Monday, June 4, 2018

Why I Love Summer Camp

Whenever I’m talking with people about Summer Camp (SC) I often refer to it a spiritual greenhouse for our students. I tell them it is a wonderful time and there are very few things like it that are so beneficial for our youth. Here are ____ of the main reasons why I feel this way…
1). It takes the kids away from their normal routine and comfortable environment. – If you’re like me you know you tend to get your life and schedule into ruts. SC helps our kids, early on in the Summer get out of those habits and help them start setting new ones to carry them through Summer. Some of these may include, regular time with the Lord in His Word and prayer, or fellowship with other believers.
2). It disconnects kids from the social influences around them. – Whether friends or social media we intentionally have rather strict phone use policies to allow the kids to be influenced during the week by people, messages, and beliefs that are valuable and life altering.
3). It allows the student to make friends with other people from the church. – Because the only people you have to hang out with at camp are folks from church it forces kids to step out of their comfort zone and be more connected with that Christian peer group.
4). It allows the kids to get to know their leaders better. – This has multiple parts to it. First, our SG leaders from youth group try to come be a part of the camp experience with the kids. This is often at great sacrifice of their own vacation days from work and sleep, yet they love our kids enough to invest their lives into them. Second, our BFC Senior Pastors also give up a portion if not all that week when they could be prepping their Sunday sermons and shepherding others in the church to come speak to our kids and then hang out with them talking and having fun.’
5). It intensely confronts them with God and how they’re living in light of who He is. – Having 2 teaching sessions a day, 2 SG meetings a day, and hundreds of conversations with leaders and peers throughout the week during games, free time, and over food, all about God and their spiritual life is hard to not have an effect and impact on a student. Kids have every opportunity to leave camp challenged to love God and live for Him.
6). SC is not seen as an end in itself. – We do not see SC as a time for a “spiritual/emotional high” that will then die back to the old way a student was living when they return home. Our youth leaders very intentionally connect with our students in the weeks following SC to ask how they’re doing at living out the commitments they made at camp, to encourage and equip them in living those desires out, and to challenge them toward doing so if they have lost them as a focus. 

Just like a plant that becomes healthy in a green house is then transported into the real world to grow, thrive, and be a benefit to others around it, we also seek to have our kids transition back into the realities of life having been grown and strengthened during camp while also being helped afterwards.
If you are a parents, grandparent, or have any connection with our youth kids, I would encourage you to help them with that process as well! Ask them what the Lord taught them while at SC. Ask how they are seeking to apply it into their lives now. Pray with them for God’s help to enable to carry out the commitments they made while at SC.

Those a just a few reasons / thoughts for why I love SC. What are some reasons you have?

Phil Smith