Summer is over and thousands of camps are shutting down after many weeks of kids who came in and out of the gates. All summer long, kids arrived with great anticipation of the week ahead, while others were scared to death because it might be the first time they have ever spent the night away from home.
They come, one by one, onto camp with their filled suitcases and backpacks, a sleeping bag and pillow, without phones or tablets, and maybe bringing their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. They are welcomed with smiles and greetings by counselors and staff and parents walk away with smiles on their faces. For first time campers, some moms leave with tears in their eyes as they look back one more time.’
Many campers come from homes in crisis and are carrying a lot of emotional baggage with them. They will enjoy a week of positive encouragement and love and hopefully “unpack” some of that emotional baggage. Counselors are usually trained to carefully come alongside a hurting child and help them have the best week of their summer. Camp can be a wonderful oasis in a harsh world, and that is the goal of camps across this nation.
I was the camp mom at Camp Harlow, a church-owned camp in Oregon which welcomes over 3,000 campers every summer. There are over 200 counselors to love these campers and help them have a ton of fun. From day campers to high school kids, there are endless activities to help them put their struggles behind them for a week and have the time of their life. They are accepted, valued, respected, and shown the love of God every day, all day. It is a thriving, vibrant, and positive environment.
Tuesday, August 30, our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio will be Dave Mertz (aka Dave the Wave). He is the camp program director for Camp Harlow and his topic is “Kids and Camp: The REAL Story.” He will discuss the benefits of summer camp, campers’ experiences, counselors’ experiences, and he will talk about how parents can find the best camp for their kids. He is humorous and has a passion for hurting kids. You can hear this interview at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com. You can download the podcast later at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.
One of the scriptures Camp Harlow uses in training its young leaders is “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12
Campers turn into counselors and then many counselors grow to become teachers, children’s workers, youth pastors, and parents. Summer camp is a place of growth, healing, learning skills, building their faith in God, and……a ton of fun!