by Andrew Bacon Posted Apr 24, 2013
Here at Pine Cove, we have done one-week camping for as long as I can remember. It has become our standard to have campers arrive on Sunday and leave on Saturday. One week is a good amount of time to have fun, connect with a counselor and cabin mates, and most importantly, learn more about the Bible and God’s love.
But a few years ago, we started wondering what it would be like to allow campers to come for two weeks (13 days). We started this program at the Shores, the 10th-12th grade camp which I have the privilege to lead. We called the two week program “Overflow”. This name is based on the text in Colossians 2:6-8:
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
Our desire with Overflow was that high school campers could come for two weeks and leave overflowing with not only the truth of the Bible and God’s love, but thankfulness for that as well.
Our one week camp is really strong and filled with so much fun and activities, but there is little room for more. When you allow campers to come for a longer period of time, you can do more. It gives us more opportunities, relationships, and truth.
Since starting the program in 2008, we have seen phenomenal success. We basically stretch out the one week experience over two weeks and fill in the holes with extra stuff. We make room to do fun events like a service project, visiting and serving at other Pine Cove camps, and even going bowling. There is now room for more opportunities.
With more time at camp, campers can bond more with their counselor and cabin mates. Sometimes, it just takes longer for barriers and walls to break down between people. With more time at camp, stronger relationships can form. A relationship with at least one of our staff (an older mentor) who can help them navigate life is crucial to helping them not be taken captive by wrong things.
With a longer time at camp, campers can essentially detox from the pressures of the world and focus in not only on themselves, but also learn about truth. We make room for more in-depth studies and teaching seminars. We are able to unpack more truths of the Bible and give our campers time to process and deal with it. Two weeks allows us time to help campers be more established in their faith.
In the last few years we have started two-week camping at a few of our other camps at Pine Cove. The Timbers, Ranch and Outback all have the option as well. I can tell you from knowing all of the directors of those camps personally, they have the same desire to see the lives of campers transformed in their one-week and two-week programs as well.
Here is what the mom of a Ranch Rooted camper recently had to say:
“When I picked my daughter up from the Rooted two-week program at the Ranch, she couldn’t stop talking about the special treatment they received. She said that she felt like “an insider” who got to serve right alongside the college counselors, and loved the extra Bible studies and even a trip to Sonic together. She made some really great friends and delved into the Bible during those two weeks, helping her to become grounded in her faith as she continued her junior high career. We are so thankful for the experience and she can’t wait to do it again next summer at the Timbers!”
Thinking about two weeks of camp for you or your camper?