I love camp. However, the day-to-day routines of a camper take a lot of energy. Trust me, I know. I’ve been a teen camper for five years in a row, having attended first the Ohio camp and now the Texas one. That being said, the energy spent is much like the servant’s use of his ten minas in Luke 19: The investment is returned with exponential interest. The entire camp experience is filled with daily opportunities to grow in spiritual, physical, mental, and social abilities from the time you get up each morning to the time you go back to bed.
Every day starts the same way for campers: We wake up! This is the time to get out of bed, get organized, and get ready for the day. Having a good morning goes a long way toward having a good day. Once the dorm and its occupants are cleaned up and ready, it's time to head down to breakfast.
After breakfast, the first activity begins: Christian Living. These classes, coupled with the Evening Reflections, set the entire orientation for the camp experience. It's all about God and His way of life. Whether on the field, the range, or the dance floor, we are always encouraged to do the right thing and serve others. What makes camp so beneficial is this orientation toward God.
This orientation is bolstered for all of us by the fact that we are surrounded by teens of like mind. Camp lets me get to know one of the largest groups of LCG teens to assemble anywhere in the world! It's fun to meet my neighbors from all over the United States and the world as we fellowship during and after meals. We can also catch up with friends at any of the several dances or activities we may have together. Camp can also be used to make new friends. A great ally camp gives me in this quest is the dorm system. Sharing activities and living space with the teens in my dorm helps forge friendships that last for years.
Another aspect of camp that keeps me coming back is the collection of quality activities. I personally enjoy the sports. Basketball, flag football, volleyball, softball—they all are great, and it is satisfying to increase your competence on the athletic field. There are also many non-sports activities, which are a lot of fun. I owe almost all of my dancing and archery skills to the Living Youth camps. Tons of other activities are rotated in and out of the program year after year, and it is often pleasantly surprising what a great time you can have doing something you never expected to do. (Who knew leatherworking was so much fun?) The desire to do better than you did the year before makes you want to come back to camp year after year.
As mentioned above, camp requires investments of energy from every camper who wants to fully reap its rewards. Thankfully, camp has always done a great job of helping me keep that energy going. The atmosphere of enthusiasm, combined with the robust camp traditions, makes it easier to put Ecclesiastes 9:10 into action: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…."
Camp is great. For me, it has consistently been a wonderful experience that helps me enlarge the territory of my comfort zone a little more each year. It has also encouraged me to look to the horizon on my own, searching for new experiences and new people to add to that comfort zone.
I also really like the kind of guy I am when I am at camp. That's why I look forward to going back, every year I can—either as a camper, or, in the future, as a staff member.