USA (MNN) — Summer camp. For many kids, it is the best week
of their summer, full of making new friends, pulling pranks and eating
For the kids attending Youth for Christ camps this summer,
it is also hopefully a chance for them to learn of God's love for the first
time or to further deepen their relationship with Christ.
This summer, YFC has a total of eight summer camps in various
states throughout the U.S. and one in British Columbia. About 350 kids, either in
junior or senior high depending on the week, attend each camp. At each camp,
there is about 100 volunteer leaders as well, working as small group leaders,
cabin leaders, etc.
Dan Kregel with YFC said one of the unique things about YFC
summer camps are the leaders who have been working with the kids through Campus
Life all year long also come with the kids to camp as their counselors. Then,
the leaders help them through camp and also return home with them when camp is
Of these 350 kids, most have not grown up in a Christian
home; some have never set foot in a church. Thus, camp can be a new but
Kregel related an example of this which took place at a camp last week.
"Just the other night, I was talking with a kid who came to
me: he had given his life to Christ at camp last year but had still
struggled with a lot of different things. And he kind of retreats and has begun
using drugs," Kregel said. The kid explained that one of his main problems was his
dad's drunken rages and the drugs he was able to buy through his
"He just finally broke down this week and said, ‘You
know what? I'm sick of living this way. I want my life to count for Christ,'"
Kregel said. "What was cool was another kid, whose dad also has been involved
in alcohol, was watching him and came alongside of this other kid to minister to him; this other kid was a baby Christian as well. So that was just amazing to
see how God used that."
Kregel said the struggles faced by this kid are similar to
what the other kids are dealing with in their homes: alcohol abuse,
parents splitting up, and a lack of someone coming alongside the kids to help them
develop strong value systems.
However, YFC and the camp staff are quick to stress, "When
they do come to Christ, not all their issues at home with their family or the
things that they are struggling with are going go away. But
there is going to be a God who is walking with them through it," Kregel said.
The camps try to instill in the kids the hope and truth of
what Christ has done for them. During last week's camp, after sharing this with
the kids, they turned off all the lights in camp and had a half-hour of silence
for the kids to talk with God. Afterward, if the kids had made a decision for
Christ, they shouted out in the darkness. Kregel said it was an incredible
experience to listen to all the kids calling out to God.
To help the kids who are new in their relationship with Christ, YFC stresses this: "It's about the direction, not about the pace," Kregel said as
they move towards a deeper relationship with Christ.
For one kid to attend camp costs between $450 to 500,
not including any additional travel expenses. Kregel said YFC does not like
money to be an issue and has national and local scholarships for kids who
cannot afford to go to camp. However, especially this summer, there have been
many kids struggling to raise the money for camp.
You can pray for these kids as they attend camp. Pray that they
will accept the love of Christ and recognize their need for a Savior. Also, pray they
will rely heavily on Christ as they return to the struggles they must still
face at home.
You can help a child attend camp by visiting YFC's