Small groups are unique in their ability to bring people together and invest in them personally. After all, Jesus selected his own small group of twelve to confide in and mentor. At Heartland, we mimic this idea with our own campers to show intentionality in relationships and the joy of God’s love. From morning watch to afternoon worship and every fun-filled, giggly swim time in between, our family groups do everything together.
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As you might imagine, I talk about Heartland Camp a lot. I am a camp ministry professional, most people talk about their jobs, it makes sense. I end up answering a lot of questions, often focused on the things Heartland does or doesn’t have.
There is no doubt that the best part of the Christmas season is celebrating the birth of Jesus. We have an advent blog series to help prepare us for that. The much tougher question would be, what is the second best part of the Christmas season? Presents, reading by the fire, Christmas music, and Hallmark Christmas movies all have a claim on this second spot. Let's be honest those are great, but one tradition rises above the rest, baking Christmas cookies.
Is adults playing with children necessary? Sure it is a nice bonus, but is play something worth sacrificing for amongst activities, work, and so many other things that demand our attention. In my three years as a summer camp counselor the answer to that is a resounding yes. Through play at camp I was able to build trust with campers ages 6-17 and see it lead to deep conversations about life and faith.
I am sorry, I lied to you a bit when I said camp changes lives. It is God who changes lives, camp is just the place I first experienced that change. Summer camp gives a unique opportunity for God to work, one that the Lord is more than willing to take. I have now spent ten summers at Heartland Camp as a camper and then as a staff member. I can honestly say that without my time at camp I would not know the love of my Savior the way I do today. As I begin to work full-time for this ministry, I am encouraged to know that my experience is not unique. Many campers, volunteers, and staff have a similar list of ways God has changed their life through camp. Here are the top 5 ways God has changed my life at Heartland: