Twenty-twenty put a lot stress on everyone, but it was especially difficult for children. They missed out on many of their normal activities by sitting in front of a screen. One of the most important things they lost last year was camp. Camp is not just a place to get away, but a way to detox from life’s stressors.
Our children have experienced a wide range of fear, anxiety, loneliness and depression. Connecting to camp and being in God’s great creation has a way of calming us and slowing down the speed of life that chases us.
Camp provides the perfect venue for children to begin to unwind and let God heal their hearts and minds. They must unplug to “be still and hear God’s voice” (Psalm 46:10).
Twenty-twenty also led to an unhealthy amount of isolation for children. They missed out on community and fellowship with their friends and their church activities. Getting away for a week of camp and worshipping God in his beautiful creation will be the beginning of a much-needed healing process and a time to reconnect with some important things camp offers.
Reconnection to camp means seeing God’s handiwork and enjoying all He has created for us. It means connection to a group of friends in a setting that emphasizes, “God is in control, and everything is going to be all right.” It means connection to Christ in a calm, laid-back atmosphere away from the struggles and frustrations brought on by life.
Uncertainty as to what the summer holds concerning camp is forcing us to broaden our imaginations. Is it possible to have camp in a safe and COVID-free setting? Camp might not look exactly like it has in the past, but it can still have the same camp feeling and many of the same fun activities.
Day camps offer an excellent alternative if it is impossible to go to an overnight camp. Plan the day camp just like you would an overnight camp. Pick a theme and key verse, purchase t- shirts, and decide on your Bible studies. Divide your students by ages or into small groups for the week. Each day should begin with praise and worship and Bible study. This time can be outside under church porticos or under trees to help keep campers cool. Every day students can rotate to different activities such as swimming (use church members’ backyard pools), nature hikes, crafts, water balloon volleyball, a trip to the zoo, etc. Rent some water slides one day or go play miniature golf. Having many outdoor activities will make it a fun week of camp. It may still be necessary to mask up and social distance, but it will be worth it.
Make every day a fun learning laboratory. Just as Jesus did with his disciples, have your leaders be intentional about using every opportunity to teach students about Christ. Weave the theme and key verse into conversations as you interact with the children while hiking, praying and fellowshipping, and be sure to use God’s creation in your examples.
It is incredibly important this summer that children experience many of the things they missed in 2020. The great outdoors is calling their name. If possible, take your kids to camp. They need to get away from screens and see God’s incredible creation. If you cannot go to camp, please pray about planning—as much as possible—a meaningful adventure for them that resembles camp.