‘For anyone who asks receives, for anyone to seeks fa-i-a-i-inds, and the door is opened to anyone who knocks…do you believe? I BELIEVE!!” These are the lyrics to the theme song of Forest Home’s Adventure Mountain, the amazing summer camp that hosts our kids for one week of every summer. With a mission statement “To provide a place away from the distractions of the world, where you can hear the Word of God and encounter Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit,” this incredible camp far exceeded its goal in the lives of the Central City kiddos. Our kids talk about summer camp from the day they leave camp until the day we return the following year…and now I know why!
Thanks to the Lord’s provision, Forest Home scholarshiped 3 students and staff to go to the 3rd-4th grade camp and 6 students and staff to attend the 5th-6th grade camp. With the intention of having one final hoorah with my 5th graders, who have now graduated to the Teen Program at Central City Community Outreach, we set out on Sunday for the San Bernardino Mountains. After a rather eventful drive up which included throw up and my car engine almost overheating (God is good!) we arrived with much excitement at Forest Home. The younger kids stayed at Indian Village and the older crew headed further up the mountain to check in at Adventure Mountian. The staff joyfully welcomed us and because our kids have been coming up for years, they were so pumped to jump on and hug the returning camp counselors. This familiarity and sense of belonging was huge for our kids!
The vision of the camp was to teach the kids to become detectives- to find the hidden mystery of Adventure Mountain which paralleled the aim of making the kids good detectives of the goodness that lies within God’s Word. The camp was incredibly well run with daily bible studies, crazy activities; skate park, rock wall, target sports (archery, fishing and bbguns), arts and crafts, team sports, acting, cooking, adventuring, etc. Our kids had a blast running free in the mountains, learning more about God, spending all their free time in the pool (they were on a first name basis with the lifeguard), yelling about bugs, learning the dance moves at worship every evening, participating in the camp sports competitions- seriously, camp was so fun! Our kids were incredibly well loved by the camp staff and 2 counselors in particular were very intentional with our kids and loving/serving them as they dealt with home sickness, “I’m too cool for this” and the daily dramas of being an 11 year old.
While I could tell stories for days, the highlights for me were that every one of the girls either accepted Christ or prayed that the Lord would grow them closer to Him.
--Ryan did a great job bonding with the kids (always a difficult process)
--During ‘deck connections’ (1-on-1 talks with the girls) one of my very shy girls opened up to me about some serious stuff going on at home- please pray for her and that her family would find a home. Even though she has so many stresses going on at home, it was so beautiful to see her let go and be a kid this week at camp. She told me that this week at camp was the first time she had ever played an organized game.
--The girls and I slept underneath the stars every night “Miss Eugenia, I like falling asleep to the crickets and the breeze under the stars.” Oh my heart!
--Me: “Girls I’m going to read the Bible before I go to sleep but I will turn the lantern off as soon as I’m done”
Yvonne “Miss Eugenia, will you read us a Bible story from your Bible?”
Me: holding back tears “OF COURSE!”...this tradition continued every night
To tie things up, camp was absolutely life changing. Please keep praying for the Lord’s protection over the kids and that they would continue to ask, seek and knock!
Feel free to check out the camp trailer: http://www.foresthome.org/camps/videoplayer.php?camp_programs_id=3&camp_programs_videos_id=95