Even though I’ve been doing camp for most of my life, I still forget what kind of impact it has in the lives of the people involved – both campers and staff alike. I talk about it throughout the year, but I forget what it actually looks and feels like. This year, was a year of big impact.
There were many unexpected things that took place. Two of those were the fact that all the campers learned their memory verse passage, Psalms 139:1-10, 23-24, and that all the tribes made it to the end of camp party. It didn’t look likely. But on the last day of camp, the remaining 2-3 campers plugged away hard to finish the passage. It’s so exciting to hear that many children reciting a long-ish section of God’s Word all together.
On our last night of camp, we hold a “testimony campfire,” where the campers are given the opportunity to tell each other the things God has done, or what they learned, or something they overcame. It’s the favorite part of camp for most of the staff – because we see just a glimpse of the fruit of our 2 weeks of investment, of what God has done. This year, I was surprised to hear one camper tell us something that I take completely for granted in camp. This camper reported that she was surprised that she was accepted for who she is, that the other girls in her tribe didn’t want her to be taller or shorter or funnier or more athletic or _______. Of course, people can be exclusive and mean in their peer groups, what surprised me was how meaningful it was to a young child and for her awareness to be able to identify it.
The impact of camp lasts for a long time, even if the “effects” of camp fade after a couple days or a couple weeks. The impact remains in the Kingdom of God, as campers make commitments in their relationship with God. Their lives are changed by the work God does in them.