Six years ago my wife, Jennifer, overheard discussion about that year's church camp. One young person complained about not having air conditioning in their dorm. Another didn't like the games and activities - and so the conversation went.
It struck her that the "church camps" being discussed focused on a selfish experience. What would happen if we had a church camp that focused on serving others? From that perspective, Camp Outreach was born. It is a great place for young people to meet others who share a common faith in an environment of service.
Camp Outreach focuses on four things:
1. Putting faith into practice through service to the poor, the hungry, the widows, the fatherless and the elderly. Whether it is putting a new roof on a house, painting, repairing bathrooms, yard cleanup - we help those who have a legitimate physical need. Donations to Camp Outreach pay for the materials and the labor is volunteer, so we can offer these services without cost to those whom we serve.
2. It is a family experience. In addition to the Christian "family" experience of working together with other believers, Camp Outreach is organized so individuals or an entire family can participate. One family last year year saw the grandmother sewing costumes for the children's drama, dad oversaw a work project, mom helped in the kitchen and the kids worked on service projects. Parents with small children helped out in "First Outreach" and their kids were with them through the entire camp experience.
3. We teach people about God our Father and Jesus Christ. Our "First Outreach" program is essentially a Vacation Bible School for young people ages 4 - 12. In the poor neighborhood we serve, many children don't go to a church and know little about God and His love for them. Last year we served more than 60 children in the neighborhood and had more than 100 people from the neighborhood come to an outdoor Sabbath service on the last day of camp. We also teach appropriate ways to share your faith with people in the neighborhood, as the opportunity arises.
4. We have fun. While working together in service to others is fun, so is talking with others over dinner, playing cards, going swimming on our activity afternoon or enjoying lively discussion about faith and our purpose. Sometimes "religion" can be divisive - serving others in loving atmosphere is enjoyable, uniting and creates great relationships and memories.
Applications for Camp Outreach and the 2011 Indianapolis Camp Outreach Brochure are available at www.NTEvangelism.org under "Camp Outreach." The application deadline is June 15, 2011. Can't come, but would like to donate? See the "Donate" tab to the left. We appreciate your prayers and your support?
Hope to see you there!
Hope to see you there!