“Camps are CRITICAL in the life of the Church; especially right now. You can do more with the kids in 5 days of camp than you can accomplish in an entire year of Church school.” - Fr. Thomas Hopko
Church camp is what so many call the highlight of their summer. It’s that one week away from home that is still the hub of conversation when school starts again. From flying off the blob into the lake to worship services and pizza parties, there is an endless stream of fun. But it is also the place where so much learning and growth happens.
“…how to canoe.” “…how to shoot a bow and arrow.” “…how to paint.” “…how to play gaga ball.”
Camp is a great way to learn some basic skills during experiences that are hard to find elsewhere. I bet you didn’t know you were good at canoeing or archery. Things like climbing towers, zip lining, and the countless camp-specific games are staples during camp week. And where else can you learn the perfect chocolate to marshmallow ratio for a s’more? Campers can discover all kinds of things they are good at that they wouldn’t otherwise even have the chance of trying. Plus, trying new things is a great way to learn about yourself.
“…how to lead.” “…how to listen.” “…how to make friends.” “…about teamwork.”
There are also many great personal growth areas to learn at camp. Primarily, leadership, communication and teamwork are learned through team building programs. But there are plenty of other life skills that are not specifically programed. Campers must learn how to stay organized so that they don’t lose their belongings. Likewise, living in close proximity with others for a week teaches respect for others’ space and items, as well as compromise. It also teaches independence, as this is often the first opportunity kids have at being away from Mom and Dad for a week. The best part is that these skills are learned in a safe setting that helps nurture their growth.
“…about God.” “…how to pray.” “…to live by faith.” “…to read the Bible.” “…to trust God.”
Most importantly, camp is where kids learn about God. Worship services, Bible studies and all other camp activities combine to teach campers how to live a Christian life with God. Even for those that don’t get baptized or called into ministry at camp, their lives are still changed forever by the impact this event makes. A structured schedule with strong teachings can show kids how important it is to keep God with you in your daily life.
No matter what a child learns at camp, the overall benefit is that they are gaining their own relationship with God.