Camp’s Over Now What?
Summer in Review:
Here is a review of what our season has looked like. Allow me to let you into my world for a few minutes. In January we set out to hire a new summer staff. That involved many trips across the Midwest on icy roads and hours of listening to interviews. Following the road trips were five references on each candidate, applications, background checks and prayerful decisions. The staff were then hired and sent materials to prepare them for what they had signed up to do.
Next was the 175 hours of training in 15 days. What a delight to see college students passionate about learning how to be change agents in their student’s lives. They asked insightful questions and were very attentive to learn. Our full-time staff was impressed knowing that they would have many opportunities to apply what they had learned.
Week one was our first opportunity to see the new team in action. What a blessing! Their hard work in training was paying off and campers lives were being transformed before their eyes. Their challenges were everything from campers who were living for God who wanted to grow to suicidal campers who needed a way forward. Day in and day out life-changing decisions were being made. As the weeks went on our numbers have increased and we saw weeks where every bed was full. We experienced some of the biggest weeks in our camp history. It was such a blessing! Thank you, Camp Captains for your trust and hard work!
Every counselor has filled out a Spiritual Growth Record (SGR) on every camper. These records are the camp’s best attempt to keep the fire alive when a camper goes home. They review what decisions the campers have made in the past and record any decisions made this year at camp. Every Friday night we build a huge Glory Bowl fire where campers can share what God has done in their lives. An hour or two later as the last camper finishes their story the fire has burnt down to a smoldering pile of embers. So too with a camper’s decision unless they have follow up.
We strive to build such a solid base for our campers that they can move forward even if they do not receive support but trust me, with proper nurturing a camp decision can bear huge fruit in a short period of time. Our recommendation to you as a camp captain is to have a conversation with your pastoral team about ways that the SGR’s can be effective. Start with the belief that no camper wants to fail to follow through on a camp decision. Next, let your pastoral team know that many churches have one on one conversations with both campers and parents. Counselors have the privilege of spending more time with a camper than a pastor will get in an entire year. Those SGR insights can be a great tool to help parents raise better kids for Christ.