The Importance of Youth Summer Camp

“Why do we even have summer camp?”

The kid complained to me within the first hour of Teen Camp at Tiger Mountain.

My response, “So you can know you’re not alone.” Then, I went on with my ever growing list of responsibilities.

I forget the exchange.

At the end of camp, the kid comes up to me and tells me how he loves camp and that he can’t wait to come back next year.

I ask him what was his favorite part.

“I learned that God is with me always and that other kids go through the same stuff I do. So I have God and friends with me always.”

Then, I remember the exchange.

For me, camp has three goal: 1) discipleship, 2) evangelism, 3) friendships.

The gathering together for a common affection for God and each other is what we can church, or the church. Camp is just another expression of church – or, rather, it should be.

  1. From the planned lessons of the morning tracks and evening services, to the unplanned conversations deep into the night or in passing between activities, the drawing closer to God and becoming more aware of his presence and nearness to his people, is what drives me as a camp director.
  2. From the first time a kids hears about God, or maybe a correction to a wrong presentation of who God is, God is being presented a person, not an idea of a person, who is infinite in love and power and glory and compassion, who cannot love you any more than he does now and refuses to love you any less.
  3. From the meeting of new fellow believers to the catching up with old friends, campers can be reminded that heir sins, temptations, struggles, wrestlings, victories, accomplishments, growth, and maturation is not unique to them alone; everyone matters in the Kingdom and everyone is meaningful, together.

Why do we even have summer camp? Because God loves you and so do we.

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