By Jennifer Deibel, Contributing Writer
The car washes are complete, the spaghetti dinners served, funds raised and you’re ready for camp.
For many youth and children, a week at camp each summer is the highlight of the year. It’s a time to get away from the mundane daily routines, meet new people and have lots of fun. It can, however, be much more than that. Camp can be a truly life-changing experience.
Danny Dawdy, executive director at Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center, says, “The power of Christian camping is one of the greatest tools a church has. Coming away from a student’s regular routine into an environment of fewer distractions offers students the opportunity to hear from God through the Holy Spirit.”
However, life-changing camp experiences don’t just happen automatically. It takes intentionality from camp staff, youth and children’s leaders and the hands of the volunteer counselors and sponsors that come with each group.
As a counselor, you will be spending concentrated time with your students, which will open doors to usher them into a more meaningful spiritual experience. While camp is absolutely meant to be a time of fun and silliness, the ultimate goal reaches far deeper. “As adults interact with campers, there are all kinds of contexts within the program where they can have spiritual conversations with a student,” Dawdy explains.
Whether youth, kids or family camp, the following five tips will help you make the most of the Christian camp experience for yourself and your campers:
Dawdy believes counselors truly hold the power to change lives and make a real difference in the Kingdom of God. “Many counselors assume that children and teens do not want to hang out with adults, don’t want to ask an adult about their spiritual conditions, or that sharing the Good News with a student is putting pressure on them. This is simply not true,” he encourages. “I believe God strategically places the adults at camp to have a long-term impact on the children from their church.”
If you’re still not convinced your role as a camp counselor is so important, take a moment to think back on your own camp experiences. Chances are you carry a memory similar to Dawdy’s: “I can still remember as a six-year-old boy, the strong effect my RA camp counselor had on my life. It was a simple conversation by one night when I bowed and asked Jesus into my life.”
Visit texasbaptists.org/camps for more information.
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