The Value of a Christian Summer Camp
If you were brought up in the “Church” you understood the importance of a Summer Camp experience. There was never Summer School, Football Practice, Drivers Education or anything else that would stand in your way to be a part of the most exciting week of the summer. There are so many different summer camps offered today, but I believe that a Christian based summer camp is priceless for our students today. The SIMN provides an outstanding opportunity every summer for your students.
Here are just a few of the values:
1) Lasting Relationships: these relationships are formed with the student’s peers and also with their Leaders. We all know the importance of having Godly role models for our students in today’s world. I have watched these relationships over the years become a vital part of the student’s development.
2) Godly Identity: who a student is in Christ is the identity that we want to instill into our students at camp. Most of them will not make it into the NFL, or be the next American Idol, but at camp there is a very good chance that they will have leaders speaking positive messages of hope and who they are in Christ. They will also have the opportunity to respond to an altar call and allow their Creator to speak His identity into them.
3) Camps allow students to make daily decisions with positive peer-pressure and help them become a little more self-sufficient and independent. There is an atmosphere that is created in the week-long camp that cannot be duplicated outside the summer camp week. I have seen God use leaders supernaturally to minister to a student through very difficult situations, along with the peer-to-peer encouragement, that have changed a student’s life.
4) Camps facilitate a team comradery that prevents any negative, bullying, or non-inclusive behaviors from students. The fantastic thing about summer camps is that every child is allowed to arrive without the baggage of their everyday life. It is a new fresh start, they come with friends from their church, but are quickly reunited with friends from last year’s camp, and then make new friends from other churches. The labels that have been given to them are not attached and they have a fresh new start at camp.
5) Camps provide for students to develop physically, emotionally and spiritually all in just one week. Fresh mountain air, exercise, team building, a healthy balance between routine and free time, and the awesome camp food, not to mention the Snack Shack stocked with deliciousness. Daily opportunity for prayer, self-reflection and a safe place to ask questions and grow.
6) Camps offer students a chance to feel like they belong. All those goofy games, team chants, the gross eating challenges during the day, provide opportunities for students to be a part of a bigger community of believers. Many of our students don’t see the bigger picture, that it’s not just about their church or student ministry, but there is a big Christian Community that they belong to.
7) Finally, camps can offer children a better sense of their culture. We hear the word culture a lot today, but if our students only reside in local church, they will never understand the culture of Christianity. As students and leaders unplug from their daily routines and are stretched out of their comfort zones, maybe they will understand themselves a bit more as they learn about others. Providing our students opportunities to have a life changing week at camp my help they become more resilient to make good decisions throughout their lives.