Well, it’s camp time once again! We are so excited for the upcoming summer. I’m sure that you, as parents, are excited as well for your child to be coming to camp. For some of you, especially our first time families, you are probably feeling a little anxious, not knowing quite what to expect for your child, or how they will survive at camp without you.
Rest assured, they will make it through, and most of them will thrive in our camp community! Camp is one of the few places where children can begin to learn a sense of independence, and learn that they can make it on their own for a brief time. They also learn a sense of inter-dependence, building friendships with other campers from all over the country, all under the supervision of caring and loving young adults. It will be difficult for some of you to leave your child with us, possibly being the first time you have ever separated for more than a night or two. Realize that you are doing them a favor by providing them with the opportunity to rely on themselves, adults other than you, and God.
We are excited about what God has in store for each of our campers and staffers this summer. Thank you for entrusting us with your children. We look forward to their being with us soon! God bless!
Director, Ridgecrest Summer Camps
My church is going through some “aging” pains… sometimes I feel like I’m one of the “young people” at the church, and at the age of 56, that’s not a good thing! Our church has a lot of older folks, and then, surprisingly, a good sized youth group. That’s because our youth pastor has made a concerted effort to reach out to young people in the community, engage them in their faith, and get them plugged into our church community. For most of them, it is sad that their parents don’t come as well. Yet the teenagers continue to come, despite the lack of modeling by the parents.
While church by itself is not the point, it seems clear that God has chosen to use the local church to consistently draw both children and parents to His side.
I am thankful that I had parents that made me go to church, and they went as well. There were many Sundays during my childhood that I wanted to stay home and watch cartoons, or sleep late, or do anything but go to church. But our family was consistently there every Sunday, and it was a priority in our family. Because of that modeling by my parents, I went to church enough to learn about a Savior that changed my life!
If your family has made it a priority to be in church on Sunday mornings, then God bless you, and I’m sure he does! If your family is like so many families today that try to get to church every now and then, then I would encourage you to consider making church going a priority in the life of your family. Parenting, and raising children is a daunting challenge if faced alone. We pray that your family would find a community of believers that wants to pursue our God together… Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Good advice… God bless!
At Ridgecrest Summer Camps, we have a lot of great traditions that have been ongoing since the 1930’s. One of them, at Camp Ridgecrest, is singing “Tell Me Why”. Our old brochures indicate that this has been happening for well over 80 years! At Crestridge, our Council of Progress ceremony has been ongoing since camp started in 1955!
Songs, ceremonies, and other traditions are an important part of camp… and also of families! They provide a familiarity, a “down home” feeling, a connectedness between the past and the present. Traditions help to make us more comfortable.
Are you making sure your family has traditions? I remember as a child, one of our family traditions was to go to the Dairy Queen every Sunday afternoon after Sunday lunch. We loved the soft serve ice cream, which you couldn’t get just anywhere at the time. I remember one time my dad letting us get Parfaits in the conical plastic glass cup, which I believe at the time cost 25 cents! That was quite a treat, as we usually were allowed only the ice cream cone which was 10 cents. Am I showing my age?
Another family tradition we had was praying before each meal around the table. You might think that everyone does that, but I don’t believe that happens as much these days as it used to.
Are you providing family traditions for your family? Maybe you visit the park or do a nature walk with your children on a given schedule. Maybe you set aside a time for family devotions. Maybe a tradition started when you were a child has carried over to your family now that you are the parent. Whatever your traditions might be, find some that work for your family, and keep those traditions. It will help your family stay better connected, both now and in the future!
Ridgecrest Summer Camps
Having spent 35 years working in the camping field (40 if you count 5 summers in my hometown for three weeks each summer), one question I am often asked is “Have you seen a lot of changes in children/youth through the years?” The answer to that would be, “yes and no”. Of course children have changed, as the world has changed. Because of greater access to the world through television and the internet, I think children are a lot more worldly-wise at a younger age than they were 35 years ago. I believe this generation of youth take things a bit more seriously overall than we did when I was a child, or maybe it was just me that was less serious! The tendency seems to be to grow up faster than when I was growing up. I guess in many ways, this is a good thing, but we still need to make sure children have a childhood… and a positive one.
I still see lots of similarities in the children and youth of today and those of yesteryear. They still have a curiosity about nature and the outdoors, and want to learn about those things. The difference is there aren’t as many opportunities for them to do so in our urban/suburban lives. Camp is the perfect place for this! Young folks still look up to older kids and adults, and seek out role models to pattern their lives after. Some of them get lucky and find great positive role models. Others make poor choices for mentors and role models, and thus grow up with more negative influences. Again, camp can facilitate this need in their lives by providing counselors who are positive, loving influences. And most young people still have an innate desire to answer the question “What is my purpose here in this world?” What a tremendous opportunity we have to share with them about God and his plan for their lives!!!
Children will always be children, and will always be curious, crazy, concerned, and cautious… our role is to help them along as best we can, and to provide them with positive experiences that they can hold as a foundation as they grow into adulthood. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child up in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” There is no greater challenge, and no great responsibility than that.
Ridgecrest Summer Camps Staff 1976-present