Sayconnect Summer Camp

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Camp changes lives

Sometimes camp is the only port in the storm of life.

By Ed Covert –

From the moment Andy stepped off the bus at camp, we knew he would be one to test the boundaries. During his first few days, he quickly moved through the stages of our progressive discipline program. Calls home to his mother for support and trips to my office seemed to have little effect, and so with sad hearts we decided to send Andy home, and called his mother to pick him up.

This is where the story really begins.

That initial call was placed at 9:30 a.m. After numerous follow-up calls, his mother still had not arrived by dinner time.

I finally got her to answer her phone at about 7:30 p.m., only to learn that she was still at the casino and had called Andy’s sister—who was at the boardwalk—telling her that we would be dropping Andy off with her.

So we took Andy to the boardwalk to meet up with his sister. After completing all the necessary ID checks and paperwork, we left Andy in the care of his very unhappy sister.

The following day Andy was put on a plane—unaccompanied—and sent across the country to be picked up by his father…who did not show up. Arrangements were then made for him to be sent back across the country to be picked up by his extremely angry mother.

Upon discovering all this, I called the folks who had sent him to camp and told them that I wanted to have Andy come back to camp for the last session and that we would make it work.

It did work, and here is the second chapter of the story.

Andy was in Brett’s unit for the last session of camp, and Brett was struggling. Brett had been to camp twice already this summer, and he was clearly just too exhausted to cope with the level of activity and noise—he just wanted to fight his way out of camp and be home where he could rest. Brett and Andy had a couple of dust-ups. After some calls home, we decided that Brett had made it as far as he could for this camp session. We called his mother and arranged for her to pick him up while the other kids were at campfire.

While Brett—who by the way is a really good kid—and I waited for his mom at the gatehouse office, Andy’s counselor approached me and asked me if I could give him a minute. Out of Brett’s earshot, he told me that Andy would like to come say goodbye to Brett. Initially, I thought this was not a good idea, but the Lord had other plans. I said yes after the counselor’s persuasive argument, and he hurried back to the campfire pit to get Andy. When Andy arrived, he knelt down in front of a sad and distraught Brett, and lifted his head so that they would be eye to eye.

I will never forget the depth of compassion, grace and empathy these two boys shared that night. The words of comfort, caring, and courage that Andy offered to Brett where only possible because Andy had experienced the same authentic unconditional love here at camp when he faced a similar circumstance only a week earlier.

Camp makes a difference in kids’ lives. I saw it with my own eyes and felt it deep in my soul as these two boys embraced and said goodbye. God resides where children are free to love and live—that’s camp. That’s where you’ll find me.

 

Camp4Finding hope at camp

By Jeff Potts –

Camp is about giving kids hope—a new perspective about who they are and what they can do in this world. I made up an acronym to clarify my vision: Helping Obscured Potential Emerge. With God’s help we encourage  kids to see that they have unlimited potential in this world.

A few years ago, an 8-year-old girl with a disfigured face came to camp. During my first chapel I told the kids, “God loves you” and “God thinks you’re beautiful.”

Afterward, the girl came up to me and said, “God doesn’t love me.”

“Why do you think that? I asked.

“Because I’m ugly,” she said. “Even my family says I’m ugly.”

My heart was sad, but I smiled and said, “You know what? I know God loves you. He says he does, and God never lies. God does think you’re beautiful. And so do I.”

She shrugged and walked away.

At the final chapel of the week, we told the kids they could come up and speak to God about becoming part of his family. This little girl was one of many who spent time talking to God and receiving Jesus in his or her heart. We asked the campers to tell someone right away about what they did, so I went outside to wait for them to share with me.

One of the last kids out was this girl. She came over to me and said, “You know what?”

“What?”

“God loves me,” she said.

“I know,” I said, and we high-fived.

She turned and started to go, then stopped and turned around.

“You know what else?”

“No, what?”

“God thinks I’m beautiful!” She gave me a hug, turned and ran off.

Hope? New perspective? Yep, we can do that.  Amen.

 

Camp2Territorial youth secretary prays for camp

Join in praying for 2013 campers and staff

By Roy Wild, Captain –

I am excited for the upcoming summer camp season. Camp is a place where lives are changed—those of both staff and campers. It is a great opportunity to present the gospel to thousands of children from across the territory. I would ask that you join me in a prayer for the ministry of all our camps in the territory.

Lord, We thank you for the opportunity you have provided to minister to youth through summer camps across the territory. Please be with all the staff that will be working this summer and prepare them to be used to show your love to all the campers. Give them the words to say when talking one-on-one or in a group setting. Help them to be aware of their actions so that they will be the example of you and your love in all that they do. We pray that every child who comes to camp will know that they are in a safe place where they can have fun, create good memories, and—most importantly—see and feel your presence.

May you watch over the campers physically. We ask that they be safe.

We ask that campers who do not know you would come to know you in a personal way. We ask that sins be forgiven and souls be saved. May your blessing be on all that happens at the camps this summer.

Lord, thank you for hearing our prayer. We believe that you are going to do great things through the ministry of camp this summer. May you receive all the glory.

Amen.

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