SUMMER IS COMING!
Our hearts let out a collective shout of joy as we imagine long days, and warm nights. Ice cream and adventures and time to spend together as a family, and we start to think through all the possibility that summer brings.
Personally, summer always takes me back to my years spent at Summer Camp. I worked for 5 summers at Teen Ranch in the beautiful Caledon Hills about an hour north of Toronto. It was here that I experienced Canada, and grew to love this place: hours spent on horseback, hanging out with campers, crafting, playing mud soccer, sitting by the campfire, singing and building some of the most amazing friendships of my life.
Now you could get all of that at any old summer camp right? It seems pretty generic, but what made Teen Ranch so special was the way that Jesus was woven through every part of it. As a camp counsellor I was so intentional in building relationships with my kids that it became normal when we talked about God. They felt the safe space to ask questions and to process ideas, and I got the chance to live my faith in front of them and let God use that to impact them.
Campfires were such a key part of the camp experience. It’s so cool to see how music can help ideas stick. I remember every year when campers came back one of the first questions they asked as they headed toward campfire was if we would be singing their favourite songs because they remembered every word! These simple truths about God and His love were sticking in their minds!
I have been so blessed to watch lives of campers transformed before my eyes! My very first summer, one of my campers told me she was an Atheist as we began our week together. I simply encouraged her to be open, and listen as we had devotions in our cabin and to ask any questions she had.
One night as we hung out together as a cabin, I shared my story and how Jesus had changed my life. Later that night, this same camper came to me and told me that she wanted to become a Christian. We sat and prayed together, and I witnessed a huge shift in her immediately! She was so filled with joy that she couldn’t help but dance around! This same camper, came back to serve on our kitchen staff for summers to come!
Another camper emailed me this past weekend, 10 years after hanging out with me at camp, letting me know the impact I had on her life, and as her first year out of High School will be living at camp, and working there while she studies so that she too can have an impact on the next generation of campers for Jesus!
The leaders and counsellors at Christian based summer camps are there because they want to see kids get to know Jesus! Sure you can have the fun summer memories from any camp, but why not send your kids to a place where the staff want show them Jesus love too!
Just to recap...Why send your kids to a Jesus-centered camp?
- The staff are there because they want to see kids get to know Jesus
- Camp counsellors get to hang out and do life with your kids for a whole week
- Summer memories last all year! Imagine if some of the best memories of summer include singing about God, and talking about Jesus!
- Camp staff models what it looks like to serve to your kids
- Real life change can happen at camp
- It’s a great chance to invite friends from outside of church, to come and learn about Jesus in a really fun way
What camps are great? Here are just a few suggestions (there are so many amazing Jesus-centered camps in Ontario!):
- Ontario Pioneer Camp
- Camp Mini-Yo-We
- Camp Medeba
- Teen Ranch
- Muskoka Woods
- Camp Kahquah
- Circle Square Ranch Brantford