Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Counselors Perspective on the Christian Camping Experience

Christian Camping straight from Counselors

One of the best ways to learn about Christian camping is to ask someone who has been there. By asking a camp director, full-time staff member, a camper, or a counselor, you can gain a whole new perspective on the Christian camping experience. In this post, I have asked five counselors, who worked at different Christian camps, to share a short paragraph about what they have learned through counseling at a Christian camp. I trust that reading this post will be beneficial to you.

Michael Bagin

Michael, third from the right, with some of his campers.

This summer, I had the opportunity to counsel at a small Christian camp in Pennsylvania. (Click here to check out the camp.) As a counselor, my eyes were opened to many things that I may not have noticed. First of all, I saw that I am much more selfish than I thought. Through little experiences each day, I realized that I care about myself much more than I think. Many times I had to give up my desires for the benefit of my campers and the other staff members. Another lesson I learned was to simply enjoy my campers and the people around me. As I ministered to them, they encouraged me and provided many moments of pure fun. Finally, I learned to depend on God for everything I do. In a camp situation, the need to trust God was magnified because of the lives that I impacted every single day. However, these lessons are not just limited to camp. Through working at a camp, I have grown more than I could ever imagine. 

Michael, second from right, and some campers fooling around.

Grace Williquette

Grace, middle, with some of her campers.

My experience at camp taught me to love 
people from all different backgrounds and 
to give myself sacrificially to them. One week, my campers knew when I didn't love them , although I tried to hide it. Even my lead counselor figured it out. Then, I realized that I was one of the most influential people in the lives of these girls in my cabin. I learned the difference between living love and just acting love. As a counselor, and a waitress for two different summers, I learned what it means to sacrifice out of duty and what it meant to sacrifice out of love. God also taught me how to depend completely on His Word when I was counseling and didn't know what to say to a camper.

Jonathan Knoedler

Jon, front left, with two of his campers, with another girl counselor and three of her campers
Working as a counselor at a Christian camp is definitely a growing experience. Every week, you encounter 6-8 unique boys who come from different backgrounds and home situations. As a counselor this past summer, I fully realized the importance and power of prayer. Often, young boys came into the week with no desire to participate in the games or listen to the preaching, but by the end of the week their hearts had been changed and they were eager to learn more about the Lord. Because I could do nothing in my power to change these boy's lives, I had to rely on earnest prayer and trust in the Lord to see fruit. Fully trusting in the Lord and consequently seeing His marvelous power is an awesome experience that I desire to behold many more times. 

To learn more about the camp that Jon and Grace worked at, click here.

Brittany Cournoyer

Brittany, far right, enjoying some time with her campers.
Spending a summer at camp was truly an amazing experience. I want to share a few things I learned. First of all, God showed me the importance of His Word. Growing up in a Christian home, I  had a head knowledge of God, but didn't always apply that to my life. His Word was important, but I did not desire it like I should have. This summer really pushed me to His Word. I felt very inadequate to help teen girls and give them counsel on God, His Word, and how they could practically apply it to their lives. Because of this, often I talked to God throughout the day and I really cherished the time in His Word. I grew to love studying His Word and learning more about Him. I definitely still struggle in this area, but through this summer I can see some growth in my time with Him through His Word and prayer. Another thing I learned is that Christ is better. The theme of the summer was based on Hebrews and that whole book discusses the preeminence of God. He is better than the priestly system, the prophets, and the angels. While those are just the main ones Hebrews talks about Christ is better than everything. This really showed me how wrong my priorities are. Christ should be first place in my life. I also was encouraged and challenged by the race analogy in Hebrews 12. God gave us other Christians to help us run this race. It is such a blessing to know that we, as Christians, are a community to help each other in the race.  

To learn more about the camp Brittany worked at click here

Jaimie Flack

Jaimie, back middle, with her campers
Rand (the director of the Wilds of New England) always told us that sometimes we just have to "Love them {campers} to Christ." I had one girl who I knew needed to be saved. She wanted to play with me in the pool, so I did. As I was pulling her on my back, water in my face and all, I just kept thinking, "love her to Christ, love her to Christ!" One day I was able to help her learn a verse. She did it, and after I was able to explain that she had just learned God's Word and give her the gospel. We got to the point of decision, and she was embarrassed to pray out loud. I left her alone, and the next day I found out she had prayed then and asked Christ to save her! I've had the privilege of seeing this girl grow and she was baptized this year. It was such a blessing to be a part of this ministry and see God work in lives!

To learn more about the camp that Jaimie worked at, click here


Exciting Camp Activities

Check out this photo album with pictures from some of the exciting activities kids are involved in at Christian camps.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Find a Good Christian Camp

What is the goal of Christian camps? 

On this blog, we have talked a lot about Christian camping and what it is like. We have also talked about why you should want to be a part of Christian camping, but we have spent very little time and the goal of Christian camping. In this post, we are going to look at five different Christian camps and what their goal is. How do you figure out what the goal of a particular camp is? You look at their mission statement. For that reason, we will look at these six different camps by looking at their mission statements.

Christian Camp and Conference Association 

CCCA is an association that seeks to provide educational resources for those involved in Christian camping and conference ministries. To learn more, check out their website here.

CCCA's mission is to proclaim the power and benefits of the Christian camp and conference experience, and to provide leaders at member organizations with ongoing encouragement, professional training and timely resources.

Ironwood Christian Camp

Ironwood Christian Camp is located in Newberry Springs, California. The Bible is the foundation for all that they do. Their entire ministry is centered around God's Word, the Bible.
Ironwood is a home missions ministry using the unique aspects of the camping ministry to reach young people for the Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen families, and serve local churches. It is a place of decision in the areas of salvation, full surrender, and consistent Christian walk.

To learn more about Ironwood or register for camp, check out their website here.

Woodland Christian Camp and Retreat Center

Woodland Christian Camp and Retreat Center provides a unique and natural setting for churches to get away from the pressures of everyday life.

Exists to provide opportunities for Christian growth in a natural setting. In order to fulfill our mission, we host summer camp programs for young people and provide retreat facilities for churches, ministries and non profit groups: we also host and/or lead leadership training programs for the larger community, where Christian principles are taught and/or modeled.

Check out Woodland's website to find out more information here.

The Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center

The Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center's mission is as follows: using the unique benefits of Christian camping, we serve people by presenting the Truth of God with the love of God so lives can be changed to the glory of God.

If you want to learn more about The Wilds, check out their website here.

Northland Christian Camp and Conference Center

Northland Christian Camp and Conference Center exists to glorify God by supporting local churches and helping campers take another step spiritually.

Northland would be a great camp for you to look into. You can learn more at their website here

Summing it all up

Although each of these camps and associations has different methods to meet their goals, each has a similar goal and that is to reach young people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father. I would encourage you to check out these camps by visiting their websites. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gripping Hearts, Changing Lives

If you don't understand the goal of Christian camping, check out this wicked awesome video from the Wilds of New England.
God and I Time from Tommy Montgomery on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lasting Camp Experience Prezi

Check out this sweet prezi on what makes a lasting camp experience.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What's my experience?

My experience in Christian Camping? 

Some of you are probably wondering why in the world I am writing a blog about Christian camping? I mean, it's not like it's this huge trend that everyone is dying to be a part of or anything. Some of you have probably never even heard of Christian camps. In this post, I'd like to share with you all my passion for Christian camping. First, let's start out by talking about how I was introduced to the Christian camp scene.

How I became a huge fan

When I was in middle school and high school, my youth group took a group of teens and adult sponsors down to a Christian summer camp in North Carolina. Every time I went to camp with my youth group I had the time of my life. Also, God would use those weeks to convict me of sin in my life and help me get on the right track with Him. I do not know where I would be spiritually without those weeks of camp. Ever since those days, I have decided that I want to be a part of that kind of ministry for the rest of my life.

How my dreams became reality

This past summer my dreams became a reality. I was accepted to work as a counselor at the Wilds of New England. Simply put, this last summer was the greatest summer of my life so far. Not only was it a blast to hang out with the teens every week and minister to them, but also the Lord stretched me in ways that I did not want to be stretched and taught me so many lessons through careful study of His Word and through the preaching of His Word.

The dream continues...

This coming summer I am going to have the opportunity to be the videographer at the Wilds of New England. I am so excited about all the new things that God will teach me and also for the opportunity to serve the campers behind the scenes to the glory of God. 

My passion

Now that I told you my passion for Christian camping and how I got involved hopefully you can see why this is such an important topic to me. Christian camping is a unique opportunity to break down barriers with young people and reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the praise of God's glory.
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