It was 60 years ago that a seed of an idea grew into an American Camping Association accredited camp and retreat center. It began with a dream that turned into a reality thanks to the foresight, vision and dedication of the members of the Kansas City Presbytery, now Heartland Presbytery. A plot of 180 acres near Parkville, Missouri was purchased in 1956 for $26,250. A basement house, a pump house, a garage and a pig shed came with the property. By 1958, a camp opened on the little plot of woodland.
The seed had been planted, and soon it began to grow.
I think that too much of the time, we think we have God’s plan for us all figured out. We get into a routine and then when something happens that isn’t according to “the plan”, we are completely thrown off and our lives get turned upside down.
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:
Heartland staff’s Christmas traditions are all over the map; including Norwegian food and hymns sung in Spanish. The one thing all traditions have in common is that they are a big part of what makes the Christmas season special. They help us grow closer to our friends and family as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Our Heartland staff family would love to share our favorite Christmas traditions with you.
The Holiday times are a great time to get the family together and reminisce over the blessings of the past year. It is also a great time to serve as a family. What better way to show your child that service, gratitude, and hard work are important than by serving together as a family. There are plenty of service opportunities for all ages, who knows it might just become the next family tradition.
*This post was originally published June 2015*
Get a peak into what training for Heartland's summer staff looks like and how it prepares them for leading our fantastic campers.