Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.
Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.
These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.
Recently, they had a week at of camping at Sherwood Forest and Adventure Camp at Westminster Woods and had a blast! They can tell you all about the activities, their counselors, the games, the pool, Robin Hood visiting, "Captain Crazy", and the friends they met. They will tell you about Bible Study and Campfire speakers if asked, but what sticks is the friends.
However, I believe they are linked. Weaving faith together with living as YOU (not the you, you might pretend to be to fit in in school) in a community that celebrates your "kid-ness" and doesn't try to make you grow up into a good, contributing, well behaved adult.
A friend who worked with me at Heartland Center, Michael Megraw (their current Program Director) once said, "You know Brian, what does it for me is the fun. If we can make faith fun for kids, that's what makes it work." There is wisdom in that that will stay with me.
Of course we need to keep our message reformed, our programs high-quality and good value, and our counselors well screened, well trained, and well supervised - but if we can do all of that and make it fun, God will do the rest.
The Spirit is alive and active at camp. If we can get out of our own way, let the Spirit work, let kids be kids and celebrate that, we can not begin to fathom the life-changing experiences that are happening - and we don't even get to see the fruit of most of the seeds that are planted at camp! But they are growing. I truly, deeply believe that.
Here's some of that fun reflected in the faces of my two favorite campers (yes, I have favorites!)