Many parents ask why they should send their kids to camp. It is a simple question that generally springs from a healthy desire to protect their child. After all, many of us have seen the movies that depict camp as an out-of-control mass of mischievous campers being supervised by a bunch of irresponsible self-indulgent staff who are supervised by a bumbling buffoon. I can assure you that no camp looks like the typical Hollywood depiction. It simply isn’t the way it is.
Perhaps others have heard stories of campers who have returned home having experienced a less than ideal week. Perhaps homesickness or a bad cabin dynamic has affected their time. Those things are possible, but I can assure you with utmost sincerity that most of the time camp does campers a world of good!
What could be better than putting your child into an environment where they are gently challenged to face their fears, step out of their comfort zones and try new things? At camp they are surrounded by caring adults who are truly positive role models. Young people who have made choices to be the best they can and to make a difference in the world. What parent doesn’t want their child to have the opportunity to see real people, living real life, in a way that is healthy?
In short, I believe camp provides an opportunity for children’s lives to be changed. Think about these positive outcomes from a week at camp. (followed by quotes from campers and parents)
- Increased confidence – “I learned new things.” “I had a blast. It was the first time I’ve ever been away from home.” “I learned that even when things get tough, if I stick with it, I can succeed.” “I made a bunch of new friends.”
- New experiences – “I’ve never been in the wilderness before – wow it’s amazing.” “Riding the rocket was the BEST!” “Horses used to scare me. Now I love them!” “Even the duties were fun!” “The Blob is AWESOME!”
- Positive mentors – “I loved my counselor – Zach rocks!” “My counselor listened to me.” “I loved my counselor’s worships when she talked to us about life.” “My son can’t quit talking about his awesome counselor. Thank him for me.”
- Great memories – “I’m going to come for two weeks next summer!” “I think heaven is like Big Lake.” “I loved the campfire plays. They really made me think.” “This is my last summer at Big Lake. I’m going to miss you all – I love you!”
- Life perspective – “I don’t know what you people do – but my kids always come home more centered. With better attitudes.” “I never realized how much God loves me. I want to follow Him.” “I’m going to stop making bad decisions about my life.”
If you are wondering if you should send your child to camp I encourage you to call us and talk about it. We will do our best to answer your questions and if you like, we can put you in touch with other parents of Big Lake Campers to talk to them. Our ACA accreditation is a sign that we do care enough to do what we do well. If we didn’t, they wouldn’t endorse us. Is it possible that your child won’t love camp? Yes. Some kids just don’t connect with it and sometimes homesickness or a bad cabin dynamic can alter the experience -but it is unusual. Out of approximately 1500 campers each summer, usually less than a dozen report having a bad experience. That is less than 1%.
Talk to us. Talk to other parents. Do your research and due diligence. Then give us a try. You won’t be disappointed.