Today, I am at my favorite place on earth: camp! I have expressed my feelings about Christian camping many times in this column, but I do not apologize for expressing them once again. There are few places on earth that facilitate a more profound effect on a person’s spiritual well-bring and growth (whether they be young or old) than a summer Christian camp.
My love for Christian camping was instilled in me through watching my grandparents, George and Laverne Saunders. For about 25 years they served as teachers and counselors at two camps: Boiling Spings Youth Camp, located outside of Woodward, Oklahoma; and Black Mesa Bible Camp, located in the far western Oklahoma panhandle. My camping career began at Boiling Springs when I was just an eight-year-old kid. I would spend 5 summers at Boiling Springs before moving on to Black Mesa and White River Youth Camp, near Crosbyton, Texas.
Dale Hukle fanned the flame of my love for camping and introduced me to serving on a camp staff. When I was in Junior High, he started Camp Followin’, a camp in New Mexico and sponsored by Green Lawn Church of Christ. Beginning as an 8th grader, I worked at Followin’ as a staff member; I returned each summer until I was in college, eventually directing a few sessions.
When I was 16 years old, Dale brought me to Camp Blue Haven, in New Mexico, where he was the director. For three summers, I washed pots and pans at Blue Haven for up to ten weeks a summer. I was paid $10 a week for my labor, but I was blessed beyond measure. Dale later introduced me to Christian Camp of the Rockies in Colorado and Soul Quest at York College. I would also spend time as a staff member at Pine Springs Youth Camp in New Mexico and Quartz Mountain Christian Camp in Oklahoma, where I directed 7 camps.
Over the past 29 years of my life, I have spent a cumulative total of over two years at summer camp. Each week is better than the one before. Even at 37 years of age, I am challenged during each camp session I attend. The time spent with God is so rich, full, and uncontested at camp. The fellowship with other, like-minded people is a tremendous blessing at camp—I don’t know how many thousands of people I have met at camp.
Are you involved with Christian camping? There is always a role for you to play: in your attendance, in your leadership, in your physical and monetary support, your held is needed. Get involved. You will be blessed more richly than you can imagine.