I would imagine that there might be just as many reasons to love camp and outdoor ministry as there are campers. One of the beauties of outdoor ministry is its extraordinary versatility. Outdoor ministry is an ever changing environment, a constant river flow of possibilities and there’s almost always something for everyone. So, if you don’t like high adventure on a ropes course or getting “baptized” while ripping down a class V rapid; just wait until after lunch because there’s going to be something all new. It might be making friendship bracelets under the shade of a tree, a fairy house in the woods, taking a walk on a prayer labyrinth, playing games in the field or spending some time discussing the day or a bible verse in a small group.
I know from experience that I could probably fill a book of my own personal reasons why I love camp. I’ve been involved with camping, outdoor ministry, experiential learning or play in some way or another for my entire life. However, while I certainly love camp for all the fun and games, the learning opportunities, exploring, playing, crafts, songs, food and adventures; when I stop and consider what I love most, it’s not those “doing” things that top my list. No, it’s the simple, less tangible, hard to market things that camp offers which inspires me and keeps me doing what I do. So, let me share ten reasons I love camp.
- I see kids smile and laugh more at camp. No pressure, no school, no schedules; just free, creative, authentic kid play in the great outdoors.
- Camp is the best place to be yourself and discover who you want to be.
- Living in a Christ focused community with others; sharing experiences, building friendships, learning and playing together in a space of real freedom.
- Experiential learning and witnessing the incredible magic in conveying those simple teachable moments which are so abundant at camp.
- No mirrors. Getting paint on your cloths, watermelon on your face, dirt on your hands, mud on your toes and just not caring.
- The pure and simple play of “Fairy Houses”. Watching kids use their imaginations and nothing else except whatever is present in the woods to build, tiny, inspired, elaborately creative, and beautiful structures.
- Having opportunities to attempt new things in a safe environment without any pressure to be anything more then what and who you are.
- Unplugged and disconnected! What else could you really ask for than a time away from the phones, games, televisions, computers, GPS’s and iPod to stop and listen to your thoughts? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Christian camp or secular camp… this may be Camps most valuable asset.
- Camp builds confidence and self-esteem – Being at camp allows children to explore and discover things about themselves that they may not have otherwise noticed.
- At camp there’s no “Adult Only” worship. At camp we learn with and from each other, no matter what age. Camp is an inter-generational experience where we aren’t segregated based on age. Everything we do today requires some sort of age segregation; but camp can be and often is the last best place for the return of inter-generational community.
Well there is it is… my condensed, revised and “living” list of why I love camp. Why do you love camp?
Scott Thrasher, Rockhaven Director