Have you ever spent a week during the summer at camp? Four summers in a row, I went to Jumonville Christian Camp in Pennsylvania. Jumonville Camp has impacted my life and faith in many positive ways. That is why I am so excited to have this organization partner with JP Ministries. In this post, one camper shares her experience and ten benefits of summer camp. If you or anyone you know would like more information about Jumonville Camp, call or go to http://www.camp.jumonville.org for your FREE DVD with summer camp or retreat information. Office (724) 439-4912, E-mail [email protected], and Fax (724) 439-1415.
Summer Camp was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I went off to camp when I was 13, and made lots of new friends. That was a good thing, because at school, I didn’t have very many friends. I was teased and shunned and I didn’t really know why, or how to “fix it”. But the most amazing thing happened at camp – everyone was new, trying to figure out how things worked, and what to do for talent night, and how to snag another S’more at the campfire. It was an equalizer, and no one was excluded. It changed my life. I met people who liked me for being me, who laughed at my jokes, and who I could trust and be honest with. It gave me confidence, and a secret stash of support for when I was having a bad day back at school.
It also introduced me to the idea that there was a God who loved me and wanted to be my friend, too. This was a revelation. I went to church, so I knew “Jesus loved me”, but it was sort of in a general way, not a personal, “I really like you” kind of way. I still remember where I was sitting in the chapel when I gave my heart to Jesus, and He gave His heart to me. I’ve been growing into that ever since, and I will never be the same again. It gave me hope and love, and curbed my anger and sharp tongue. It changed me from the inside out, forever. And I got a lot easier to get along with after that!
I learned how to make friends a little better, and how to be more gentle… still working on that some days. Not only do I still have some friends from camp that I keep in touch with to this day, I later met the man I would come to love and marry – the camp director’s son! I can’t promise this fairy tale to every kid who goes to camp, but I can promise it will be an extraordinary opportunity to grow, mature, and blossom in social, spiritual, and physical ways, as well as gaining an appreciation for nature, wildlife, and the capacity for wonder.
Have you ever wondered whether sending your child to camp was a good idea, or how faith-based camps can make a difference in your kid’s and your family’s lives?
Here are some quotes from past campers and a top ten list of reasons to encourage your child to experience a great week of camp this summer.
“I made new friends. I did stuff I never knew I was good at,” shared a Jumonville summer camper.
One mom said, “I love the one-on-one time with my child, without the distractions of phones, TV, internet, and household chores.”
“Camp helped me become closer to God and think about God for myself instead of being told information. It helped clarify some of my questions that I have about my faith and make it stronger,” stated a Jumonville summer camper.
Top ten benefits of summer camp:
1. Fun Activities – Camps offer sports (soccer, volleyball, street hockey, baseball, basketball, tennis, disc golf, etc!) games, skits, dance, and music. Plus there’s swimming, adventure (canoeing, rafting, climbing, caving), crafts, hikes, campfires, and s’mores!
2. Friendship – Children and adults make new friends and renew familiar ones, often becoming friends for life. It builds community in a unique way, where children and youth can be silly and have loads of fun, and gain an anchor of support and encouragement long after camp is over. The Deans and counselors are also able to get to know your child and their individual needs, and support their spiritual and social growth in a rich Christian environment.
3. Adventure – New experiences challenge students to learn (age-appropriate) outdoor skills and thrills, in nature, through sports, arts, and on the adventure courses. More than that, they learn trust, self-confidence, and problem-solving in an affirming atmosphere.
4. Cooperation – Children learn to play, work, and live with others who are different from them. Camp encourages kids to be themselves, and all are accepted for who they are, regardless of their background. Artificial barriers disappear as everyone enjoys the same activities together, learning to accept each other’s differences, and celebrate what they have in common.
5. Responsibility – With encouragement, they learn to do things for themselves and to see the results and rewards of their actions. They can also learn to serve others and have a healthy self-concept. These enriching experiences can provide your child with a compass that points toward integrity in a forest of choices around them, and can lead to a lifetime of growth and maturity.
6. Appreciation – Opportunities are given to develop new interests and be a part of the group in a setting designed so each child can contribute. Thankfulness and encouragement are displayed at mealtimes, sports activities, and in camp traditions, silly camp songs or a special note of something they did well. Your child can shine at camp in so many ways!
7. Health – Campers eat well, enjoy wholesome outdoor activities, and learn new skills. They are encouraged to care for their physical, social, and spiritual needs. For example, sports, arts or adventure activities can improve their hand-eye coordination, their critical thinking skills and their relational abilities all at the same time!
8. Inspiration – Summer camp provides a new environment that allows a child to be away from home and yet in a Christian atmosphere where they can test their faith and be challenged to decide what they really believe for themselves. Your child is immersed in a Christian “incubator” where they can ask questions, explore different viewpoints, and practice spiritual disciplines on a journey of spiritual discovery. Devotions and small group discussion are an integral part of this lively growth experience at a Christian camp.
9. Good Citizenship – Youth are engaged in an environment where democratic group living is a necessity. Everyone has a part to play for success and fun to happen. Values of fairness, equality and order are modeled and imitated. Campers get a chance to practice the lessons they have learned at home, and incorporate them into real situations where they can put them into action.
10. Independence – Camp can increase self-esteem and social skills by giving youth the independence they crave – trying new things, discovering more of God’s love, and being encouraged by mentors brings self-confidence. Living in a nurturing and challenging environment and being away from mom and dad gives kids a chance to learn things like respect for others, teamwork, kindness, and honesty while having fun as they learn! The separation really will be good for both of you, plus, you’ll enjoy the fun of them sharing exciting new experiences when they come home.
Christian camps exist for the purpose of blessing your family with rest, renewal, and recreation in the out-of-doors. It begs you to appreciate the beauty and mystery of creation. It’s a vacation with God! Don’t miss out on a chance to allow The Divine to surprise you with the amazing gifts of camp and retreat centers to provide an intensive spiritual and relational spark to your family, your children and your church.
Jumonville is such a place to be refreshed. It is a Premier Christian Camp and Retreat Center with much to offer. It is best known for the white, steel, “Cross of Christ” that stands 60’ high on the mountaintop. Hiking up to Dunbar’s Knob to see the cross and the breathtaking view is an inspiring highlight for visitors and guests. At the end of an exciting day, there’s nothing like sitting by the campfire, looking up at the stars, and seeing the awesome sight of The Great Cross shining into the night. It is a landmark that has touched the hearts of people from around the world. Whether you are looking for inspiration, training, or adventure, Jumonville has something to offer. Discover the treasure in your own backyard at Jumonville!
Call or go to http://www.camp.jumonville.org for your FREE DVD with summer camp or retreat information. Office (724) 439-4912, E-mail [email protected], Fax (724) 439-1415