Why Kids Camp Matters

I have been asked what the big deal is about providing a kids camp experience for elementary aged kids. So glad you asked!

The week of kids camp is truly one of my favorite weeks of the year, and has been for years, long before I became the Kids Discipleship Director at our church. 

I have attended camp for more than a dozen summers with our church, and each year I come away filled and amazed at how I saw God teach and mature kids in their faith. For some kids, I get to witness the beginning of their faith journey. I have had the benefit of seeing those same kids during the months and years after summer camp and have loved watching them continue to grow in their relationship with God.  

Just as Moses instructed parents and the community of believers in Deuteronomy 6:7-9 to verbalize and model faith at all times and in all settings to their children, today’s parents and church community are responsible for the same. Kids camp is one more way that the church community can fulfill that obligation for kids and their families.

Understandably, churches must weigh the cost versus benefit of hosting a kids camp. The fact is kids camp is a lot of work to create, implement, staff, and manage. But it is a worthy investment of the time, planning, coordination, and expense for many reasons. Kids camp offers, among other things:

  • Intentional discipleship of small groups of kids by trained and vetted leaders, who are modeling and teaching kids to walk day by day with Jesus. Using leaders already working with kids within your ministry is so helpful for the sake of continuity, but other trusted adults within the church are great leaders as well.

  • Pulling away from the usual distractions to help kids focus on spiritual truth and intentional relationships.

  • A jumping off point for salvation for many kids and a stimulus for spiritual growth in kids already walking in relationship with Christ. I recently had a conversation with parents about their son’s spiritual journey and preparedness for baptism, and they said, “he was just different after kids camp”.

  • FUN! Camp is so much fun! Nothing builds relationships with and among kids like living together for several days with shared experiences, worship, games, learning, and laughter.

While there are many models for kids camp, being intentional to include the study of God’s Word on the appropriate level for the kids; teaching of spiritual disciplines such as having a quiet time and prayer; worship services; socialization of kids beyond “their” group of friends; accountability to an adult leader; involvement of older students (e.g. high school or college-aged); and a curriculum that is spiritually challenging are non-negotiable. Providing fun indoor and outdoor activities for kids to enjoy with their friends in a setting away from home wraps up the experience and provides a needed balance of fun and learning. 

Spiritual and relational fruit from kids camp is seen long after the summer is over. It is a priority worth considering.

Author: Gretchen Mahan is the Kids Discipleship Director at Colonial Heights Baptist Church in Ridgeland, MS.