Some people ask me if camp is a waste of time. Every summer since 2005 Oceanside Church has taken its youth group to camp. We always create memories that many of these students will keep for the rest of their lives. Camp, It's kind of a big deal. Let me tell you why.
1. Students' Lives are Revitalized: This is the part that parents look forward to the most. I actually have parents who force their kids to go to camp. They know their student will be different when they return. The tricky part is making that revitalization last longer than three weeks (But parents will take what they can get). Every year there are some that are changed forever.
2. Students' Lives are Changed: It's usually the ones I've written off as hopeless. Shows you what I know! There has not been a year where someone didn't come to know Christ while at camp. It's the ones you would never expect.
3. Students Go to Camp thinking Being a Christian is Lame, But they Leave Knowing Otherwise: We've had so many students go to camp and be miserable when they first get on the bus. But when camp is over they don't want to leave. I like to think it's our amazing road trips, but if you know anything about us traveling back and forth to camp... well, we'll leave it there. I think I'll write a post about the many unfortunate trips to camp. But we always make it alive!
Classic Oceanside Camp Road Trip Pic, I have titled it "It Broke Way Down There."
4. Students Learn Real Worship: Worshiping Christ is something that is difficult for a student to do. It requires them to leave their bubble of safety, participate, and connect with God. HA! Most of the time I'm shooting for one of those. Getting all three is the unicorn of youth ministry. It's rare and beautiful when you see it. Many students will come to camp and for the first time actually connect with God in a meaningful way.
5. Students Learn Valuable Life Skills: Every student needs skills, and I mean more than nun-chuck and computer hacking skills. (Read that sentence again, except like Napoleon Dynamite) I'm talking about skills that help them through life. School, work, and even home can be tough places to be a teen. We work hard to equip them during camp.
6. Students Build Relationships That Last: Year after year the unlikeliest of friendships pop up. I'm surprised every time. I think it must be all the crazy games we torture them with. They say hardship creates strong emotional and spiritual bonds. This year we're waterboarding everyone (I keed, I keed).
7. Students Get Prepared for Another School Year: Parents, school work is the easy part of high school and middle school. Every year our students are forced into an environment that tries to bring them down. And I'm not just talking about public school. Please don't send your kid to school unprepared.
This year won't be any different. We're bringing our largest group yet, and I'm excited to see what God is going to do in the lives of 40 students!