Having spent the past twelve days at kids camps as a speaker, I am more of a believer than ever in the need to encourage kids and teens to attend.
Here are my top five reasons children's and family ministry leaders should attend camp attendance.
1. It allows kids to create "margin" in their lives by sifting out the routine. When the routine environment is changed up, we are often able to see more clearly and listen more intently. It seems that camp messages and interactions become louder when the normal chatter and static are no longer present.
2. It allows kids to personalize their faith. Many times, church kids especially, are the product of their parent's faith. Camp provides the perfect setting for kids to own their faith. It allows them to internalize faith issues. Camp allows kids the opportunity to articulate their faith in very personal ways.
3. It allows kids to see adults/mentors in real life settings away from the church building. I am convinced that one of the most valuable things that happens is when kids see mentors at play. Christianity suddenly may not appear quite so "staunch."
4. Friendships with other Christian kids is an encouragement. Many times the reminder that you're not the only Christian kid your age is needed. To develop friends with other Christians in this day of social media and networking, could serve to encourage kids who often feel alienated.
5. Camps often stretch kids. Staying up late, getting up early, living in close proximity with others, and other extremes are often the norm at camps. When kids are allowed to experience this environment, it allows them to develop necessary life skills.
How about you? Do you believe that camp ministry is an important building block in the faith development of a child? What are your reasons?