Growing up, summer meant summer camp. It was the top summer priority. From the ages of 8-18, I was at camp every chance I could get. I would attend all events for my age every year. By high school, I was attending weekly and serving multiple times a week. I would soak up every minute of it!
At the time, all I knew was that camp was fun. It gave me opportunities to meet new friends who loved God, too. There were adults who thought I was cool. I got to buy food at the canteen. I didn’t mind getting dirty if it was part of a game. Camp food was tolerable. Staff scavenger hunts were the best. Midnight giggles were mandatory. Every night ended with a campfire, and I was able to rule on the softball field. Most importantly, though, I always left feeling closer to God.
Looking back, it was so much more than that:
- Camp provides the perfect environment in which lives can be changed. Relationships with Christ are developed and deepened. Getting away from everyday distractions and hectic routines makes it easier to concentrate on this relationship. It is the focus of every camp experience and it made a difference. At the age of 13, I was baptized in a small camp lake. At the age of 18, I decided to major in Youth Ministry while attending CIY. Camp changed the direction of my life.
- Camp provides a safe and fun environment where personal relationships can be formed. No matter how you do camp, relationships are a huge part of it. Camp is the perfect place for relationships to form and grow. Some of my best childhood friends were the people I attended camp with. Some of them attended my church and some of them attended churches throughout Nebraska. However, this circle of friends became my support group throughout junior high, high school and into college. We shared our faith and could hold each other accountable. We encouraged each other and knew we were accepted. These people are still my friends today.
- Camp provides the opportunity for additional adult voices to be heard. Adult sponsors have dedicated time to reinforce the value and worth of each camper. These sponsors share their faith, speak truth into the lives of each kid and keep the conversation going. Adult sponsors reinforce the message parents want their kids to hear – you are loved, you are valued, God wants a relationship with you, and God has a plan for you. I am so very fond of my camp sponsors, and my parents are thankful for the additional voices who poured into my life. They truly impacted who I am today.
At firstChristian, we have designed unique camp experiences with all these things in mind. We hope your child gets to be a part of it this summer! To learn more or to register, you can visit our website: fcnorfolk.org/kids or fcnorfolk.org/youth.
Keeping the conversation going,