Saturday, February 8, 2014

Four Ways Your Child Will Grow at Camp

As parents, it's exciting to see our children grow. You may have marks on a wall in your home marking their growth over the years. While physical growth is fun to track, it is even more rewarding to see our children grow in other, more important ways. For many, Camp Luther has been a part of that growth. Here's what I have seen:

1.  Campers grow in Self-Esteem
Camp provides an opportunity for kids to grow in self-worth. By trying new things, making new friends, and accomplishing challenges, kids gain confidence. When this happens in the midst of a caring, Christian community, it has an even greater impact. Young people who share their camp experiences with us nearly always speak of the love and acceptance they feel in the Camp Luther community; something that may be missing in other areas of their lives. At camp we seek to love and accept every person as a unique, special child of God. Most importantly, we want every camper to know how much Jesus loves them. That's where real self-worth comes from.

2.  Campers grow through Relationships
Whether we admit or not, we all seek to be in relationships with others. Imagine how your child will grow through interaction within a camper group: cooperating together, eating together, sharing new experiences, having fun, facing challenges, working through differences, and studying God's Word. This type of social interaction is vital in our world today where we often don't know our neighbors, where we separate into different rooms each evening, and rely on texting, Facebook, and Snapchat for communication. God meant for us to be in community with others. In the community of summer camp, children develop relationship skills as they have face-to-face interaction with fellow campers and their counselors. It's in these relationships where friendships blossom, hearts are opened, encouragement is shared, and Christian love is melded. And it's these relationships that will continue to be blessings long after camp is over. 

3.  Campers grown in Maturity
All children grow differently. Maturity may be one of those areas that lags behind as we watch our children grow physically. Camp helps children grow in maturity as they find themselves in real situations. Instead of relying on mom or dad, they begin to develop their own independence. Simple decisions like picking a canoeing partner or managing their canteen money for the week help children mature. Making the right decisions at camp with counselors as role-models can lead to kids making the right decisions at home, school, or the mall. After camp, many parents begin to see their children living out their faith and making the right decisions based upon their own belief systems, not just to please their parents. That is when parents begin to see real maturity.

4.  Campers Grow in the Faith and Knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 3:18)
We hope your child grows in many ways through their experience at Camp Luther, but
nothing is more important to us than your child growing in their relationships with Jesus. Daily Christian growth hour and devotions are just part of it. It's our goal to help children see how God is involved in all aspects of their lives. So we bring Jesus to the archery range, along on the hike for ice cream, and to the overnight camp-out. Counselors help children see Christ working in every area of our lives.  

Parents often tell me they see real changes in their children after camp. The Bible promises the "fruits of the spirit" through our faith in Jesus Christ. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23) 

As the Spirit works in our lives, those fruits become evident to those around us. As your child is immersed in God's Word and surrounded by Jesus' love at camp, they will be changed. They will grow!

Gary "Woody" Vought
Camper Parent, Former Camper

Monday, February 3, 2014

Our 2014 Theme

But grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.   
2 Peter 3:18

Our 2014 theme is Here We Grow!  Summer campers, family cottagers, and retreat participants throughout the year will focus on how we grow in Christ.  As the branch grows from the Vine, we grow as God provides the nourishment of His Word, forgiveness in the water of our baptism, and strength through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Just as the farmer expects to yield fruit from his crop, the Lord asks us to “bear much fruit” as his disciples in our congregations, communities and the world.  

We pray that all who visit Camp Luther and Keweenaw Base Camp in 2014 are built up and encouraged in their faith through this theme.    

Send your kids to Camp and watch them grow!
Gary "Woody" Vought  

Campers and Counselors Open Up About Camp

We received the following comments from some who participated in our recent Instagram contest.  Faith, relationships, and love are common themes.  Camp has had an incredible impact in their lives and their faith.  What was true for so many of us growing up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s is still true today.  Praise the Lord!

"There's a special feeling you have at camp.  A feeling you can't recreate back home.  A feeling that everyone surrounding you cares about you."

"I really learned more about God.  I grew and will continue grow in my faith. "

"Some of my best and favorite memories are from my times at camp.  Without Camp Luther I don't know where I would be today.
"Camp.....the place where you make lifelong friends and grow stronger in your faith all while making amazing memories."

"Never has a place made me feel so welcomed, loved, changed, worthwhile or beautiful."

"I was shown over and over again that I am loved."

"Never have I learned so much or grown so quickly.  This place changed my life while Christ changed my heart and taught me to serve."

"You don't have to worry about anything.  Everyone loves you for who you are."

"Everyone grows at their own pace, in their own way, but everyone should experience Camp Luther."

Thank you to everyone who responded.  Send your kids to camp and watch them grow!

Gary "Woody" Vought
Former Junior Counselor

Not Ready for Camp? Four Ways to Encourage Your Child

Let's face it, being a parent isn't easy these days. When your child is resistant to your plans for summer camp, you may find yourself in a difficult and delicate situation. While you may be excited for them to make new friends, have fun, and grow in their faith, they may be dealing with their own fears, nervousness, and peer pressures. No parent wants to force their child to go. If your child isn't ready for camp, here are some suggestions to help them warm up to the idea:
  1. Plan to go with a friend. Planning for camp with a friend or cousin can ease nervousness and provide that connection to home that your child needs. Discuss camp with the parents of your child's best friends.  Arrange a time to present the idea with all parents and children together. Going with a friend who has already been to camp could be a bonus!
  2. View camp photos and videos. Watch the Camp Luther summer camp video together and look at photos of activities, villages, retreat center, counselors, and campers. Point out the smiles, the fun, and the caring counselors. Help your child imagine themselves at camp.
  3. Involve your child the decision making. Involving your child in selecting the date, housing, travel plans, and filling out forms can give him or her a sense of ownership. Their participation in the decision making may allow your child a chance to prepare emotionally and psychologically for camp.  Making decisions about camp with your child rather than for your child may be the best 
  4. Pray. You may have many reasons for sending your child to Camp Luther. Hopefully one of those is spiritual growth. Get things off on the right track by praying for your child and their upcoming experience at camp. Ask the Lord for the right words and to open your child's heart as you talk about Camp Luther together.
Getting your child to camp is worth all your efforts. May God bless you as your encourage your child and prepare him or her for camp this summer.  

Send Your Kids to Camp and Watch Them Grow!
Gary "Woody" Vought