Traveling across the country I consistently hear stories of how God used Lake Ann Camp to change the entire course of people’s lives. It goes something like this: Oh, you are from Lake Ann Camp… I was there in 19__ and it changed my life….
What makes Christian camping a place where God shows up so big in camper’s lives? The answer may surprise you because it is strikingly Biblical. The first recorded words of God were given to Moses and they came with these words of instruction in Deuteronomy 6:6-9:
- These words shall be upon your heart Life-change begins with “Information”
- You shall teach them diligently to your children Life-change happens in “Relationship”
- You shall talk about them as you walk, lie down, and rise Life-change comes as we “Experience” life with other people.
Bind them as a sign on your hand… as frontlets between your eyes… on your doorposts… and on your gates Life-change must also involve creating a “Structure” to reinforce the information being taught.
- Information: The transforming power of God’s word is much more than just words and man-made information. It forms the foundation of the life-change that happens at camp.
- Relationship: Counselors, who are older than our campers, provide a role model inviting campers into a conversation about how God thus giving the camper an opportunity to have the same purpose for life that the counselor has found.
- Experience: The camp environment begs campers to live out what they learned in chapel. It is such a valuable tool to have a 24 hour day and six of them in a row. At Lake Ann Camp we work very hard to “program intentionally” which is simply a fancy way to say that our activities are not random- they are designed to dovetail into what is taught in chapel making the teaching and experience work together.
- Structure: As for structure, the schedule of the day is carefully planned to be a balance between function and fun. All work and no play make Jim a dull boy- as the adage goes. More than that, God often shows up biggest in our lives when we are quiet enough to hear His voice. Camp can easily be an earthquake, wind and fire experience leaving no time for reflection. At Lake Ann Camp we intentionally plan an energy map for each program making sure that campers have up time and down time giving them an opportunity to express themselves in recreation and also times where they can “re-create” who they are and how they think about God and themselves.
Don’t ever be surprised when a camper comers home changed… it is God’s way of blessing what He laid out when His Word was first written. We praise God for His heart to reach the next generation for His purposes here on earth and the privilege of being a part of all He is doing!
– Ken Riley