By Scott Bruns
It happened again—just as it has for the past six or seven decades. Kids of all ages take a break from their popular culture to spend a week in a counterculture, a culture that exists only in a Christian camp setting. And it happens. They get outside; leave the distractions at home; hear, sing, and talk about the gospel and Jesus Christ from morning bell to lights out. And it happens—God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, works in hearts, and life-changing decisions are made.
It doesn’t matter if horses, water sports, challenge courses, paintball, or archery tag are involved. Or whether the food actually tastes good. (Although good food brings kids back.) It doesn’t matter if the staff volunteers or is hired for the summer or if the speaker is a local youth pastor, a missionary, a college student, or someone flown in from parts unknown. There may be wooded trails or grassy fields, creeks or lakes, lodges or tents, little bugs or really big ones, real campfires or homemade fake versions, a ukulele or a full worship band. It doesn’t matter. The camp setting just works. Whether the camp offers a traditional, age-appropriate program or a variety of specialty retreats, it still works. Just as it always has. In 2015, the National Association of Regular Baptist Camps unofficially reported that more than 1,000 children and teens made major spiritual decisions while attending one week of camp.