I’ve began my journey with Kids’ Camps when I was 15 years old as a cabin leader for a bunch of Grade 2 kids. If you’ve never had to talk a kid out of being homesick, then you are missing out! Over the years I’ve been a cabin leader, activities coordinator, program director, assistant camp director, camp director, camp speaker… I’ve even written a couple of camp curriculums (Amazing Race and Faith Factor).
I love camp! Even Seth Godin loves camp!
I know that everyone has their opinions on whether or not to do camps. I think that camp can be a very important part in the spiritual journey of a child. There’s just something about creating an environment that is centered around a child discovering and encountering God through various activities, games and worship times that is removed from everyday life for a period of time where God decides to show up and uniquely touch the life of kids. I’ve heard story upon story over the years of kids who have taken that step to follow Christ while at camp or heard God’s call on their lives to change their world or understood for the first time that they are wonderful, unique, and loved by the creator of the universe.
Can these experiences happen outside of a camp setting? I’m sure they can, but there is something about camp that can’t be duplicated anywhere else. Seth Godin touched a little on it in his post about summer camp. At camp, you create a unique and close-knit tribe that experiences a certain aspect of life together. When community like that happens within the context of seeking out God for life change, I believe it is one of those times where space and receptivity is created for the Holy Spirit to come in and transform lives radically.
Can camp be a hindrance to spiritual growth? Yes. Especially if the camp experience is all about the camp experience. If what God does in the lives of kids at camp is not connected to our everyday lives and what it means when we leave camp, then camp simply becomes an isolated experience with no bearing on the rest of life. If what happens at camp, though, is connected to life outside of camp, then I believe camp can be one of those regular times kids can get away from the distractions of everyday life to connect with God in ways he is unable to in the midst of homework, sports, music lessons, iPods, TV shows, video games, shopping, etc.
Have you been to camp? What experiences have you had a camp that affected your life?
Do you do a camp or send your kids to camp? Why or why not?