Lost at Camp Amusement

I know a boy who went to camp for the first time last summer. He’s not going back. This makes me sad. Here is his story.

I got out of the house, away to camp and the great outdoors. Here there would be many memories for my parents of their days of fun and play. The friendships they made at camp remain alive today, I hear them talk together. And I hear them talk of the inspiration they got to live for God too.

I like Camp because its outdoors. I like the big places to roam around and the dark star lit skies at night. It’s all so awesome. I received lots of fresh air like mom and dad said would be good for me. Mostly from going from one attraction to another and another, I remembered thinking that I learned somewhere – maybe Sunday school – that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but I felt like I was the one being herded.

Mom told me she remembered thinking that going to camp was better than going to Disney World. After awhile I wondered why I couldn’t go to Disney World; it’s all so similar I thought. So many amusements to keep me busy.  I wanted camp to be an adventure like dad’s stories led me to dream. About things like playing in the woods, exploring a river bank, hunting frogs, building forts with really cool counselors…just doing the stuff I never get to do on my street at home.

The camp counselors and staff were nice, like I was told they would be, but I never really got to know them. It seems they were always supervising at one activity or setting up for another while I stood in line. That is of course, when they weren’t herding us all out to check off the next big thing on the “must be done at camp list”.

The main reason for going to camp, I was told, was that it’s such a great place to find God and get to know Him better. Thinking back, I don’t think I had time to find God, if He really was there. I had no time to get to know my counselor, how would I have time to get to know God?

Oh, I heard about God. They taught me about God. Chapel made a big deal about making a decision for God. It’s the right thing to do I kept hearing. It’s kinda the same as making sure you follow all the camp rules and getting along with everybody, then everything is better. So if you make a decision for God, then everything is all right with Him too.

I thought about making a decision for God. But it seems there really wasn’t a choice to make. I’m already doing the right stuff. I have all this fun stuff to do. Everybody is good to me. Well, everything is good, so why all this fuss about deciding for God?

There you have it. He’s staying home this year. No hassles. He’s well taken care of and any amusements at camp can be found elsewhere.

 Sad. This is not camp as I hope it to be. I hope it isn’t yours either.

(It is true that there is a boy who made me wonder why he wasn’t going back to camp this year. He won’t say why, but as camp people we should be asking that question.)


About the Ordinary Hiker

A Christian camp director for many years, I enjoy ministry and being outdoors. I refer to God's creative wonder as the testimony of creation, a special place where God brings His word to life. Its where I like to be and where God speaks in His gentle voice in the awe of His creative work.
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2 Responses to Lost at Camp Amusement

  1. tedmanzer says:

    I hope that boy continues to be led to the Lord. The line about “all this fuss about deciding for God” is troubling. If we don’t place the Lord at the center of our life whatever we do in this brief blink of an eye is meaningless. I hope he eventually matures and realizes that. If he is continually shown a good example and not dragged kicking and screaming to God, maybe he will. Right now I’m with you. It’s troubling. Camps have to be fast paced or kids will find a way to get into trouble. I can see how a boy might be overwhelmed. There’s a delicate balance.

    • makingcamp says:

      I enjoyed the thought put into your comments Ted. I do hope to put a pause into our ministry thinking that those we reach out too are able to see Christ in us through the activity we are involved in. Sometimes we allow well intentioned activity to overwhelm our ministry. For the boys sake God will be faithful.

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