You can almost hear the sounds of the ice cream truck bell, the lawn mowers in the distance, the clinking of ice cubes in a glass of tea….
My summer soundtrack is a little different, actually. I hear kids. All the time, kids. Laughing, singing, shouting, jumping, running… kids.
I work at a Bible Camp.
I can honestly say that this is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had. The hours are long, the phone never stops ringing, and the days can be stressful. But I wouldn’t change it- not for the world.
Because I’ve seen Camp make a difference.
There’s something about Camp…
- About a child blossoming under the attention of a “cool” counselor…
- About a kid learning to accept and even celebrate the differences of their cabinmates…
- About the perfect balance of fun and growth and encouragement…
There’s just something about Camp that resonates with kids. That helps them grow, helps them heal, helps them feel comfortable in their own skin.
But with only a few short weeks of free time with your child every summer, those precious summer days being squeezed short by sports practices, school activities, clubs and groups, why would you choose to give up a week of precious time?
The average American kid spends about 4 minutes a day playing outside, and more than 5 hours a day plugged in- watching TV, playing video games, spending time online.
It’s not only hurting our nation’s health, but also it’s changing the way we view “fun;” watering it down to a sitting-down, pixelated experience. It’s shallow, it’s easy, and the challenges are far from authentic.
There’s just something about that feeling of adventure- the wind blowing through your hair as you fly down the zipline, the water splashing on your feet as you paddle your canoe to the island.
Camp provides experiences that are outrageously fun and memorable, but more than that, it allows a child to see that they have what it takes. They want real giants to face, real obstacles to overcome.
Studies show that children who attend Camp come back changed by the experience. In fact, parents say that they observe noticeable changes in their children after a week of Camp- especially in the areas of leadership, identity, and independence.
It’s about getting out there. About the adventure. About facing fears.
Defeating that high ropes course?
Shooting the target?
Getting up on that horse?
Not only is it an experience they’ll never forget- it’s a great feeling, one that campers will take home with them.
Still not sure about Camp for your child?
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Ally Vermeer works (and lives!) at a Bible Camp in Iowa, where both she and her husband are blessed to be part of a growing, vibrant ministry. In her limited free time, she enjoys riding motorcycle, making crooked quilts, and taking blurry pictures.