What is Youth Camp?
These days “youth camp” often means spending the night in a resort or college campus dorm with catered food services and a program line-up of super star speakers and musicians! One thousand students gather in an auditorium with staging, video, sound and lighting systems that would rival a Vegas Show! There’s nothing at all wrong with these events. But, to me….camp will always mean something different.
I went to youth camp last week. There were super stars… a kajillion of them in a big sky that moved me to sing “How Great Thou Art” acapella. There was a light show, too – lightening bugs! It had been years since I had seen such a dazzling display of entertainment! (There were other bugs, too, but I have not figured out how to see God at work in them, yet!) We had cramped quarters with bunk beds three deep and one bathroom for 30 girls. We learned to take showers in record time since there was rarely hot water! But, there were great late night talks and memory-making moments not too soon forgotten. There were family groups, bible study tracks, cross walk, the traditional camp talent show….good stuff! Great kids!
I saw young people genuinely care for something beyond themselves. 200 students were inspired to give $1,300 to help build a girls orphanage in Uganda. We had a goal of $1,000 which we exceeded the third night. So on the 4th night, we took up a special offering for one of the camp cooks whose daughter was tragically killed in a car wreck during the week. I was moved at the generosity of these kids. They gave over $300 to help this hurting family.
If I were playing Jeopardy and the answers were camp fire, candle light service, praise and worship, goofy skits and crazy rec games, the question would definitely be “What is Youth Camp?” I would not be the person I am today if camp had not been a part of my growing up years. Getting away and getting into the Word of God set the stage for me to sense His tender tug at my heart calling me to a closer, more intimate walk with Him. Perhaps He’s pulling you outside your comfort zone this summer to see Him at work in a new way, too. I pray you’ll have your own personal summer camp experience one way or another.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 NIV
Peace and joy….