Families have many choices when it comes to summer activities—from sports, summer jobs, and academic enrichment to vacations or just relaxing and playing. Why is it that so many choose to make Laurelville summer camp a priority in the face of all the possible choices?
1. God’s presence. Children and youth experience God’s presence in new ways at camp. Many who grow up in the church find the scriptural stories to be familiar, but the camp experience can shed new light on an old story. For those who don’t come from a faith background, summer camp is a place where they are able to encounter God, perhaps for the first time. Our programming offers all campers the chance to learn and try new prayer practices to deepen their relationship with God not only at camp but throughout the year.
2. Friendship formation. “Make new friends, and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” Some campers come with a group of friends from church, while others come alone and are welcomed into cabin groups by staff who make a priority of helping kids connect with each other. Bonds of friendship are formed that last through the years.
3. Counselors as role models. Our counselors are a special group of young people: followers of Jesus who choose to spend their summer in camp ministry. They bring a blend of talents in music, recreation, leadership and a heart for children and youth. Through the years, many campers can trace their faith development to a counselor who mentored them at a critical time.
4. Outdoor time. Leaving behind phones, computers, and electronic games might seem like a burden in our era of connectivity, but summer camp is a great opportunity to be “connected” in different ways: to each other, to our natural world, and to God. When else do most of us get to eat meals outside, spend the afternoon in the pool, go hiking, and even sleep out under the stars on Sunset Hill?
5. Fun activities. Capture the flag. Swimming. Crafts. Carpet ball. Mini golf. Counselor hunt. Persecution (yes, really.) Creek hikes. Carnival.
6. Retreat. Summer camp offers children and youth a chance to retreat away from family, giving each one a chance to try out who they are and who they are becoming. Camp is a safe place to explore, giving campers a sense of freedom while still providing important boundaries. Campers come away with a sense of ownership of Laurelville.
Summer camp makes a difference, not only in the lives of the children and youth who attend, but also in their families, congregations, and the wider church. All of us can support this ministry in many ways:
- Pray for our campers and staff as we get ready for another season of summer camp.
- Encourage your friends, children, and grandchildren to come to camp.
- Know someone who would make a good counselor? Tap their shoulder for a summer staff position.
- Churches can support families by offering tuition assistance.
- Families, Sunday schools, and churches can work together to memorize scripture along with their campers.
- Donate. Your giving makes up the difference between the registration fees and the actual costs of summer camp.
We especially invite your prayers that God’s spirit will enliven our journey this summer. Pray that Laurelville will continue to be a sacred space where children, youth, staff, and families encounter Jesus and follow his ways.