“Camps do so many things well in terms of faith formation and the making of disciples, so there is a strong future for most,” said Dr. Paul Hill in Future of Camping: Innovation for Renewal. “It will not be easy, but within the DNA of our camps resides innovation and catalytic energy. God will use both to serve God’s Kingdom.”
Jennifer Gabel, associate director for Camp Blue Ridge in Montebello, Va believes that the camp model naturally and effectively mentors and disciples those who attend and that its one of the churches greatest assets in growing and developing leaders.
“For most of our staff, camp is their first job,” said Gabel. “While it will potentially be the best summer job they will ever have, they quickly find it can be one of the most exhausting too.” They soon learn that there’s more to camp than just playing with kids. Camp grounds need to be maintained and many little things need to be done in order to make the summer successful. “This is often hard work,” she adds, “but it’s where camp excels at developing young people. Holding staff accountable and maintaining a safe place to make mistakes goes a long way in preparing them for leadership and excellence in their future. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch them as they start developing their own leadership styles. One summer can make a tremendous difference.”
Robert Faber, a staff member from last summer said, “I’m at the place where I’m beginning to make decisions that will determine what I want and get out of life. Camp Blue Ridge broke me out of my mold. It’s cool to know that there is more to life than the stereotypical view that we grow up to believe. The journey now is finding what that means for me.”
Summer staff members often indicate that a major reason they want to work at camp is to make a difference in the lives of campers. Most say a staff member made a difference in their own life when they were a kid and and they want the privilege to do that for someone else.
“There is something intoxicating about being a part of something greater than yourself,” Gabel said. “It is the privilege to invite these young adults into leadership. It’s wonderful to see them work, grow and teach campers about life, and more importantly, about Jesus.”
Summer camp is starting soon, so be sure to enroll soon!