Scenic view of trees at camp

Friends at Camp—And Beyond

by Anna Birch


Camp is often the launching pad for deep, long-term friendships. Let’s face it: even though we all have good intentions of keeping up with our camp besties throughout the year, it’s easier said than done! But a group of Impact campers and counselors from Chimney Point have shown that it’s possible to follow through on those intentions and have a consistent community with camp friends, even from states away. By utilizing technology to stay in touch, they’ve seriously set the bar high for discipleship and community!

Fifteen-year-old Jacob Frye loves family camp. But at first, he wasn’t so sure about the whole thing. When he came to Chimney Point the first summer it opened, he was skeptical and not too excited to be traveling far from home for camp with his family. He was soon blown away at what he experienced there and now can’t get enough of it!

By far, his favorite thing about camp is the staff. “They’re just so nice and very, very welcoming and easy to talk to,” he explains. The way that they interacted with him made a bigger impact on him than the banana boats, ropes courses, and fun theme nights—although he had a blast experiencing those! It all came down to his relationship with his counselors and the Chimney Point staff.

He felt so welcomed and “treated like royalty,” and as he puts it, that he wanted to keep in contact with them and the guys in his cabin for more than just that one week.

So, Jacob, his counselor R2, and the whole cabin of guy Impact campers (the family camp program for middle and high school age students) started a group text after they bonded during their time at Chimney Point. That was a few years ago…. and that text thread is still going strong!


The six days they spend together each year during their time at family camp is typically the only time they see each other face to face. Some live in Georgia, others in Oklahoma, and Jacob and his family are in Houston, Texas. Being that far apart in distance doesn’t hamper their communication though. The group message is active almost every single day. From quick “Hey, everybody!” messages, countdowns to camp, urgent prayer requests, and everything in between, the group stays very connected.

“Literally this morning, they texted!” says Ruben “Snoozie” Dominguez. He has been the counselor for that same group of guys two different summers and now works full time at Pine Cove. He’s gotten to see them grow and mature over the years and is amazed at how well the campers keep up with one another. He explains it’s basically a never-ending conversation between all of them.

Not only does the group exchange texts, but they will occasionally set up group FaceTime calls as well.


Typically the group will give quick updates on life and what they’re up to throughout the months they’re not at camp, but the messages can also be a safe place for them to share things that they might not feel as comfortable sharing with their friends at school.

Ruben loves that it’s a ministry that can continue past the few days they all spend physically together at camp. “As a counselor, I’m happy to know and get updates from these guys about their lives,” he says. “I can follow up with them about their dating relationships and other stuff going on in their lives that we talked about at camp.”

And the ministry doesn’t just go one way. He says that he’s been encouraged and challenged by the way they care for him as well. The guys have even been known to call on his birthday and sing to him!


More than that, Jacob and the other campers in the group love to pray for their counselors. Last summer at the end of week three, they gathered around Ruben (who had already started his full-time role and came back to surprise his former group of campers) and their current counselor, David “R2” Gun, and prayed over them. That continues throughout the year as they lift up their former counselors in prayer on a regular basis. They knew “R2” had taken the time to serve them all week long and as he led out in humbly admitting he needs Jesus as much as they do, they wanted to serve him in return.

For Jacob, the reason he takes the time to text, FaceTime, and pray is simple: these people are his community. “They’ve impacted me even when I’m not at camp,” he explains. “I’ll come back from camp and they’re still on my mind. I still love interacting with them and it just reminds me of God and His glory. It reminds me how blessed I am to have those people in my life, and that experience at camp that God gave me.”


What is it about camp that allows for such meaningful relationships in such a short amount of time? Ruben thinks it has to do with the safe place that camp provides them.

“It feels like it’s a safe environment,” he says. “A safe zone to be themselves and talk about their struggles. They can really be themselves and know that all of us struggle. It wasn’t even me as a counselor necessarily leading out in that, but the other campers encouraging each other and even confronting each other with the Word. They can really be themselves.”

Jacob agrees that what makes their relationships more comfortable and intentional is that sometimes unlike the friendships they have at school, these are centered on God. “And that just makes them stronger,” he says.

There is a great need in the Christian life for others to walk alongside us and encourage us in the faith. This Impact group is a reminder of the necessity of community, especially when life gets hectic. They’re an example to all of us as we strive to obey the Biblical command to not neglect to meet together—if only just virtually—but to encourage one another!

Posted Mar 22, 2022

Anna Birch

Former Staff

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