Edit ModuleShow Tags

The faith-based camp experience



Camp Arrowhead

(page 1 of 2)

For Kirt Gittens, 18, Mountain View Christian Camp in Danville, PA has been an important part of his life. He joined his family at the annual all-ages session until he was old enough to attend on his own. When he outgrew camper age, he eagerly became a volunteer counselor.

“It was a really nice atmosphere that was loving and friendly,” recalls Gittens. “We had Bible studies in the morning and afternoon, but it was also a full camp experience with sports, swimming and other activities.”

Kirt and his three siblings, who live in New Freedom, PA, are the second generation of their family to attend Mountain View; their dad was also a camper there. “I didn’t have to worry about what else they were going to be involved with or be taught because I know the faith principles of the camp,” says mom Ruth. “It was just a natural fit for us.”

“We focus on the whole person, as far as body, soul and spirit,” says Mountain View administrator Jonathan Stassel. “We have sports activities for the physical side and for the emotional and spiritual side we focus on Bible lessons that are age-appropriate. We share the gospel clearly, but we also want to disciple and help people make wise decisions for the rest of their lives.”

Value-based benefits

Even as the economy forced some families to forgo summer camp over the past few years, enrollments at faith-based camps — day and residential camps that feature specific religious or spiritual values — remained steady. Like at typical camps, kids make friends, swim, enjoy sports and arts and crafts, but these camps add a religious component to the routine.

“Oftentimes, faith-based camps are nonprofit, which means they might be lower-priced or provide scholarships,” says Susie Lupert, executive director of the American Camp Association for NY and NJ. “Food preferences may be a factor. For instance, a faith-based camp may be a better option for families who keep kosher.”

The VBS Route

Faith-based camps tend to have their own campus and run summer-long programming. Vacation Bible Schools (VBSes), a popular, often free summer option, occur for one or two weeks at the church or religious institution that runs it. Click through for lists of area VBSes.

Delaware VBSes

Philadelphia-area VBSes

South Jersey VBSes

Many faith-based camps stress religious values over religious practice and welcome children of any faith. For example, while the JCC Camps in Medford, NJ is based on Jewish values, camp director Aaron Greenberg estimates that as many as 20 percent of JCC campers aren’t Jewish.

“Diversity is one of our themes this summer,” Greenberg explains. “That can mean many things, including different streams of Judaism; people who have no religion at all or those not of the Jewish faith; people with special needs; people with single parents or of same-sex marriages. We’re trying to make it clear in this day and age that everyone is different and we want to welcome everybody.”

Camp Arrowhead, a youth ministry experience in Lewes, DE also hosts campers of all faiths. “Our strong suit is sense of community and our commitment to physical, moral and spiritual safety,” says director Walter Lafontaine. “While some camps have kids choose the activities they want to do, we are a decentralized program where kids are in a small group with a counselor, and they participate in activities as a family group.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Help Your Child Overcome Homesickness at Camp

Many campers experience homesickness. Here's how to handle it from afar.

Great Camps You Can Still Sign Up For!

It's not too late to register your child for these fantastic local camps that still have space. Act quickly before they fill up!

How to Stay Healthy at Summer Camp

How can your child avoid illness at camp, and what should he do if it happens anyway? Get the answers here.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags


MK Memo

MK Memo: Moms Know
Mommy Brain

Mommy Brain

What causes moms to be forgetful, and how can you get your brain back?

Comments

Book Review: Passing the Bone: America's Next Pup of the United States

Book Review: Passing the Bone: America's Next Pup of the United States

This adorable children's book explains the transition from one POTUS to another but with a twist — here POTUS refers to the first Pup of the United States.

Comments

More Fun Facts About the Presidents

More Fun Facts About the Presidents

Get the facts about some of the earliest presidential elections in U.S. history.

Comments

An Overview of PoliticalFest in Philly

An Overview of PoliticalFest in Philly

Kid blogger Sarah Hullihen provides an overview of what you can see at PoliticalFest.

Comments

Fun Facts About a Few Presidents

Fun Facts About a Few Presidents

Learn some fascinating trivia about three past presidents of the United States from kid blogger Sarah Hullihen.

Comments

Edit ModuleShow Tags


MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
4 Tips To Help Your Child Disconnect from the Electronic World

4 Tips To Help Your Child Disconnect from the Electronic World

Not sure how to keep screentime under control? Mom blogger Raya Fagg shares tips from a parent coach on how to maintain reasonable limits with less push-back from your child.

Comments


MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
10 Reasons I Love Pokemon GO

10 Reasons I Love Pokemon GO

The first augmented reality game to hit the streets in a big way, Pokemon Go has it's share of opponents. Mom blogger Paige Wolf looks at the positive side of this popular game fad.

Comments


MomSpeak

The voices of local moms
50 Things To Do Without Technology

50 Things To Do Without Technology

Have fun as a family while completely unplugged!

Comments

{/if}