The Big Question: What does the camp staff do after summer camp?
Those of us in the camp industry are often asked, “So what do you do now that summer camp is over?” It is a question that we will sometimes turn into a joke, telling stories about how we lounge in our hammocks, read the comics, and try to identify the pictures in the clouds. However, in reality, this is a very important question. Our vision statement says that we are seeking to equip people of all ages to live a life of faith, something that cannot be accomplished in just the ten weeks that we call summer camp. Our ministry has to be more than that.
So, here is our legitimate answer to your question, “What do you do after summer camp is over?” While it would be impossible to tell you everything that we accomplish on a day to day basis, we will explain it in terms of our vision. What happens year round at Camp Wyoming that equips people of all ages to live a life of faith?
First, we run Camp Wyoming retreats. These are designed to reach a variety of demographics and provide a variety of faith-formation experiences. In a few months, we will run our Relevant retreat, designed just for college students who are seeking answers about practically living out their faith today. Our Join In retreat will teach youth about mission. Grand Camp is to help foster the relationship between Grandparents and Grandchildren and encourage multi-generational worship in families. Our Older Adult Retreat is designed to help adults learn how to use their spiritual gifts in the ever-evolving culture of the Church. We hope that this retreat ministry continues to grow as the years go on so that we can help equip even more people to live a life of faith.
Second, we host rental groups. While we don’t require these groups to be religious in nature, our facilities are often used for youth groups, PW groups, or other faith-based organizations who are looking to spend quality time together having fun and learning about their faith. At the end of this month, over 100 youth will attend a weekend retreat with several other churches to explore faith together outside of the limits of the church walls that usually separate them. Just recently, a Christian ministry hosted a retreat for its staff in order to train and equip them to reach out to children and youth in their community. Almost every weekend, a different group or ministry joins us here at Camp Wyoming, and we have the opportunity to provide them the space and materials they need to grow in their own faith and learn how to share that faith with others.
Third, we explore, challenge, and learn about how we as the staff at Camp Wyoming can further our ministry to equip people of all ages to live a life of faith. This means taking advantage of opportunities to continue our education and learn about things like ministry via social media, effective programming, church culture, and family ministry strategies. This means dreaming and fundraising about how to adapt our current facilities or build new ones in order to make our ministry more effective and allow us to reach out to a greater demographic of people. This means consulting with churches through Next Step Consulting and sharing what we know in order to help strengthen their children, youth, and family ministries.
Summer camp is just one part of what we do here at Camp Wyoming. For ten weeks of every summer, we live, breathe, and eat summer camp. However, in the other forty-two weeks of the year, we are still actively engaging with many different kinds of ministries, churches, and people. Our goal is to provide excellent programs, facilities, and resources year-round. That takes a lot of preparation, strategy, effort, and time, but it all serves to help us fulfill our vision of equipping people of all ages to live a life of faith.