Torch, Summer 1987

.. I The Psalmist said, '' Be still and know that I am God'' (Psalm 46: 10). At camp the time is available to practice this admonition. Find that private place by the lake or in the woods for the family to have a devotional time with God. 3. Christian camping is an escape from the confusion of the world ' s amusements. True, some of the amusement park/carnival-type thrills leave lasting impressions, but are they consistent with the admonition in Philippians 4:8 to think on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report? One mother responded that, at family camp, it was such a relief to allow her children freedom to move about the camp without fear of exposure to immoral influence or possibility of harm. More and more families are concerned about protecting their children from people with evil intentions. 4. The outdoor setting provides so many things to do that only the most indifferent person would find it dull. Families can create fun apart from TV , radios, video games, tape players, and comic books. Today, adults and children alike are being robbed of the excitement of using their own initiative to have a personal sense of achievement and use free time meaningfully. Interpersonal relationships are built through doing things the whole family enjoys. These things last. Being at camp will allow time to play with the children, to help them develop an interest in creating fun from natural or simple things. Children will see Mom and Dad as real people who love their kids enough to want to spend time with them. How about a nature walk? Get excited over something the child notices for the first time. Be an expert nature guide to the children with just an "Oh, let's see what you ' ve found. ' ' Help them play in the water, learn to fish , practice hitting a ball, prepare a family skit or a family banner for a camp parade. Family partici– pation begun in a camp can be carried back home to be incorporated into the more routine schedules. 5. Chapel speakers give biblical instruction on a walk with God as it relates to personal and family life. Even those who have heard similar messages say they find new help in evaluating their family in the different setting. There is always room for improvement. The group sessions often are divided into classes for various age groups. This is a meaning– ful experience to the children and provides some relief for the parents. Children need time to be involved with others of their age under staff lead– ership. A new voice in a different setting contrib– utes to their learning process. Be careful, though , of a program that tends to separate the members of the family too much of the time. Sometimes the tendency to take the natural way of departmentalizing all the age groups means that the only real family activity of the week is the travel to and from camp. 6. The informal Christian fellowship with other families of like values is a special investment of time. There is time to discuss a variety of family issues, sometimes for answers and sometimes just for encouragement by finding that others are doing things the same way. Children benefit from this interaction as they see that there are other families very much like their own. As you consider family camp, you are considering an investment in your most valuable resource: your family. And as the family is strengthened, so is the local church and the cause of Christ. Family camp requires very little preparation. Housing is available, but those who enjoy a travel trailer or tenting usually can find a place to set up. Mom and Dad should prepare the family for the camp experience by ' ' talking up '' the whole idea. Plan together what things the family will want to do together. The planning and anticipation intensifies the potential of the experience. While at camp, do things that will help retain the benefits. Pray and work for spiritual growth in the family. Together set some new goals for the ensuing months following camp. Back home use illustrations from camp in current teaching. Photographs and craft projects will help to remind everyone of the new friends and the good times. While it may seem easier to go to family camp with younger children, camps recognize the needs of teens, and they can have a good time, too. As Christian parents seek to produce children who will live to the glory of God in a society which will seek to thwart their every effort, Christian family camps stand ready to help in that endeavor. As God is honored, this kind of vacation can have eternal benefits. Rev. Eldon Brock brought 20 years of pastoral experi– ence to the Regular Baptist Camp at Lake Ann, Michi– gan where he has served as administrator for 16 years. He is Executive Administrator of Regular Baptist Camps of Michigan, Inc., Chairman of the National Association of Regular Baptist Camps, and a board member of the Foundation for Excellence. Associate Editor's Note : As a special Christmas present in 1985, my husband and 1 invited each of our three children and their families to join us during the family camp week the following summer at Scioto Hills Baptist Camp in southern Ohio. The Lord arranged the work schedules and children's activities so that all 13 of us were able to go : grandpa and grandma, sons and daughters, and five grandchildren with another on the way. The young families took over the planning with great enthusiasm. All who were able memorized Romans 6 before camp , and each adult had a prescribed number ofpounds to lose! We talked aboutfamily camp for eight months and, when the eventful departure day finally arrived, we drove caravan to the camp . That week, the Lord heaped blessings upon us and brought us very close to Himself and to each other. Fellow grandparents, I heartily recommend that you consider this type of vacation for your loved ones. 13