Summer Camp Programs
Camp program centers on faith development
Four weeks of American Baptist camps for elementary children, junior and senior high students, plus a family camp for 170, begin June 21 at Ross Point.
|Campers stretch themselves in the challenges of a ropes course.|
The rest of the summer other groups rent the camp for their own programs.
For the second year, Ross Point staff are running Camp Journey for children with cancer. For nine years before moving away from sponsoring camps, the American Cancer Society had rented Ross Point to hold their camp for children with cancer, their siblings and friends. About 126 came last year, with five- to seven-year-olds coming for day camps and eight to 18 year olds as resident campers. More than 60 percent who come have or have had cancer, said John Batchelder, executive director.
Ross Point also hosts leadership training for University of Idaho and Washington State University students, a retreat for first-year WSU veterinary students and an international retreat for 150 veterinarians.
Eight paid counselors come for four weeks, and 10 operational staff at Ross Point serve 11 weeks.
For John, who has been at Ross Point for 14 years after serving camps since 1983 in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Utah and Alaska, the most important aspect of camp is relationships, especially as society has reduced people contact.
“At camp, people are face-to-face,” he said. “Our policy is no electronics except cameras. Campers are at first shocked, but by the end of the week they are busy enjoying activities and programs.”
In post-camp evaluations, parents report positive changes in campers’ ability to interact and communicate, plus a more positive outlook on life.
In the off season, Ross Point uses social media to promote its facilities and encourages campers to form public groups.
“Because so many use social media, many are not in as good physical condition as they used to be. Even though some are less engaged in outdoor activities, we get them up and out,” he said.
Most campers are American Baptists or attend other churches, but camps also include unchurched children and youth.
The American Baptist Church in the Northwest is small, so year-round, use by American Baptists is less than 25 percent. It’s about 45 percent in the summer.
“Our program centers around faith development. The 2015 theme on ‘The Power of the Holy Spirit’ is about God sending the Holy Spirit to live within us, guide us to live in truth and empower us to live for God,” he said.
Copyright © June 2015 - The Fig Tree