An added bonus of Camp is when a group attends together. As a Coach of a team will plan intense time together to learn skills, and to bond together as a team, a Youth Group attending Camp together is important. They are, as any other team, intentionally focusing on areas needed to improve the overall outcome. Christian youth are a team, and those in youth group together can learn how to encourage each other so that when they return to “normal” schedule, they have this strong bond with one another. When a group has intentional time with each other and interacts over an extended time, they have experiences which bonds them. When these activities are spiritually focused, the bond is even stronger.
The lasting effects include more confidence, caring and comradeship. Teens have a strong desire to feel they are a part of something; they need a positive influence group. This group identity helps them realize their potential and a personal relationship with Jesus solidifies their identity, as well as finding security in knowing purpose in their life. All teens want to know their purpose in life and when they know this, it gives them the reason to make good choices. They can also treat others with respect because they respect themselves. Focusing on their spiritual condition grounds them in something bigger than themselves and being with a group of people they know continues to encourage them. They can feel secure and know they are not the only ones pursuing and growing in spiritual matters; and anytime we increase our focus in an area, it compounds the meaning.
Although the Youth Camp experience is a huge commitment, you can be assured it comes with many BLESSINGS that are not only for the days they attend but for a long time afterward. The memories and experiences bonds them with others and deepens their relationship with Jesus. This works together to profoundly impact their future. A sports camp has benefits for that sport, and usually for the team as well, but cannot match the inward growth of a spiritual camp experience. Being in youth ministry for almost 35 years, I know this in my own children, and in many, many students who have attended. Camp always provides inspiration, tools for continued growth, and increased connections in the youth group.
If any student needs funds or a scholarship to attend, I am willing to personally assist, and/or find funds to send a teen to a Christian summer camp. We appreciate other organizations who also provide funding to those in need; a partnership between Camp Eagle and Straight Street allows students to attend a week in the summer for free. Straight Street also has a partnership with the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree ministry and Camps across the United States to send those with an incarcerated parent to camp for free. It is one of their three main goals because they also realize the great importance.
BLESSINGS, JERI (and feel free to contact me for Camp information… firstname.lastname@example.org)