When I was eleven years old we had a new pastor called to the church. This pastor was different from our previous pastor. Where our previous pastor was my parents age and had two children with one being my age, the new pastor was in his twenty’s and had one child that was a toddler. Where our previous pastor would question the veracity of the scripture, our new pastor would state firmly that he believed every word of the scripture. One thing this new pastor did was take us all to camps. We found out about the different camps that our Baptist State Convention of North Carolina had as well as a camp in North Carolina known as Ridgecrest. Don’t misunderstand me here. Our previous pastors told us about these camps, but we never were organized and given the opportunity to take advantage of them.
While these camps were something that we took advantage of, there was one particular camp that I will never forget. It was a camp that our church conducted for our youth & children. Our new pastor found a retreat area in the NC mountains complete with cabins and a main cabin for our classes. He organized this camp in such a way that our adult volunteers were also our teachers. I was only twelve years old when I went to this camp and it was the first time that I had been west of Winston-Salem, NC that I can remember. We had a blast. It seems that we were not far from a place called Sliding Rock. We wore out a couple pair of jean shorts sliding down that rock into that cold pool at the bottom. If you have never been I would encourage a trip over there. I took my daughter a couple of years back and the water is still as cold as I remembered as a youth/child. I remember the evenings sitting around a fire talking about the things that God was doing in our life. I remember relationships being forged between adult volunteers that I would have otherwise not began.
I have not been able to blog too much lately because I am getting ready to take our Youth and Children to a camp. This is different than what I remember growing up in that we are combining with 5 other churches. The pastors and youth ministers are conducting the classes and we are all responsible for a couple of sessions and evening worship events. While we will not have Mercy Me leading in worship for our evening events, we certainly are praying for God to have mercy on us as we strive to hold the attention of these campers in our presentations.
The camp where this will take place is Springs of Life Camp and Retreat Center in Patrick Springs, Virginia. The camp is a multi-denominational camp with its own board of directors. The pastor that is leading this camp serves on the board and has led a summer camp for 22 years. You will be able to hear more about this at SBC Today as we interview him in a new format we are putting together. This brings me to a question. What does your church do for your youth and children in a form of summer camp? My current ministry has taken advantage of Centrifuge for some years now. At our previous ministry we would utilize the Go Tell camps. What do others do with their youth and children during the summer months? How do you work around family vacation, different living addresses as many youth and children are sent back and forth between households due to divorces, and the various other secular camps, ie. sports, music, etc. etc.?