Outfitters for Life

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It is our privilege to see lives changed daily around here. We receive letters and visits where amazing stories of redemption and salvation are told. Yet people tend to lump “camp” into a category with other activities as if it is important. But not as essential as we believe it to be.  Here is another way to help others see the value in a Lake Ann Camp experience. We are outfitters for life. 

 

Visualize what you would do if you wanted to climb a mountain that required technical climbing gear.  You wouldn’t just take on a project like that without preparing. It would be critical to have a plan, some provisions, and a partner who knew what they were doing. You would likely hire an “outfitter”.

 

Consider Lake Ann Camp as your “Outfitter for Life”.  Growing up and becoming an adult is a challenging experience.  Young adults talk about how hard “adulting” is for them.  While the goal of parenting is to raise mature young adults and not children, the process is messy.  Young people have many voices that are vying for their loyalties. Voices that are sometimes pulling them in very unhealthy directions completely contrary to the Gospel.

This current election is one of many demonstrations of how some of the millennial generation handles disappointment and defeat.  Rather than accepting a new reality, though contradictory to their preferred choice as it may be. Some went to the streets not to protest in a legal and peaceful manner. Rather they went to riot, destroy, and hurt the people responsible for their disappointment.  Their disappointment was acted out in violent and destructive behaviors that clearly expressed their coping skills and maturity were lacking. Essentially, many were throwing a giant temper tantrum.

 

This is where Lake Ann Camp comes alongside a parent to help them raise responsible young adults, and prepare them for the inevitable disappointments and achievements that lay ahead in life.

 

The Plan

Camp is a temporary community filled with people campers have never met before.  At Lake Ann Camp a camper may have one or two friends in their cabin, but all the other campers in their room are new acquaintances.  New voices are speaking to them on everything from their life perspectives to the choices they make.  The counselor in the cabin is trained for 175 hours on how to guide the conversations to meaningful interaction. Recreational options abound, but not for the sake of wearing the camper out so they sleep at night.  

Our recreational options are about RE-CREATION, helping campers see what they are good at and what they may not be good at and learn where they fit in life. Not all can be athletes, academicians or artists.  Our counselors help campers get comfortable with whatever their bent may be.  This is an important step of growth as children need more than just their parent’s opinion of themselves because honestly, parents tend to be biased and support our children even if they don’t have the best talents in a given area.

 

The Provisions

Provisions are the tools of the trade.  For a 4th grader to continue on to graduation and then succeed in the adult world they need to develop many skills, such as character, communication, problem solving, humility, courage, the ability to step out on faith, the ability to admit when they are wrong, the ability to stand up for what they believe in strongly, just to name a few.  There’s great value in disrupting one’s normal routines when it comes to growth experiences in life.  New surroundings bring a heightened sense of awareness to the littlest details around.  In that heightened awareness, a careful Bible teacher can interject biblical principles that a camp counselor can reinforce all day long.  New people and experiences, along with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, are powerful “provisions” moving young people closer to the goal of maturity at an accelerated pace toward meaningful life-change.

 

The Partner

It is natural to feel skeptical of something new we are asked to believe in. It is just as natural to be less wary if a trusted individual reinforces the new concept to us in a different way.  There is an invisible strengthening quality about the second voice that makes the first voice suddenly much stronger and more trustworthy.  Enter a camper who has been pushing back on a parent’s instruction who has now just heard the same message from a chapel speaker or trusted counselor.  All of a sudden the parent seems smarter than the camper thought at first (though the camper may only ever tell their parent through changes in behaviors, and not in words).

I remember as a youth pastor teaching for months on a subject, and then sending my students to camp.  After camp, my students were all fired up about decisions they had made and things they had learned. As they talked about what they learned at camp, it sounded like this:  “Pastor Ken, why didn’t you tell us.” My first thought was to realize that I had been teaching the same thing for THREE MONTHS.  Ultimately I kept quiet and shared their enthusiasm for the life-change that was taking place.  Think about your childhood.  Remember how much you looked up to college students?  We hand select the best role models and our campers are able to look up to them. Campers are then put in a place of greater learning.  A place where they are learning to climb to the next level.

 

We are all working together to raise up a new generation of adults. They will someday be productive members of society and strong leaders in kingdom work.

 

Ken Riley

Executive Director

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