The Power Of Camp
Four days. What if that’s all it takes for something to happen that you’ve been praying for, maybe for a long time? A breakthrough. A turning point. A decision made. Custom Summer Camp is a lot more than kids getting together for fun and color wars and bubble soccer—though there is that, too. Summer Camp is all about creating an environment where students can experience firsthand, the life-changing power of Jesus Christ in their lives.
“One of the most important and moving times of camp,” says Danae Sischo, one of the Mount Pleasant Student Ministry leaders, “is campus-group time. After the evening service, staff get up and share something that stood out from the message, and then open it up for students to share. And they do! We schedule 30-45 minutes for this, but it is not even close to enough time! It can go on for hours.”
Students share personal stories about what God is doing in their lives, what they’re going through, how the message impacted them, and how they’ll be different when they return home. “After every single story,” she adds, “the room explodes with people cheering and clapping. It’s amazing. I grew up going to camp, and I’ve never experienced a testimony time like that, with everyone cheering one another on. It’s hands down my favorite part of camp.”
This year, for the first time, Custom Summer Camp was divided into middle school and high school, with one taking place a few days before the other. It was a great opportunity to address the growing number of students and make each camp more age-appropriate so that we could better help students feel included and comfortable.
“When students open up, we hear beautiful testimonies at camp,” Danae says, “like a student in foster care being adopted into not only a physical family, but making the decision to become part of God’s family.” Nearly 140 students took the incredible step to commit their lives to Christ while at camp this past summer.
That Might Be All It Takes
It’s a place where students can make and deepen friendships, and get connected. “If someone has a hard time getting through their story,” Danae says, “friends jump up and surround them, praying over them until they’ve finished sharing. They pray them through those difficult moments.” Students face a lot of tough stuff, like bullying, peer pressure, rejection, depression, and family trauma, but they don’t have to go through it alone. Group time has become so important that many students choose to skip the after-party in order to stay and share and support each other. Four days.
That might be all it takes.