According to wikipedia.com, summer camp is a supervised program for children and/or teenagers conducted (usually) during the summer months in some countries. I believe that it is so much more!
I grew up attending a camp for two weeks every summer with my brother. My parents would drive to the mountains as my brother and I sat in the backseat, giddy with excitement. We would pull though the gates, hop out of the car, and breathe in the fresh air. You may have heard people say “There is no place like home”. For me it was “There is no place like Camp”. After two amazing weeks my parents would return to pick me up. However, leaving was much different than arriving. I would cling to my counselors and friends as tears streamed down my cheeks; I simply didn’t want to leave. Once home, my parents would endure weeks of endless camp stories; how I hit the bulls-eye in riflery, or dressed up as an Indian for an evening activity. They knew the names of each girl in my cabin. They patiently listened as I told them all about my amazing counselors, and the nightly devotions that they shared. I’m surprised that my parents didn’t invest in a good set of ear plugs as I spent my waking moments belting out camp songs and cheers!
Camp friends are the kind of friends that you don’t find everyday. They are life long friends. When I arrived at camp, I was free to be me. I didn’t have to wear the right clothes, or say the right things. Camp helped me to tear down walls and be myself. It was ok to wear mismatched clothes and act silly. It was ok to sing off key. My camp friends knew the real me. They continue to be friends that I can depend on to love me unconditionally just as I am. They are my family. They are the reason that camp felt like home to me.
Camp didn’t just stay with me for a few weeks or months or even years. Camp impacted my life for eternity! My walk with Jesus began on the front row of the chapel as I made Him the Lord of my life. Camp taught me the importance of scripture memory and accountability. My experiences at camp gave me the self-confidence to step out of the box and truly live.
My life is proof of the impact that camp can make. My parents weren’t wealthy. They didn’t have extra money to send me to camp. However, they saw the difference that first summer made in my life. They made many sacrifices so that I could experience all that camp had to offer. I will never be able to thank them enough for allowing me to go.
I know that in today’s economy camp may seem like an easy thing to scratch off the ‘to do’ list. However, don’t underestimate the lasting impact that two-weeks at camp can make. It made an impact on mine, and I can’t imagine my life without it!