We are “camp people.” Camp people tend to get a little excited. We get excited over grilled cheese Wednesday, silly songs, and rubber chickens, but most of all – we get excited about camp. We get jump-up-and-down, bang-on-the-table excited because people meet Jesus at camp. People find out what love is really like at camp. The most honest forms of confidence, peace, leadership, friendship, and purpose are discovered and built at camp. Disciples are made at camp.
Sam and I decided it was our job to get other people excited about camp too. The words “summer camp” don’t always carry the same authority as “international mission trip,” but camping ministry is transforming lives, and we want people to see how diverse and relevant it is. We want churches to take mission trips to their local camps. We want parents to see the matchless opportunity there is for their kids at camp. We want kids to think camp is the coolest thing ever.
So, the Camp to Camp project was born.
Beginning in January 2017, we set off to discover and document the big things happening in camping ministry. Following God’s (not so gentle) call, we moved into a renovated 1976 Dutch Craft camper and began traveling the US from camp to camp. We seek to work alongside the staff, serving in whatever (we mean whatever) capacity, as we learn and experience the culture of each camp. Along the way, we are writing (Sara) and filming (Sam) to show the world, through our eyes and the stories of others, that camp is a transformational force.
We have many hopes for this project, and our goals are constantly evolving as we experience more. On the inside, we hope to serve as vessels, being filled with the knowledge, creativity, and passion of others to be able to share with and develop the camping community. On the outside, we hope to get people talking about camp. There is an earnest hunger in our culture for more of “the good stuff,” and we believe that camping ministry has so much to offer. We intend to be the people shouting from the mountaintops about all the things God is doing through camp. And personally, we have only known one camp (Wesley Woods, PA). We grew up there, worked there, lived there, got married there – it is truly our home. But we want to know what else is out there and we thought the best way to learn would be to go.
In the first two months, this project has already grown our love for camp – something we didn’t think was possible. The people we have encountered are humble servants of the Lord and have shown us so much love and encouragement. We are learning more than we know how to process, but trying to share some of the cool ideas along the way through social media. Right now, we are trying to start a bigger conversation. How do we make camp “normal’? How can we be integrated into society and be something everyone is talking about? We don’t know yet, but as we build this project and our audience, we hope to find more ways to make camping ministry something everyone is excited about.
If you’d like to come along with us on this adventure, you can visit our website at fromcamptocamp.com. There you’ll find our blog, links to our social media profiles and YouTube channel, and our contact information. We’d love to hear from you!
Sam represents the Northeastern Jurisdiction on the UMCRM Association Board of Directors. After meeting them at the National Gathering in Texas, we’ve already been blessed by Sara, as well. Thanks for bringing us all along on the Camp To Camp adventure!