Some places that you go to are like vendors. They provide a service and you pay them for the opportunities they provide. Then there are the places where, you may pay a fee, but it’s like a comfortable shoe. You don’t just attend, you feel at home and fully alive. It is a place to belong. Lake Ann Camp has been that kind of place since 1948. You know that because of the stories people tell.
Camp is unlike a college where you get a degree or a job where you get a salary. Lake Ann Camp works its way into your heart and becomes a part of who you are. You buy the t-shirt because you want everyone to know that you not only went to camp there it became a part of your identity. It engaged your heart, your head, your hands and your soul. Sure Lake Ann Camp is a 325-acre property but it is so much more than that. It is where you met perfect strangers from across the country and around the world and became life long friends.
At Lake Ann you sang silly songs, you solved problems in the challenge course. You stepped way out of your comfort zones only to find that you had more inside yourself than you knew. Yes, you did recreation but it felt more like re-creation as you came home different. You had times of great success and you also failed but were celebrated for trying. You ate together, slept in a cabin together and you saw each other’s true self.
There are the legends of Lake Ann Camp
The place that once housed Al Capone and now invites people into a deeper walk with Christ. The place where counselors are really silly at skit night and then share how God changed their lives moments later.
What causes campers to adopt Lake Ann Camp as their “happy place”. It may be that campers like the self they become when they attend. They can step back, even from hard realities back home and set new goals, initiate a desire to grow in their walk with God, and start thinking of who they could become someday in their future. There are also distinct phrases that are a part of the Lake Ann that would likely be misunderstood anywhere else and camper’s wear them proudly as a bracelet, t-shirt or a flag for fight night.
Lake Ann Camp is not just a place you attend – it is a place where you feel you belong
Campers tend to like the version of themselves that Lake Ann calls them out to become. That new self becomes like a moral compass that draws them to true north – a relationship with the God of the universe. It is a place where the vertical relationship developed with God brings clarification to how horizontal relationships really want to be. It is kind of like the marrying of selfishness with selflessness in that it helps you help others have a great day while enhancing your own. Lake Ann Camp isn’t heaven but it sets the tone for what it might be like.