As we’re nearing camp season, I wanted to invite you into the journey.
You see, for many of my campers, it’s packing the night before, doing a few fundraisers, and a week of no sleep and nonstop activity.
But for many of the leaders (myself included) the journey to camp is an ongoing process.
It’s a relationship that is formed and sustained by constant interaction, consistent mentoring and intentional investment…. Not in one, two or even twenty kids. For us, this year, it’s almost thirty kids that we’ve been loving on and investing in with the hope that someday they might look back and see Jesus’ handprints in their lives through this relationship.
It’s months and months of planning… Even though all of the programming is done by the YFC national team, that doesn’t mean our team is off the hook. We spend months planning fundraisers, planning pre and post camp activities, building times that will grow the group closer to one another, months of praying and filling out spreadsheets, hunting down parents for forms to be filled (thanks to the few parents who ACTUALLY come to the parent meetings (I love you more than you know!)
And months of working hard to raise enough money that every year, every student who wants to come, has the opportunity and doesn’t miss out on a life changing opportunity because they cannot afford it.
So why YFC CAMP? When there are camps that are closer or more affordable?
Great question. I’ve been taking groups to camp for four years and for four years I’ve been begging for others to see the vision that I see, with YFC CAMP. I could bring my kids to a closer camp, or one that is more reasonable in price BUT YFC camp is intentionally programmed for teens who are far from God, lost in their identity, and may not even have a desire to have a relationship with Jesus…. It’d be pretty challenging to get these kids to sign up for a church camp in Wisconsin [let me be clear, I’ve been to a LOT of church camps, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, and they are great and I wholeheartedly support their mission! …But my kids would probably spend the week vandalizing bathrooms and writing naughty words on bunk beds].
But YFC CAMP goes the extra mile to provide an incredible experience for the teenager who would never otherwise step foot in a church… all with the intention to introduce them to the Life Changing truth of the Gospel throughout the entire week.
They don’t spend hours planning a crud war just to wreck the premises or destroy my teens’ only pair of tennis shoes… They plan the crud war to set up the speaker for the week to communicate the unshakable truth that Jesus sees our mess and He still loves us.
I really don’t like asking people for money. Ive worked for as long as I can remember and understand that we work hard to be able to provide for our families and to make a difference in things that matter to us.
That’s where I’m at on this journey…asking people, sometimes daily, for money… Not for me but for those that are important to me.
For Angelica, who spent her life in and out of foster homes, who needs to know that she has been Adopted as a child of God.
For Chloe, who was adopted as a baby, but instead of seeing that adoption as a gift, feels rejected and abandoned and needs to know that Jesus Christ will never leave or forsake her.
For Trinity who has experienced unimaginable pain as a young child and needs to know that Jesus can redeem and restore. That she is worthy of love and He calls her by name.
I could list thirty names and thirty truths that I DAILY hope will penetrate my kids hearts and minds and I will do whatever it takes to help provide an experience that will lead them to the life changing love of Christ.
Sometimes, I know its true, they can be open to a relationship with Jesus while at home and engaging in community but a lot of times, CAMP is the open door, the beginning to an introduction that can change the trajectory of (not only their lives) but their eternity.
So yes, I’ll ask you…even beg you for money… Because ultimately it’s all God’s anyways. But also, because one of the greatest joys in life is generously impacting someone’s life… But the main reason? Because each and every one of my kids is worth it. They are worth the planning, the preparation, the form-filling, parent-chasing and money-begging. Their eternities are worth it. Their identity is worth it. They’re hope is worth it. They are worth more to me than my pride.
Besides, who knows who these teens will grow up to be?
They can be your children’s teachers, mentors, politicians…They are our future leaders and this one week at camp really does have the potential to change everything.
Thank you to those who have already helped us sponsor some of our teens…you are THE REAL HEROES in my book. And for those of you, who want the great responsibility of impacting a life for Good…even the life of someone you may never meet, you can partner with us here: