The word itself carries many connotations and emotions.
For some, it means the adventure of sleeping in a sleeping bag, eating half-cooked hot dogs, getting eaten alive by mosquitos, waking up with a sore back, and heading home stinky and tired. For others, it means all those nostalgic summer nights. Nights that they spent with their friends eating way too much sugar, giggling until the sun rose, swimming and fishing in the lake, making new friends, and heading home exhausted and excited. And for others, camp is a place where they met God, where they moved out of their comfort zone to experience camaraderie and a community they have never felt before.
Camp can be all these things, but it can be so much more. Camp is much more impactful and holds a much deeper purpose than what we see on the surface. It can be described as a liminal event. Liminality is a word that is foreign to most people and could be discussed endlessly. In short, a liminal event is one in which someone is pulled from their normal routines and social structures into a place that is free from those things. It is an event where participants experience something called communitas, a community of people that they bond with in their time at a place where they are in-between. They are neither the person that arrived at camp nor are they the person that will leave camp. They are betwixt and between.
What does that mean in practical application for camp? Camp is a place that people can come, away from the structures and expectations of the world, and connect with those around them and grow closer to God. When someone is at camp their senses are heightened because they are in a new place. Sights, smells, sounds, feelings are all heightened as they are experience their new surroundings. This is why many people have lasting friendships from their very short time at summer camp or have experiences with God during that week.
Camp is a place that churches, families, workplaces, and schools can come to experience a retreat away from the busyness of life. This retreat often allows them to grow closer together and closer to God.
Wild Adventure & Life-Change
Yes, camp can be full of mosquitos and bears. But camp can also be a place where you go on a wild adventure. Yes, camp can be a place where we wake up and our back is sore. But camp can be also be a place where you stay up late lying on those same mattresses sharing your story with a friend. Yes, camp can be a place where you eat way too much sugar and wake up not feeling well. But camp can also be a place where we experience deep community while having fun.
Camp is a place where life-change can happen. It is a place where we push the limits of our comfort zone. It is a place where we can’t wait go back.
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