Camps Spotlight 2017
For a variety of camps to choose from see below the following article
Disciples make disciples
by Jim Badke
A backpack always feels a bit heavier on those last few kilometres before reaching the parking lot at the end of the trail. You trudge your way out of the bush into civilization—sweaty, dirty and beat. Then you see all those newbies beside their cars, just getting ready to set out. Their expensive gear is clean; their bags are packed to perfection. Suddenly your weariness and body odour take on new meaning. Exhaustion is actually a badge of honour, strenuously and bravely achieved. You try not to strut past the newbies, but you have been there and back again. And seen a thing or two.
That is how a summer camp worker feels at the end of their time at camp. Whether it is a week or a whole summer, on that last day there is a deep satisfaction that something timeless and significant was accomplished. Tired and entirely out of clean t-shirts? Yes. But so very worth every late night, every homesick camper, every pot washed. A week at camp is a glimpse of heaven, and no one knows it better than the one who came here to serve and made it to the end.
Perhaps the thought has never come to your mind – to serve for a week or more at a summer camp. Don’t you have to be a particular kind of person to do that, maybe even a peculiar kind of person? In my experience, the people who love camp and arrive year after year are simply those who were brave enough to give it one shot—and got hooked. However, you are right to think that serving at a Christian camp requires a certain kind of person.
Let’s imagine that, instead of going to camp, you decided to go work at a shoe factory for a week. What would that take? It would be important to have an understanding of your end product. You would need to know what a shoe is and the process for making one. So what is the end product of a Christian camp? Jesus told us: As you go, make disciples (Mat 28:19). At the Christian camp, disciples are what we do.
In the original language the words “make disciples” are actually one verb, so perhaps a closer translation might be, “Go and disciplize all nations.” If that is too technical for you, try this: Disciples produce disciples. This is no shoe factory; it is more like a sci-fi flick where robots replicate themselves. Wherever there are disciples, you should expect more to appear over time.
So if you want to “make disciples” at camp as Jesus commanded us, you need to first be one yourself. The essence of discipleship is to say to someone, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1).
This is the kind of person a Christian summer camp needs. Are you someone who is willing to simply do life with a bunch of kids, confident that as they follow you they will learn to follow Jesus? Then we want you at our camp. Your identity as a disciple of Christ is more important to camp leaders than your ability as a chef, your lifeguard certification or any level of youthful energy.
By the end of the week, something timeless and significant will be achieved. Your weariness will be an eternal badge to wear alongside your fellow camp saints. You will have seen God do a thing or two in the lives of kids. You will re-enter the everyday world trying hard not to strut. And I am pretty certain that we will see you back here again next year.
– Jim Badke leads Auxano, a gap-year discipleship program at Camp Imadene, and is the author of The Christian Camp Leader.
High impact ministry in an upside-down world
God is at work in a powerful and breath-taking way in Christian camps such as Camp Qwanoes on Vancouver Island, in the midst of a world that sometimes seems like it is spinning out of control.
Children and youth in 2017 are growing up at a point in time like no other. They have to try to figure out their place in the world in a culture where they lack genuine connections, get overexposed to everything, live with constant uncertainty, respect is hard to come by, and lying and dishonesty is happening everywhere. Yet, there is a place where they can go to discover, live, and share life like no other – life with Christ. At Qwanoes, we love kids and all our efforts go into trying to give them the best week of their lives.
The need for camp seems greater than ever before. The opportunity for youth to experience life change and to gain hope is almost unparalleled at camp. Just over 4,000 campers and staff from around the world came to Qwanoes last summer as we celebrated Qwanoes’ 50th anniversary year. While campers enjoy incredible fun trying out activities like zipping over the ocean on our new Jet Stream or bouncing on a water trampoline or running through the forest playing Outdoor Laser Tag, they are also encountering the truth that they matter and are loved more than they can even understand.
Thousands of life-changing decisions, including thousands of first-time decisions to follow Christ, have been made at camp in recent years. Hundreds of high school students have taken part in the camp’s leadership training programs. In their own words…
“My week at Qwanoes was the best week of my life.” ~camper
“5/5 stars one of the best camps in the world!” ~camper
“I just wanted to thank you and everyone at the camp from this summer ‘cause before camp I was struggling with drugs, alcohol and depression. I don’t think you know how much of an impact you made on my life.” ~camper
“I love being in the atmosphere of Camp Q. The love, fun, and happiness all together is a beautiful and uplifting thing!” ~leadership training program participant
“I think what I am going to miss the very most, is how LOVED I feel here.” ~leadership training program participant
Camp truly is a high impact ministry in an upside-down world!
By Julie Bayley, Qwanoes’ Associate Program Director.
The Benefit of Poverty in Camp
Poverty is a word we define in our capitalistic world as evil, or a symptom of evil. Something we need to alleviate, combat or fight. It’s capitalism’s moral opposite. But I find Jesus’ approach to poverty to be humbly different. And I think camping has a place in helping children and adults understand the nature of life in Christ and the values of Christians through the lens of poverty.
The irony of the ministry of camping, is that we are willingly (usually) sending our children out into the wilderness intentionally with less to live on, or with, for a short time and that this intent of living with less has some profoundly beneficial affect on the child. And somehow it does! How is it that choosing to live with less (less electronics, less machines, less comfort, less familiar surroundings, less electricity, less material possessions) can be better when we live in a society based on the preconceived notion that more is better?
The answer I think lies in the relative poverty of Jesus. Who chose to live as the poor of his country did and alongside the poor of his culture. Jesus gives blessing and spiritual understanding of the condition of those who are poor in spirit, bereaved, downtrodden, overlooked, humble and morally lacking (Matthew 5:1-12). We would do well to journey into relative poverty physically, materially, socially to remember our true poverty spiritually and our great need for God and His great Grace and Mercy for us. During this Lenten season, consider the great benefit of camp ministry as we seek to connect with God in relative poverty to remember our need for Christ, the needs of those around us and the greater richness that life in Jesus truly is.
What God can use.
It’s amazing what God seems able to use to speak to the heart. When working in ministry and service to Jesus, we’re always trying to think of new and extraordinary ways to get the message across. But so often I am astounded by the simple things we do, seemingly non-descript, that have some of the greatest impact.
Last summer during camp we had a counsellor reach out to a camper and this is a bit of her story: “I had a little girl last year in a particularly busy cabin who was pretty quiet most of the time. During our first Bible study (which was about creation) she had a load of questions, she had never heard about God before at all. She continued to get more and more excited every time that we had Bible study, especially when she got to read from my Bible, as of course she didn’t have her own. … I gave her one of the Bible’s from [camp]. The next few times I saw her she showed me how she was taking care of her Bible and how she had drawn pictures of God holding her hand and taking care of her in the front blank parts. It made my whole summer to know that just those small conversations we had could be used in such a huge way.” What a beautiful reminder of the unique and simple ways that God can reach out to the heart of a child. With a desire to give and serve and a generous spirit, God can do pretty much anything He wants!
Camp Squeah Program Director
From the time a camper arrives to the time a camper leaves, they will have spent 120 hours at Stillwood. Frankly, that doesn’t sound like a lot of time. How can 120 hours make a difference?
Well, let’s gain some perspective. If a kids club or youth group meets for three hours every week, it would take 40 weeks to meet for a total of 120 hours. With a six hour school day, one week of class adds up to 30 hours; therefore, one week of camp is worth one month of school. At home, if I spend as much time as I can with my kids before and after work, I could get up to four hours of play time with them before they go to bed. On a weekend, I would max out at 24 hours if I were to spend all my time with them. In a best case scenario, it would take me three weeks to spend 120 hours with my kids. As it turns out, 120 hours isn’t such a short period of time after all.
So you spend a lot of time at camp. Big deal. I spend a lot of time at red lights and drive throughs. Chapels and campfires are similar to Sunday school. The games you play can be replicated at youth group. I’d wager that time spent on your high ropes course isn’t going to get 10 year olds to sit down and evaluate their life choices of the last year. So what makes camp so special?
Here are two of the reasons we believe camp to be such a positive experience. First, camp is a break from routine. When you place campers in a safe environment, away from their normal everyday life and jam pack it with exciting activities and events, you see them break out of their comfort zone. Personal growth and development occurs naturally and self-esteem and awareness are boosted.
The second reason camp is so positive is relationships. This occurs at multiple levels. Campers develop friendships with other campers. Campers are supported, encouraged and built into by their cabin leaders. Most importantly, campers are exposed to a relationship with God. Relationship with Him is where grace and salvation is found. Every activity we introduce, every game we play, every song we sing and every conversation we have is for the purpose of creating a safe, inviting and encouraging atmosphere that shows campers the love of Christ, power of God and indwelling of the Spirit.
That is what we do with 120 hours. That is what makes summer camp so special.
Cowichan River Bible Camp is entering its 62nd season of camping. Over the years, many lives have been impacted for God and for good by their time at Cowichan Camp. Hundreds have come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Others have experienced lives transformed, healing, (physical, emotional and relational) deliverance from addictions, life callings, long-lasting friendships made and even life mates found.
It is in times of worship and speaking the Word of God, when His presence is so “thick and rich” that faith comes alive that true personal value is revealed. This past summer at our Kids Camp, a little girl approached one of the leaders and said “I have had breakfast, and I have had lunch, and I have had supper but never all in the same day. Do we get these all every day?” Sometimes the simplest things make lasting impacts.
For many years, summer camp has been a vital part of life. It is a time to “come away” from normal routines for a set time to “refocus” our minds and hearts on some of the simpler values of life. This summer take time to attend a camp, seek God and His desires and make some new friendships. You will be richer for it.
Since 1939 Daybreak Point Bible Camp has been in operation as a summer camp on Anvil Island in beautiful Howe Sound – just a 90 minute boat ride from Vancouver. Every week we bring up a new volunteer staff (85 new volunteers each week) to encourage our campers in developing Christian character in a fun and accepting atmosphere. Many of the campers (and staff) consider their time at Daybreak the highlight of their year. We are excited to offer our sponsorship program to financially assist campers from the Downtown Eastside and other low-income family situations in attending camp. Our desire is that no child or teenager will miss out on an awesome camp experience of fun, food, friendship, and learning about Jesus, due to financial concerns.
One story we received from a camper’s parent really touched us. She told how as a single mother and full time student, the only way her daughter could experience camp was through our sponsorship program. Daybreak was her first Bible Camp experience, and she had a wonderful time. She came home full of stories, photos, memories, and new friends. But most importantly to her mother, she came home wanting to read her Bible. Her daughter would sit and read her teen Bible (presented to her at Anvil) out loud every day. This camper’s mother ended her note by saying, “Thank you very much for taking such good care of the youth: heart, mind, body, and soul!”
Our prayers are that every year we would have camps that are full of young people who learn about Christ, and experience the love and joy that being in relationship with Christ brings. We hope you or your children can join us this summer!
Our vision is that every person who walks onto our camp, will know they have worth and value.
In today’s culture, there are many voices pointing out weakness. Inner lies are formed from past hurt or neglect, and these begin to define our identity. We see pressure to become thinner, stronger, richer…. and all these words have power.
For many, these words confuse the basis of their worth; value becomes a measurement of productivity or performance, rather than growing out of the reality that God is making all things new.
Freedom. Love. Peace….on earth as it is in heaven.
So, we seek to be a caring place for fun and adventure for every kid that God brings along, while also remaining accessible to children and youth from lower income families.
We hosted our first inner city family camp, in partnership with a local Church from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We are now looking to add 2 more camps, in response to the growing demand. We were excited re-introduce our Single Parent’s camp; creating space for so many hard-working moms to rest and rejuvenate.
At Hope Bay, campers from a variety of cultural backgrounds come together to experience Christ-centred relationships, in the midst of the beauty and creativity of the coastal experience.
So, whether you’re canoeing on a calm sea, walking a trail, or cliff-jumping off the point, you’re taking a deep breath and finding abundant life on the journey towards Jesus.
This is our path, come join us!
Keats Camps is a children & youth summer camp located on the stunning Keats Island. Keats Camps has been serving youth and families for over 90 years as a part of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. It has always been a special place and continues to be so for all who visit.
Thriving during the summer months, Keats Camps comes alive with over a thousand campers & staff and all of their visiting parents & friends. At Keats Camps your week is packed! There are activities, including, wake boarding, sailing, canoe & kayaking, the blob, mountain biking, skate boarding, high ropes, low ropes, archery & crafts. As well as theme nights, wide games, beautiful hikes, guest speakers, explosive worship evenings, meaningful Bible studies, and a candy store!
The fun continues year-round with our various Youth & Church retreats, volunteer work parties and Outdoor School programs. We believe in mentoring our campers and staff, helping them build a faith in Christ, self-confidence and skills that will help them in all stages of life. Keats Camps has truly become a retreat for anyone and everyone, and we would love to see you and your communities up here sooner than later. Get in touch with us today and learn how we can partner to Anchor a New Generation for Life in the lives of your children, youth & young adults.
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 604.925.6799. Like us on Facebook!
Children and Youth are our most precious resource. We need to treasure, prepare and mentor them well.
It’s a job for everyone, working together, to ensure their physical, emotional and spiritual welfare, so that they can excel and use their potential and gifts to enrich our communities, province and nation.