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It’s kids’ camp time again. I’d like to address the importance of preparing your kids to go to and enjoy the camp experience. I spoke in Wisconsin camp a few years back. When kids entered the campground, they could read a huge banner strung up above the chapel doorway. The banner read, “Welcome to the Best Week of Your Life.” I wish that were true for all kids attending AG camps this summer. For some, the inability to cope with the culture of Pentecost presented at camp can result in a less-than-stellar memory.
I’ve been involved to one degree or another in summer camps for twenty years. I was a counselor during my college years, took kids to them (and retreats) for eleven years as a youth pastor, and have been involved in leading statewide camps for the past eight years. Now I am sending my own kids. And I can tell you from two decades of experience that there is a marked difference between kids who go to a Christian summer camp and kids who don’t.
Shoot for the stars but be happy if you reach the moon.
I once heard what I thought was the perfect description of kids’ camp for a child. It was in an online article. The author was Dick Gruber. He described kids’ camp through the eyes of a child, as a week-long glimpse of what heaven is going to be like. I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. However, in the running of kids’ camps, kids are not the only ones that are a part of the kids’ camp experience. It’s the children’s pastors, moms and dads, and volunteers that help you achieve that goal for our kids.
A lot of great things can happen during a week of camp. It’s every parent’s (and every camp supporter’s) dream that the camping experience with the longest impact on a child’s life is a work of the Holy Spirit. However, there are some things that can end up short-circuiting the work the Holy Spirit wants to do.