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Sunshine. Beaches. Sleeping in. What’s not to like about summer? For some kids being out of school might be all the incentive needed to get excited, but parents know it’s good to have some sort of plan when it comes to the summer season. Are we going to the beach in July or am I sending the kids to church camp? Should I think about enrolling them in a day camp at the local YMCA? Although the summer will eventually feel like it flew by, planning a summer’s worth of activities is daunting at the start. One of the best ideas parents can consider is sending their kids to Christian summer camps. Whether that means signing up for your local church’s camp or looking into private camps like Kanakuk, there are a lot of reasons why you should consider Christian summer camps. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons versus other summer activities.
Christian Summer Camps vs. Other Summer Camps
Maybe you’re sold on the idea of sending your teens to summer camp, but you don’t know what differences there might be between a Christian organization and a secular camp. The most obvious difference will be in the rhetoric or program of the camp. It probably won’t be much of a surprise to learn that Christian summer camps tend to incorporate the Bible when it comes to themes, lessons, and daily activities. In fact there is a good chance that the Christian camp your child attends will have a “quiet time” in the morning for spiritual reflection as well as a sermon or time for worship music at night. That’s a lot of material that won’t be covered at a secular camp. Non-christian camps are more about competition, skits, and similar methods of promoting teamwork and spirit. There’s nothing wrong with those ideals, but it’s not quite the same as learning about Biblical truth. Just about any summer camp will be fun, so Christian summer camps mostly get the advantage when it comes to spiritual matters.
Another aspect of these camps to consider is the people running the place. For most church camps and private Christian camps, everyone on the staff from the camp counselors to the office workers have been chosen for their skills with children as well as their personal relationships with the Lord. You may find a Christian counselor at a secular camp, but you know that religious beliefs do not play a factor when hiring for a non-religious camp.
Christian Summer Camps vs. Day Activities
Perhaps you live in a city that is just the perfect size where there is plenty to do and without giant crowds. You might be thinking “Oh, I’ll just buy a few memberships to museums or the local zoo and be set for the summer.” First off, kudos to you for thinking of neat educational activities for your child to enjoy. These are excellent summer ideas that encourage getting off the couch to learn something. Better yet, there are a probably some museums and exhibits in your area that would be worth pursuing. On the other hand, though, you can only go to so many of these places before A) get bored with them or B) the costs get out of control.
So then you might be thinking about the local library, church events, or borrowing your sister’s family’s pool in order to mix things up and keep the price tag low. Again, we love where your head is at, but that sounds like you’ve taken up a full-time job as the social director of a cruise ship. These are great activities, but one of the great things about Christian summer camps is that they are one-stop shopping for a week’s worth of your child’s entertainment needs. Not only do these camps take care of your child and give you some time off, but they also care for your son or daughter’s spiritual needs as well. You can still check out the zoo or local library (That sounds fun to us!) but a week or two of camp will mix things up in a positive way for your kids and allow you to stop spinning one or two of those plates for a while.
Christian Summer Camps vs. Family Vacations
Speaking of having some good family fun, who doesn’t love getting out of town with the people you love? Family vacations are a staple of the summer experience. Maybe your family likes to go camping or soak up the sun at a nearby beach. No matter where you go, it’s the people with you who make it worthwhile, right? Not that we would ever discourage spending time together as a family, but there are certain differences for a child (as well as adults) between Christian summer camps and taking a family vacation.
One big change for kids is that Christian summer camps allow them to be away from mom and dad. For some kids this may be more enticing than others, but clearly this creates a different dynamic than a family vacation. Summer camp allows for your child to explore, make new friends, and learn exciting skills. You can do many of these things on family trips as well, but when you are (relatively) on your own, it takes on new meaning.
Christian Summer Camps vs. Vacation Bible School
If you’ve grown up in the church, then you probably know all about Vacation Bible School (or whatever your church called it). This weeklong summer event would bring in the children of the church or community for 5 days of crafts, skits, Bible memory, and more. In a sense, this experience has some similarities with Christian summer camps because it is all about learning, engaging with scripture, and making new friends. Where things differ from summer camps is A) Vacation Bible School is only about four hours each day and B) everything takes place on church property so it doesn’t foster the community isolation found at camp. For young kids, however, VBS is an excellent warm-up for church camp.
Christian Summer Camps vs. Another Week Home Alone
Let’s say your child doesn’t go to one of the great summer camps out there. What does that week at home look like? Another 5 days of sleeping in, watching TV, playing video games, and eating all the food in the house. Surely there’s more to a summer vacation than that. Instead of spending another week being lazy, what if your kids got out of the house and explored nature, learned about the Christian faith, and maybe even picked up a new hobby? Christian summer camps are wonderful because they challenge your child to learn, encourage him to make new friends, and allow him to try new activities. Technology has its place, but why not break up the monotony with an unforgettable camp experience?
No matter what interests your child has, there is likely to be at least one summer camp that is perfectly suited for him or her. Take music for example. If your child plays an instrument and wants to learn what it means to be a Christian musician, then a place like Camp Electric is exactly what she needs! Our instructors come from today’s biggest Christian bands and they want to help your child become the best they can be, musically and spiritually. Find out more by clicking on the banner below.