I have a big heart for camp ministry. I grew up going to Kawkawa Camp in Hope, BC. It was the best part of my summer, nay the best part of my year. When I was in high school I had the opportunity to volunteer at Kawkawa; to be able to help create the same exhilarating experiences I had as a kid. Working at camp year after year was the catalyst that lead me into full-time ministry.
There is just something about going to camp as a kid that you cannot experience anywhere else. In Natalie Frisk's book, "Raising Disciples", she gives her reasons that you should send your kids to camps and I couldn't agree more.
1. Absence of Distractions
Natalie says that "at camp, kids are moved away from the distractions of everyday life. This in and of itself is a gift to them; it allows them to take a breath from the frenzy of society. It can also open the door to space for transformation to happen." We all need rest. It is of the utmost importance. Rest from the business of our lives. Rest from our racing thoughts. Rest from fighting with our emotions. Camp brings rest. All the distractions of the day to day get swept away and opens the door for restoration and transformation.
2. Christian Community
Yes, your church is a Christian community, but how many times have you woken up with your Christian friends, ate breakfast with them, worshipped with them, played with them, ate lunch with them, worked with them, sang with them, ate dinner with them, laughed with them, shared stories with them, all in the same day. And then did that day after day for the next week. Natalie says she "truly believe[s] that going to camp and being in Christian community in this way, is the closest opportunity our kids can get to having the type of community that the early church experienced."
3. Meaningful Mentors
I will always remember my camp counsellors. I looked up to them. They were so cool. Natalie says that at camp your kids "are surrounded by fun-loving, Christ-centred counselors and staff who are keen on mentoring". These leaders spend 24 hours a day pouring into your kid’s lives. If they spend 16 waking hours (and if you have been to camp you know it is more because the kids don't sleep) with your kids for 5 days, that is 80 hours. That is more time than your church will get with your kids in a year. Camp counsellors bring memories and transformation that will last a lifetime.
4. Separation Anxiety
For many parents, it can be hard to send your kids away for days at a time (especially when it is their first time). It can be hard for kids as well. But time away from parents and home is beneficial to their development. Natalie says that "children [can] experience being away from home in a nourishing environment" Camp is a safe and fun place for kids to have a blast away from home.
Growing up going to Kawkawa Camp and working there for many years I can say (with a bias) that it is the BEST camp there is. Check them out.
Here are other top-notch camps around the province of BC and up into Yukon.
Nanoose Bay www.nanoosebaycamp.ca
Camp Yukon www.camp-yukon.com
Chubb Lake www.chubblake.com
Big Bar Lake https://www.kidsrockcamp.com/
Lakelse Pentecostal Camp www.lakelsecamp.org
Camp Stillwood http://stillwood.ca/
Also, Check out Natalie Frisk's book, "Raising Disciples". I highly recommend it. It is for all parents wanting to raise their kids with Jesus-centred parenting. It is a great read for kids leaders as well.
cover photo by Danya Gutan from Pexels