camp is an opportunity to expand missions education to the entire family, said Candace McIntosh, executive director of Alabama WMU.
“We’re super excited about the opportunity for families to come together and experience missions together and hopefully expand that vision for the family about what they can do together to live out the Great Commission,” McIntosh said.
Stephens hopes holding Family MAC during a holiday week will make it a convenient and affordable getaway for families too.
“We’ll do some celebrating that morning (July 4) and we’ll dismiss early so everyone will have plenty of time to go to family barbecues and see the fireworks,” she said.
After Family MAC, WorldSong will have coed camps for boys and girls. New to this year’s schedule is also a Mini MAC for teen girls whose summer obligations often prevent them from attending a full week of camp.
Summer finishes with camps just for boys, including a week for boys completing grades 2–6 and a week for teen boys completing grades 7–12.
The summer ends with Lad and Dad camp for boys and their dads.
The changes to the summer schedule come in part after WorldSong had to turn away kids last year, Stephens said.
‘Bursting at the seams’
“The main thing we kept seeing was a growth in our children’s weeks,” Stephens said. “The weeks we had boys and girls, our boys’ cabins were bursting at the seams.”
Last summer, another boys’ week was added to the schedule as an experiment, and Stephens said the need was obvious.
“We didn’t want to have to say no to boys,” she said.
So when Alabama Boys Adventure Camp, coordinated by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions’ (SBOM) office of global missions, approached Alabama WMU about partnering for camps at WorldSong, moving forward with more boys camps made sense.
Larry Hyche, SBOM associate in the office of global missions, is excited about the partnership because it gives more opportunities to help kids and parents “capture and cultivate the mission that God has given all of us.”
“Our focus with discipleship and men’s ministry is to disciple dads so they’ll disciple their kids, teenagers and boys,” Hyche said. “What we’re hoping as we partner with WorldSong is that our boys are going to be exposed to much more missions — not just how to serve on an occasional trip or missions project but missional living.”
Spiritual role model
Stephens said she also is excited about campers having more opportunities to interact with spiritual role models at camp.
“I believe boys have plenty of opportunities to interact with female role models through Sunday School, but the opportunity to interact with male spiritual role models is becoming harder and harder,” she said. “The staff is really excited about having more time with the boys.”
Spiritual fellowship and mentorship is a huge component of camp, Hyche said.
“Boys will be able to see as they’re trying to live out their faith that they are not alone, that there are other boys also trying to grow in Christ,” Hyche said.
Memories are made at camp too, McIntosh said, and making memories while learning about missions — “that’s a win.”
Early-bird registration for all camps at WorldSong is now open by mail and online. Registration is first-come, first-filled and Stephens expects the camps to fill up quickly.
For more information or to register, go to www.AlabamaWMU.org/camp.