Youth Camp… It’s Intense!
by Rob Brower • Editor, interlinc • Franklin, Tennessee
It was 2:30 AM when my phone rang. I recognized the name as a contact I had entered years earlier. Back then, he was high school student who had been assigned to my cabin during our District-wide Summer Youth Camp. As I always do at camp, I ended the week by praying for my boys and exchanging phone numbers, letting them know that I would continue to pray for them and that if they ever needed help or someone to talk to, they could call me… anytime. Now was that time.
His life had just blown up. He was in danger of being expelled from Bible college and his girlfriend of the last three years had just dumped him all because of an internet integrity issue (that he’d been struggling with and hiding since middle school) had just come to light. He didn’t know what else to do, so he called me.
As I had promised years earlier, I walked with him through the entire ordeal. First a conversation with his parents, both pastors, then counseling, and finally accountability including both software and a trustworthy mentor. He has since graduated, is now married (to a different young woman), and just accepted his first job in vocational ministry.
Sure, camp was a lot of fun. That summer we built a lot of memories riding horses, dirtbikes, and canoes. We played games. We shot paintballs (at each other) and arrows (at targets). We sang songs, heard from great speakers, and had great Bible-based discussion. But, most of all, we built deep trust and lifelong connections. I honestly don’t know what he would have done if he hadn’t been in my cabin that summer. But I sure am glad that he was.
That’s why I am excited to share with you the latest issue of Youth Leaders Only, with the theme of “Camp: Making A Lifelong Difference In Just One Week.”
As someone who has had the privilege of both attending and leading church camps, I can attest to the transformative power of these week-long experiences.
Youth Leaders Only, in its 38th year, helps youthworkers in thousands of churches be aware of the music their students are listening to, use all forms of music in their ministries, and equip their students to make wise choices about the music & media they have in their earbuds 9 hours every day. A membership costs less than the price of a pizza each month! The theme of the current YLO is “Camp: Making A Lifelong Difference In Just One Week.” Click here to get it!
In this issue, you’ll find a variety of resources that highlight the value of Youth Camp. Our Bible studies are based on songs and music videos from today’s top Christian artists, offering a unique and engaging approach to Scripture study. You’ll also find articles written by veteran youthworkers who share their insights and experiences from years of leading campers through faith-based activities.
But what truly makes this issue special is the focus on the long-term impact of camp including our special Camp Roundtable where I got the chance to talk camp with several para-church and denominational leaders. You won’t want to miss it!
While the memories we create during our time at camp are cherished, the spiritual growth and lessons learned can last a lifetime. As our theme suggests, it is possible to make a lifelong difference in just one week.
Whether you’re a youthworker, a parent, or simply interested in exploring the benefits of Youth Camp, this issue has something for you. I encourage you to read through the articles, use the Bible studies, and share your own camp experiences with others.
Thank you for being a part of our community and for your ongoing support of YLO. May this issue inspire you to continue pursuing faith-based growth and experiences.
Making Kingdom memories,