People often ask me why I love camping so much.
Camps are super fun, they create amazing memories and allow people to build incredible friendships.
Going deeper, at the centre of every camping journey is your personal experience – and my experiences with camps growing up inspired a love for them as an adult.
I remember going on my first Beach Mission as an assistant leader when I was 15. We started each day with worship and a devotion together before going to the beach to show God’s love through various community programs. Spending this week with a strong Christian community of leaders showed me what it is to be a Christian.
After that camp, I became more engaged with church and started reading my bible to keep growing. It was my experience on SU Beach Missions as a teen that led me on a lifelong journey of faith. This is why I’m so passionate about camps.
Camps give young people the opportunity to get a glimpse of God’s Kingdom. Camps are not an everyday experience.
Research from McCrindle and The Christian Venues Association shows Christian camps have significant positive impacts on faith formation*.
As camp leaders and church congregations, it’s important for us to understand the flow of a camp – there are three main stages…
1. The lead-up
As campers get ready to go on camp, they can go through many emotions – ranging from excitement to anxiety. It’s important that parents and camp leaders are aware of these emotions – and able to set realistic expectations for the child so that they are not caught off guard when they arrive on camp.
2. Not an ‘everyday’ experience
Camps can start off relatively similar to the ‘everyday’ we know, but when they get rolling and the camp’s community starts to grow, many campers experience God’s love – something they might not feel in the everyday.
3. Heading back to the ‘everyday’
When camp is over, leaders, parents and churches can support their young people by helping to welcome them back into the ‘everyday’. Life after camp can be a bit dull – so youth groups and social activities are a great way of helping young campers transition back.
Overall, the sense of community that develops over the course of a camp, and the time spent learning and growing in faith is transformational. My experience on Beach Missions at age 15 changed the course of my life, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.
Due to COVID-19, our normal SU Camps were not able to run in the Easter Holidays. For the Winter Camps Season we have moved to an online model – which we are so excited about!
We believe that having online camps will create an online community that will allow our kids to still have a peak experience – you can find out more at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sucamps/
About the author…
Jane has been involved with SU Camps and Community Outreaches for 15 years. She has experience as working as a chaplain and has a background in nursing. Jane currently works as the Camp Specialist for SU QLD, overseeing the camps and missions across Queensland.