Okay, a couple of clarifications. First, not Harold Camping who just can't seem to get the date right for Jesus' return. Second, not pitch-a-tent camping. Our family's definition of camping is when the door opens to the outside rather than an interior hallway. Sad? Maybe. But don't judge.
What I'm talking about is engaging in the activity known as summer camp.
I'm a fan. As a church, we send our teens to youth camp every year. We send our late elementary students to preteen camp every year. And our family goes to Pine Cove Family Camp every summer. So I'm a believer. Here are a couple of reasons why.
1. It creates time and space. You're normally away from iPods, iPhones, iTunes, and other i-related things. Getting away from the "i" seems like a good regular plan. My sweet wife and I have a conversation at Family Camp every year than shapes our coming year and we never try to do so. It happens because we have the time and space to connect as a couple, reflect on our year behind, and look forward to the year ahead. For our youth, it pulls them out of their norm and lets them hear from God if they want to listen. I don't know of another environment into which they venture with that intentional thought as its foundation.
2. Even though they may be isolated from their normal world, they're also exposed to another world. They meet friends and others. They see examples of godliness and stupidity. They're often exposed to great teaching. They do have fun too. But it's all outside their normal context and, therefore, special and memory-making. What's more, God often rocks their normal world with this other world and some change (be it incremental or radical) happens.
3. Change happens in the lives of the campers as well as counselors. I love hearing how our adults come back from preteen camp and youth camp fired up. I was on the phone last night with my friend Chuck who works with Deer Creek Camp and he told me about the change that he saw happening in the lives of the college students who serve as counselors there.
So color me a fan. Not every camp is equal, I know. Some want to move away from the "camp high" altogether. As for me, I think it's a great idea and still holds a valuable place in the ministry of the church and the life of a family.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...