Growing up I always looked forward to attending summer church camp. It had log cabins, a pool, horses, archery, etc. The best part of camp were the counselors who worked hard at building relationships during the short camp period. I always left camp feeling like I was loosing my best friend.
As fate would have it I was at camp the week America got to see the final episode of the TV show “The Fugitive”. While I ate ice cream at the canteen everyone else was watching Dr. Kimble catch up with the one-armed man who had murdered his wife. I’ve never seen that last episode, yet I know how it ended, and I know I can rent it on DVD (hint: great Birthday gift idea). That night, that summer, I let my anger get the better of me when I discovered that no one was going to let us watch TV. My counselor spent several quality hours alone with me as we stumbled alone in the dark with our flashlights. Somehow we ended up sitting on a log near the archery targets and I knew it was long past “lights out”. That night he made sure I understood that Jesus was so much more important for my life than a missed TV show. A Kodak moment I’ve never forgotten even though I can’t remember the counselors name.
The year of the “greased watermelon” is perhaps my favorite summer camp experience. That year the counselors took a watermelon and smothered it in lard and then threw it in the pool. The object was for each team to wrestle in the pool with each other and the greased watermelon and somehow at the same time manage to get the watermelon into the net at the end of the pool. Boy was that fun; pure jungle warfare! We had such a blast that the fact I was on the team that lost didn’t seem one bit important. Later as we sat around the campfire each counselor stood up and shared a personal story. Listening to each of them was mesmerizing and the message was simple. They loved us and wanted us to realize that our lives at times might seem just like if we were wrestling with a greased watermelon. They made it clear that the only solution (solvent) for our lives was Jesus; He could clean all that gook out of our lives. Another Kodak moment I’ve never forgotten even though I don’t remember a single counselor’s name.
I’m a grandpa now. It is the critical message that I remember from those happy days at summer camp. Not once during all those happy memories did I ever think about the kids that never got to go to summer camp. Now as summer draws close I think about the many kids who will not get to build Kodak moments and listen to stories and lessons told by passionate, dedicated young men and women; stories that impact lives and make a real difference.
Each year many kids never get this wonderful experience. We can help!
Below I’ve listed just a few links that will take you to an opportunity where you can easily make a difference in the life of a child. I’m familiar with each camp; each is sponsored by folks that love kids so much that they desperately wish they could give those kids who have so little just this one opportunity to hear about Jesus while helping them develop their own Kodak moments.
I’d love to hear about your own summer camp experiences. Help those who help kids this summer – send a kid to camp. Drop me a line if you can help.
• Central Union Mission/Fellowship of Christian Athletes : This year Central Union Mission is partnering with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (DC) to send inner-city children to camp. Join them on June 7 for their 2010 Golf Tournament. The funds raised from this tournament will provide scholarships to send inner-city children and youth to either Central Union Mission’s Camp Bennett or Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) sports/leadership camp this summer. Click on the above link for detailed information or contact Don Woodall (703) 250-1096 or Deborah Chambers (202) 745-7118 xt 227.
• South East White House & Southeast DC Partners: A 6-week safe, structured environment is provided for the children of the Randle Highlands community (SE DC). Consistent activities and outings as well as two hours of classroom instruction each day help the children improve learning skills while having fun and experiencing new things. Contact (202) 575-0214.
859 House (No Link): Serving the NE DC community of Carver Terrace, summer camp is offered during July. Consistent fun activities allow the children to have fun and experiencing new things. One special need is for funds and/or buses that can make a dream reality. 859 would like to spend one day each week during July to take neighborhood kids out of their neighborhood to places like Kings Dominion, Luray Caverns, VA Beach etc. Transportation is needed for each week for 100 kids. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Camp Dynamite: This 2 week camp is offered by DC Christian Ministries/American Missionary Fellowship and is primarily for urban youth but senior citizens are also given an opportunity to join in. It offers all the things associated with camp and includes Bible stories and getting opportunities to know who Jesus is. Contact: (202) 277-2601