Christian Camps: A Vacation Investment
In the Picture of Dorian Gray, one of the characters observes that “nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” That quote was from 1891, but I would say it is truer today than it was back then. We live in an internet age where we can instantly compare the price of various vacation options in seconds, but just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it provides good value. In this article, I want to point out the great value of Christian camps.
Working and attending
My experience with Christian camps comes as both a worker and an attendee. As a worker, I have counselled overnight kids camps at three different Christian camps. In my 20s, I was a part of the organizing committee for Upward Bound, which is a two-week camp for young adults and includes intense Bible study and a canoe trip in Algonquin Park.
And in my early 30s I joined the board at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre (GBCC). As an attendee, our family has attended family camps in each of the past seven years and I can say firsthand that Christian camps provide great value. I want to look at how they have value financially, spiritually, and socially.
If you are planning a family vacation, one of the first things you likely consider is the cost. After all, there’s not a lot of sense planning a trip abroad if you can’t even afford the gas to the airport. From what I’ve seen, I would say that Christian camps are priced competitively with other vacation options.
For instance, I know several people who have rented a cottage for a week in the summer and have paid at least $1,000 to do it. For the same price, they could have attended a week of family camp at GBCC. And the price of family camp also includes the cost of food and program activities, which you won’t find with almost any cottage rental.
If price is a real deterrent, you may want to consider contacting the camp to see if they have any sort of subsidy available. I know of camps that have a sponsorship fund which is used to help reduce or even completely cover the cost of attending camp.
Another way many Christian camps try to ease the financial strain on attendees is by offering discounts for families sending multiple children to a kids camp or by having a maximum charge for a family camp (e.g. GBCC has a $1,200 family maximum).
To me, the biggest difference between Christian camps and other vacation alternatives is the spiritual value. Christian camps (especially kids camps) are the place where the gospel is preached and where many children make lifelong commitments to the Lord.
My wife is an example of this. She grew up in a home with great Christian parents, regularly attended her assembly’s Sunday School and mid-week Bible club, but ultimately put her faith in the Lord at a kids camp.
But the spiritual value of Christian camps goes well beyond reaching children with the gospel. Family camps are a great opportunity to come away from the world for a week and to sit under sound Biblical ministry on a daily basis. I have personally benefitted from having my spiritual batteries recharged while attending family camp.
A final value that may not be quite as obvious is the social value Christian camps deliver. If you’re like the vast majority of people, you are going to have at least one friend, and they are going to help influence what you think and how you behave. Christian camps are a good place to find others that are serious about the Lord and will be a positive influence in your life. Who knows, you may find a lifelong friend!
Since attending our first family camp seven summers ago, my wife and I have developed some very strong friendships with people that we either met or really got to know at family camp. It’s refreshing to talk to other Christians that are seeking to follow what God’s Word says and sometimes struggle to do it, just like us.
I believe the financial, spiritual and social value provided by Christian camps is well beyond other vacation options. As you are planning what to do for you summer holidays, I would encourage you to consider making an investment in your spiritual well-being and attend a Christian camp.
Ryan, his wife Erin, and two young children live in Kitchener, Ontario. Ryan is an elder at Bethel Chapel in Waterloo, Ontario, is a board member at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre and is part of the organizing committee for the Ontario Workers and Elders Conference.