Why We Do Camp

May 29, 2017 | Tobin Dodge

Camp is one of the best evangelistic tools the church has for reaching young people with the message of Jesus. Camp is a place where we combine our faith, fun and friendships in such a way that children are willing and able to hear the voice of God for themselves. Teaching Jesus through classes, activities and everyday interactions is how we best reach young people through the camping experience.

Twelve-year-old Monica was devastated by the news that her parents were splitting up. She was normally a happy, energetic young lady, but this news destroyed her world.

One of her friends noticed the sudden change in her countenance and asked what was going on. Monica was embarrassed and ashamed to admit her world wasn’t so perfect after all. They talked for a while. Even though it helped, Monica still felt emptiness inside.

Several weeks later, right before summer break, her friend asked her if she wanted to attend a Christian camp with her that summer. Monica did not grow up in a Christian home and wasn’t sure how it would be but liked the idea of going to camp and forgetting about her troubles at home.

When Monica arrived, she was overwhelmed with the great staff and wonderful outdoor experiences. Each class started with prayer; evening programs were action-packed and taught valuable lessons. During that week Monica felt her life begin to change. She was introduced to Jesus as someone who loved her and would never abandon her. She enjoyed the classes and activities and built friendships she never thought possible.

When the Friday night program was over and the cabin group was sitting together sharing what they had learned that week, Monica asked if she could be a friend of Jesus too. She shared the hurt and pain from home and how she had been outgoing and happy all the time to cover up the real pain she was feeling. After seeing the godly counselors and Christ-centered programming each day, Monica realized she needed what the camp was offering; she needed Jesus.

When I met Monica, she was 15 and had real joy in her heart — she had a personal friendship with Jesus. Her parents did divorce and her world as she knew it still fell apart, but she clung to the promises of the Bible and her faith in the One who said He would never leave her or forsake her. Monica says that would not have happened if it were not for summer camp.