Raise your hand if you've ever been to summer camp. I know I have. I have been to camp every summer since I was seven years old, and before that, I attended day camp. As a teenager, I am phasing out of the whole experience and what an experience it has been. But it wasn't your typical summer camp. My parents have always had me attend a Christian camp.
When most people think about a Christian camp, they tend to drift to what one would think of a Bible camp. However, it is so much more than that. My summer camp experience was an exciting adventure of unforgettable memories. So, what exactly does a day at a Christian camp look like? Well, I'll tell you.
Now, before you go and think all we did was sing bible songs and sit around reading a bible all day, you'd be mistaken. Yes, we had Chapel twice a day, and instead of constant non-stop activities like archery, canoeing, or horseback riding, we would pause and break up into groups to discuss our faith more deeply. But it was a time we all enjoyed. We still got to participate in all those fun activities and more. Still, we got an element most camps do not: we got to experience true camaraderie with our fellow campers because almost all of us had the same foundational faith. Most of the best friends I have made have come from camp and our daily experiences together.
We would wake up at 7:00 every morning, make beds, and clean our cabin. This was a must at camp because it taught us responsibility and how to be a good steward of our surroundings. Then we'd all walk down together as a cabin to the dining hall. There, we would eat your typical amazing camp breakfast with way too much syrup poured on it, and then we made our way to the Chapel.
We'd sing songs, listen to the speaker talk about the word of God and encourage us in our faith, and then we'd breakout into our cabins for a deep dive into what we just learned. From here, we'd then get to bust into a fun cabin activity, and this could be anything from tubing the river to heading to the arts and crafts barn where I, for one, would be reminded why I failed art.
After our cabin activity, it'd be time for lunch. So once again, we'd trek down to the dining hall to eat another not-too-healthy, yet delicious, meal before we'd have free time. Free time was the absolute best. We could roam and do whatever activity we could come up with. Some of my best memories were made during free time, trying to make sure we did just enough to have an epic story but not enough to get scolded by a camp counselor.
Once the whistle blew and free time was over, we'd meet back at the cabin, where our counselor would be waiting to ask us about our afternoon. We'd talk and laugh as we headed down again to the dining hall for the last fantastic meal of the day before heading back to the Chapel to wrap up the evening.
For me, the night chapel was always the most moving experience at camp. The songs and messages consistently hit harder, and more than one moved me to tears as I took steps deeper into my faith. Night chapel was a time of reflection and moments of silence as we grappled with life's real issues. Then we'd all walk slowly back to our cabins, trying to soak up as many last minutes as we could before it would be lights out. As I drifted off to sleep, excited to see what the next day would bring, I would say a silent prayer thanking God for the day and the opportunity given me to be at such a wonderful place.