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Region’s summer camps designed in many models


Water Activities at Ross Point Camp

Summer faith-based camps are about canoeing, campfires, swimming, lakes, rivers, streams, hiking, high and low ropes, waterskiing, tubing, sailing, singing, crafts, archery, creek walks and many more activities that build skills, relationships with peers and relationships with mentors.

Today, there are many models for summer camps. Some focus on children and youth of their denomination’s congregations.  Some focus on recruiting children and youth with no church connections.  Some serve low-income children.  Some integrate the summer learning with year-round learning.  One has churches invite at-risk neighborhood children for a week at camp and follows up through the year with mentoring the children to turn their lives around. 

Several give youth opportunities to serve people in communities surrounding the camps.  Some send out teams of youth and adults to lead day camps like vacation Bible schools in congregations.


Camp program integrates into year-round diocesan education program

Campers share in leading worship.         
Photo courtesy of Camp Cross

Colin Haffner, executive director of Camp Cross for the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, sees the program at Camp Cross as part of the year-round diocesan education programs.

“We want campers and guests to have the camp experience more than one week in the summer. We want what they learn at camp to be a part of their faith journey all year long,” he said.

About 60 percent of campers are from congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane.   Others are from Episcopal dioceses of Olympia and Boise.  In addition, congregations sponsor children and youth from their communities to attend camps.

Colin said the goal is to develop church leaders.

“When I was a camper, my eyes were opened to realize that there were Episcopal youth beyond my own church and Eastern Washington,” he said.  “Many are now lifelong friends.”

Colin said Camp Cross programs center around “God’s nature and the use of resources of the lake and property for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and hiking.

Camp Cross has 10 weeks with six youth sessions, a family camp, young adult and college weekends, and two adult retreats.

A volunteer resource team of clergy and lay people develop programs for each session around a theme and Bible lessons.

The 14 full time summer staff include counselors, resource leaders, a program director, facilities director and kitchen staff. There are also 12 volunteers for most youth sessions.

“We provide financial assistance for anyone who wants to attend camp,” he said.

Numbers are about the same this year as last and at about 80 percent of capacity, giving room to grow, Colin said.

For information, call 624-3191or email, or visit

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