Eastern Shore has many members, young people and older, who are at youth camp this week. Some are at Backwoods, near Rockford, Alabama and others are at Indian Creek, near Jasper, Alabama. Across the nation, young people are taking a week off from everything else and heading to Christian youth camps. There are at least four major youth camps in Alabama alone.
Why leave the comfort of home for camp?
There is a camaraderie among campers that is greater than that seen almost anywhere else. During a week at camp, young people live, study, eat and play among other Christians with similar values. For some, they will associate with more Christians at camp than at any other time in the year. Even those who participate in team sports at home know that the close-knit friendships at camp far outstrip the single purpose friendships on a ball field.
We, first of all, have fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 13:14). Next, we enjoy fellowship with other Christians (Acts 2:42) but reject uneven fellowship with the world. As Paul asked, “What fellowship has light with darkness?” Good question!
Our campers spend hours in Bible study. Like fellowship, many will spend more hours in the word this week than at any other time during the year. Bible class teachers are chosen for age-appropriate classes that are based on the word of God. All teachers accept the total inspiration of God’s word and teach with the authority that comes from Scripture.
We try to prepare our campers to “give an answer” for any Bible question they may be asked once they return home (1 Peter 3:15). We take seriously, and we teach our campers to do the same, Paul’s admonition to “Study…” God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15).
No, I am not talking about baptism, at least not at this point. I am talking about a week immersed in Christian thought and teaching. In the mornings, campers may be involved in early morning devotionals. They enjoy their meals with thanksgiving to God. During sports activities, they play according to the Golden Rule as well as the rules of the game. Bible studies with qualified teachers mark out the day while prayerful worship begins the evenings. A final large group devotional ends the day while a last devotional and Bible discussion is held in the cabins just before bedtime.
The original Christians enjoyed an immersive faith (Acts 2:42-47). We strive to make sure our campers do too.
And yes, it is fun. Whether we are stirring the purple soup or listening to the harmonious melody of Butterbeans, we have a good time. We cut up and carry on – but never do pranks – in a wonderful time of real fun. Try as we might, we shall never forget some of the skits that have masqueraded as art. We shall never eat with our elbows on the table again and our sides still split when we think of the pink monkeys, a bar of soap and a typewriter!