Oh No! What Are We Going To Do This Summer?
My family loves going to Bible camp as part of our summer routine. And when I say routine, I mean we schedule most other plans around camp. And when I say they love it I mean they LOOOOOOOVE it.
From the first week in July to nearly the last week in August, there’s a good chance someone in the Hagey house (and sometimes all of us) is attending one of the great Bible camps we’ve come to know and love.
The importance of Bible camps
Bible camps have played an important place in my family’s spiritual development. My wife was saved while attending an overnight camp as a young girl, and my oldest son chose Christ as his Saviour after being challenged by the teaching at one of the Family Camps we attend each summer.
Beyond the direct ties to salvation for the two of them, Bible camps have helped my family practice spiritual disciplines like memorizing verses, stretched our understanding of scripture through excellent Bible teaching, and developed lasting friendships with other believers we keep in touch with year-round.
Getting the sad news
Imagine our disappointment when we heard that all of the camps we would normally be attending are canceled this summer due to COVID-19. We hit all five stages of grief head-on.
- Denial (But there has to be camp!)
- Anger (I hate this virus!)
- Bargaining (But what if we wiped down the rooms really good after we used them?)
- Depression (This summer is going to feel like FOREVER without camp!)
- Acceptance (Well I guess we’ll just have to figure out something else for a holiday this year)
While we’ll surely be missing camp this summer, we are still keeping it front of mind and I want to encourage you to do the same. Here are five ways we can all support Bible camps this summer.
One of the most vital ways we can all support Bible camps this summer is to bring them before the Lord in prayer. We have so much available to us in Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
This seems like a great time to be asking and thinking about how Christ can still be glorified through Bible camps, even if they can’t run the way they normally would.
2. Pray for those who work at the camps
Pray for those who would normally be working at the camps, but can’t because they aren’t open. Pray for the children, adults, and families that can’t attend camps this summer.
Pray for Board members of the camps. I’m on a camp Board, and the decisions being made aren’t easy.
3. Parlance (Google it!)
Another thing we can do is keep in touch. My kids met many of their best friends at camp, and a lot of my closest adult friends are people from camp. Since we won’t be able to get together, in the same way, this summer we are finding other ways to do it instead.
We’ve found video calls (e.g. Zoom or Facetime) and group chats (e.g. Facebook messenger or Google Hangouts) work for our family, but there are lots of other ways to find out what is happening in the lives of your camp friends.
And keeping in touch doesn’t need to be limited to just camp friends, it could also branch out to counsellors and campers alike. I’ve counselled children’s camps the last few years and I’ve seen great connections made over the course of a week together.
You could be a real blessing to a camper or a counsellor by reaching out to them and seeing how they’re doing this summer.
A final thing we can do is participate with camps. While programs aren’t running like they normally would, some camps are still looking to provide a camp experience this summer. One example I’m aware of is Agape Valley Bible Camp in the Niagara region that is offering “Camp in a Box” this year instead of their normal day camp program (order deadline is June 14, so you need to hurry!).
I know some other camps are posting videos from their staff or program directors, and others are planning to have video calls with campers to try and provide a touchpoint for past campers. You may have already heard from a Bible camp near you about their plans, and I would encourage you to get involved.
Another way to participate with Bible camps is to donate. Many camps have practically no revenue coming in, but still have monthly expenses they can’t avoid. Expenses like utility bills, insurance premiums, and maintenance costs don’t go away even when the camp can’t accept guests. So one practical way you can show your appreciation is to donate to a camp.
Bible camps are a great spiritual resource that will be sorely missed this summer. While we won’t be able to attend them like we normally would, we can each play a part in their success this year and in years to come.