Through my teen years, Christian camp was a constant. It was something that I looked forward to every year. It meant so much to me (and still does), that I’d like you to consider it for your teenager or youth group. Here are just a few reasons why every teen should attend camp this summer.
1. Controlled Independence
In my two summers as a camp staff member, I saw a lot of things take place. One of my favorite times was the first day of camp. Church vans and busses would arrive from around the Southeastern US and campers would begin to invade the campground that had been quiet and peaceful only hours earlier. For the next week, the campground would be any thing but peaceful.
In those first few hours of the exciting week that would ensue, I could see an excitement and independence as the campers would begin to feel a little freedom. They had a sense of enjoyment that isn’t felt at home. With their friends, nervous youth leaders, and a pocket full of money for snacks and camp souvenirs, they were already loving life. They could look forward to a week of getting away from a lot of things and making their own decision. I could see that many were even glad to be away from their loving parents.
This freedom also included responsibilities; the responsibility of brushing their teeth and showering without being told (On a side note, the average 13-15 year old guy will try to pass on showers and opt for Axe body spray throughout the week. This makes breathing in the dorm somewhat difficult.). They have to wake early and be ready and in time for breakfast. They also have to make their beds (I am pretty confident about that not being a regular occurrence at home.), pick out their own clothes (that rarely match) and fix their hair (they usually do this because there are girls at camp).
All of this is done, although in independence, in a controlled environment; an environment that is completely thought out with every detail of the week prayerfully considered well in advance. The teens are taken care of throughout the week by a caring and well-trained camp staff, and a group of church youth workers who desire to see God work in their youth group.
2. A Fun Time
While at camp, the teens have a great time. Whether spending a huge amount of time with their youth group, playing sports, swimming, fishing, canoeing, or playing games, the teens will have a blast! Camp activities have been designed to allow your teen to enjoy the week. What’s more fun than being tipped over in a canoe?
I always remember being very amused at the Big Ball Bash. It included all kinds of crazy water games, relay races, death defying bungee jumping contests, knife throwing events, Western Style Shootouts, (most of this paragraph is fiction), and other entertaining events.
As a teen, the competitions at camp always gave me something to look forward to in the summer.
3. God Working
While I have so many fun and entertaining memories at camp, the very best part about camp was, and always will be, the services. I can’t explain it, but there is something special about a teen leaving all their comforts and habits for a week. They get away from the outside influences of their friends, cell phones, instagram, selfies, Xboxes, iPods, and snapchats.
By the second or third day of 2-3 services a day, their hearts become tender, and God begins to work. During this time of independence, they begin to sense a real need for God to fix their lives. I have personally counseled countless teens who had questions about the Bible, had sin that they wanted out of their life, wanted to surrender to full time Christian service, or were ready to be saved.
Teens begin to see that God can use them and that His will for their life is what is really important. Only Heaven knows how many people are in full time Christian service today because teens surrendered their lives to God at youth camps. I can personally say that I was saved and called to preach shortly after getting back from camp.
Parent, I beg you to consider sending your teen to camp. I realize that there are many activities that compete for their time during the summer. I know that they have sports camps, band camps, scouting camps, and countless other camps. While those camps may be great, how does their value compare to the value of your teens spiritual condition? Your teen may come out of sports camp with accolades as a great athlete, but if their heart is not right with God, they are missing out!
Other parents are apprehensive to send their baby hundreds of miles away from home. The distance scares them and they don’t know what to do. Their teen has never been away, and they could possibly get home sick. Their teen may not even want to go. I would also ask these parents to consider sending their teen to camp.
Wouldn’t it be great if God worked in the life of your teen? Wouldn’t it be great if God used the preaching at camp to convict your teen of sins that they just can’t get victory over?
If you are teetering on the edge and just aren’t sure about the whole thing, I am praying that God will use these simple things, to help you make a decision that could possibly change your teens life for eternity.