Camp & Retreat Ministries has released it’s Spring Newsletter “Xenia News”. To read the entire newsletter, you can download it HERE .
A note from the Director of Camp & Retreat Ministries:
“Why do we need camps?” This question was posed to me recently by a long-time Methodist who thinks that it costs too much and it may be time to do something other than “Camp”. I always thought I had done a decent job of answering this question in the past; but a magnificent poster that came in the mail two days prior from the Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA), helped me articulate the answer to this question better than I had previously been able to do.
Consider the following statistics as they relate to the development of the average child in the United States:
Children ages 8-18 years old spend an average of 7.5 hours per day on electronic media. That’s nearly 2,712 hours or 113 days every year spent playing electronic games, talking/texting on the phone and watching television or using a computer. 200 fast food commercials air during Saturday morning cartoons.
Only 33% of teens get enough exercise, and the average child spends just 4 minutes a day engaging in outdoor play. 5.4 million children 4-17 years of age are diagnosed with ADHD, 16% of 6-19 year olds are obese and 215,000 youth under the age of 20 have diabetes.
7.5 million homes are headed by single moms with another 2.5 million headed by single dads. The average U.S. child spends only 3.5 minutes of meaningful conversation with their parents each week.
Only 15% of the average church budget is for youth programs; and only 24% of church leaders view youth ministry as a priority
The poster referenced above suggested I go to a web site and check out a video called “The Power of Camp.” I was so pleased and impressed with this new web site and the material posted that I have already shared the link with a number of staff and supporters. With permission, I share it with you in hopes that you will continue to advocate for this transformational ministry of our annual conference. You may view the video at www.thepowerofcamp.org
• Transformed lives – At camp, young people have the mental room to consider some of the most important issues of life. This break from the craziness of their regular routine allows campers to think about their future, to evaluate unhealthy patterns, and to discover the truth that God loves them and has an amazing plan for their lives.
• Adult mentors – According to researchers, kids spend on average 3.5 minutes in meaningful conversation with their parents each week. At camp, caring adults, counselors and mentors come alongside campers, helping them think through decisions and experiences in a way that will prepare them for their future. Many campers point back to a positive role model they met at camp as one who helped shape the direction of their lives.
• Nature and adventure – Our camps are set in some of the most beautiful spots on the continent. Campers explore nature, participate in new adventures and test their limits in a healthy environment surrounded by the grandeur of God’s creation.
• Lifelong friendships – Good friends who exert positive peer pressure can make all the difference in a kid’s life. Friendships with caring adults and other campers, forged through shared experience and the compressed time at camp, can last a lifetime and provide a connection that helps young people navigate the challenges of life.
• Temporary Community – In a setting separate from their daily routine, with an opportunity to shed the expectations and pressures of others, campers are freed up to truly be themselves, to live above artificial limitations and blossom into who they were created to be.
You see … the power of camp is experienced by combining high adventure with caring adults, the beauty of nature and time to think without distractions, as well as the chance to be known and loved, which in turn creates lifelong friendships and changed lives. Camp is a temporary community where safe risks can be taken and important questions can be asked. A week at camp gives participants approximately 10,080 minutes of time away from the normal pressures of life to decompress, believe and dream. Caring adults help young people navigate the tough decisions of adolescence; and most importantly, these same caring adults listen and guide as these future moms, dads, church leaders, and world leaders discover their purpose and passion.
How do we put a value on such a profound experience for so many people? “Camp” doesn’t cost nearly enough for the value that it gives participants and leaders. What a small amount to pay for such a powerfully practical tool that enables the church to reach children and youth. I invite you to share this experience with someone who has not had it as yet. Contact my office to discuss the ways in which you may be able to assist in providing these experiences for others. The cost of camp is relative while The Power of Camp is transformational. .
Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries
To read the rest of the CRM Spring Newsletter, you can download it HERE
To download the poster referenced in Mike’s article click The statistics are referenced at the bottom of the poster HERE. To learn more about The Power of Camp campaign, go to www.thepowerofcamp.org